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Ottawa Citizen Review of Waging Heavy Peace

WAGING HEAVY PEACE: A HIPPY DREAM
Neil Young Blue Rider Press $31.50

Linda Ronstadt once warned her protege Nicolette Larson not to get involved with Neil Young. He doesn’t live in the real world, she said.

Ronstadt was right. Young lives mostly in a world he has constructed for him-self, as is clear from the first pages of his remarkable autobiography Waging Heavy Peace: A Hippie Dream.

On page two, Young describes bringing his infant son Ben, born a non-verbal quadriplegic, into the room in which his sprawling model train railroad is set up.

“Sharing the building of the layout together was one of our happiest times,” he writes. “He was still in his little bassinet when the Chinese labourers originally laid the track, thousands of them toiling endless hours through the days and night. He watched as we worked.”

Young’s imagination is such that he can turn himself into a low-paid coolie excavating a railway, and bring his baby son fully into this make-believe world.

A few pages later, Young recalls a day when David Crosby and Graham Nash were at his northern California ranch working on an album.

“I saw David looking at one of my train rooms full of rolling stock and stealing a glance at Graham that said, ‘This guy is cuckoo. He’s gone nuts. Look at his obsession.’ I shrugged it off. I need it. For me it’s a road back.”

That passage reminds a reader of Young’s wistful I Am A Child, a song he wrote for Buffalo Springfield’s last album. “I am a child,” the song begins, “I’ll last awhile, You can’t conceive of the pleasure in my smile.”

…read more on: OttawaCitizen

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