On The Move (book)

This is a review of the book On The Move by Bono.

Technically this is not a book by Bono, it is a book of the speech Bono made to the National Prayer Breakfast in 2006, reprinted and packaged to raise money for the One campaign. So if you want to know what he says, you can google the speech and read the text. If there were a reason to buy the book it would be to support the campaign, and to see some of the photos. There are several in there that were taken by Bono when he was in Ethiopia in 1986, and I have not seen some of those photos anywhere else.

I saw Bono speak at the World Affairs Council in Dallas in 2006, a speech which was essentially the same as this one although much funnier. You can read a review of that speech at atU2. I made some notes at the time but I don’t know where they are now, guess I ought to dig them out. Reading this book, the speech from which was made a few months earlier, and the atU2 review, brought back a number of memories of the speech. Bono was funny and self-deprecating, joking that the rest of the band wasn’t there and a few other comments about U2. Mostly though he stuck to the topic and stuck to it well. The speech in the book was a subset of the one I saw live really, since because of the occasion he was able to expand his thoughts and humor.

If you haven’t read the book and you’re not aware of the speech, all I need tell you is Africa and AIDS and you will probably be able to guess about ninety percent of the content. It is something very familiar to U2 fans from the shows and from Bono’s advocacy of global aid to the poor. You’d come up with some of the lines from U2 songs (“where you live should not decide”), and some of the stuff about so-called religious leaders (“God’s second-hand car salesmen on the cable TV channels”, particularly amusing today as we read the story about one of those tv preachers wanting to raise money to buy himself a private jet).

Bringing us full circle to the religion aspect of U2 is that the speech was to the National Prayer Breakfast. A gathering of politicians and religious leaders, you’d think they’d be aware of the constitution but apparently this one is okay, since they have representatives from several religions. I doubt they have many atheists there though. Bono took care to mention quotes from several religions, and although I don’t know what the reaction was in 2006, I can tell you that now in 2015 the Islamophobes would be screaming their heads off that someone would be allowed to say something positive about Islam.

In terms of production values, the book is short (and small), a total of about 60 pages, half of which are photos with just a line of text on them. The speech is broken into short sections on each page, but then repeated in total at the end of the book. Not sure why, except to pad the page count, or presumably to make the speech slightly easier to read, rather than being broken up by page. Of course if they wanted to make it easier to read they wouldn’t have made it white and red text on a black background.

My rating for On The Move (book): 2 / 10