Book Review: ‘Unforgettable Fire: Past, Present, and Future’

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Talk about inspiration. If you think the world of rock and roll is only populated by people doing themselves in, you ought to know the story of the U2 band. And talk about trips. Starting with a notice on a bulletin board in Dublin’s Mount Temple Comprehensive School, moving through all the disappointments of trying to get a band going and trying to find a distinctive sound and trying to get someone to listen, right up to the triumphant appearance of U2 at Bob Geldof’s Live Aid concert in 1985 and then on Amnesty International’s Conspiracy of Hope tour in 1986 — here’s the story of the group that may be to its time what the Beatles were to theirs.

Irish writer Eamon Dunphy has mapped the journey, charting in rich details in its political background and spiritual dimension. If the albums War and The Joshua Tree haunt you, if the state of the world worries you, if faith and talent interest you — or even just the ins and outs of the rock biz — read this exquisite book. It’s nearly as haunting as the music U2 makes. (Warner, $16.95)

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