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The Beats: From Kerouac to Kesey, an Illustrated Journey Through the Beat Generationby Mike Evans
Synopses & Reviews
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of On the Road, the defining book of the Beat Generation. Jack Kerouac wrote his masterpiece in one frenzied three-week period in 1951 on the infamous 119-foot scroll, which has been on the road” touring the nation since 2004, slated to continue on through spring 2008. The scroll will also be published in its original, unedited version in book form for the very first time in 2007. Tying into the anniversary and the resurgence of the Beat movement in our collective cultural consciousness is our lavishly illustrated book The Beats, a spectacular record of that most explosive period, when the conservative blandness of 50s America gave way to the artistic, social, and sexual liberation of the 60s. With over 200 illustrations, many rarely seen before, the book tells the story of the Beat Generation from its subterranean beginnings in New York and San Francisco to world-wide acclaim. Set against the backdrop of seedy student pads, smoky jazz cellars, and-most crucially-the open road, its a story of a rebellion that challenged societys attitudes towards sex, drugs, and freedom of speech. Following the turbulent saga of Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Neal Cassady, and the other Beats via reckless love affairs, obscenity trials, murder cases, and press vilification, to media celebrity and the Beatnik” craze that followed, their story represents the evolution of the counterculture from hipsters to hippies. Featuring a wealth of first-hand quotes, archive documentation, and exclusive interview material with Beat wife, muse, and chronicler Carolyn Cassady, The Beats is a timely celebration of a seminal-and often neglected-era in modern popular culture.
"As a basic literary overview of the major figures and events of the beat generation, Evans's handsome coffee-table book serves its purpose satisfactorily, if not with particular attention to insight or detail. Evans, for example, perfunctorily recounts Kerouac's oft-cited Benzedrine-fueled writing of On the Road with no mention of the fact that most recent publications have downgraded his principal writing aid to coffee. Someone looking for biographical complexity, however, has an ever-growing library of other volumes to choose from; this book's value lies largely in the photographs, original book covers and various other visual elements that enhance nearly every page. Evans does an elegant job of visually charting the beats' trajectory from the intensely personal inner circle of the '40s and mid-'50s to the national praise, misunderstanding and often ridicule that greeted their ideals in the late '50s and '60s. He accomplishes this transition by subtly shifting the bulk of visual material from intimate photos of the principal figures to an expanding network of junk (The Beat Generation Cookbook) and inspiration (the happenings of Claes Oldenberg) that mirrors the mass culture explosion of America through the decades. Color and b&w illus." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
A lavishly illustrated book, "The Beats" is the spectacular story of the Beat Generation, a story of rebellion that challenged societys attitudes towards sex, drugs, and freedom of speech.
A timely celebration of a seminal-and often neglected-era in modern popular culture
To mark the 50th anniversary of the publication of Jack Kerouacs "On the Road," this book--featuring more than 200 color illustrations--tells the story of the Beat Generation from its subterranean beginnings in New York and San Francisco to world-wide acclaim.
About the Author
Mike Evans is a musician and writer whose involvement in the 60s poetry scene in the UK brought him into close contact with Beats like Allen Ginsberg and Ted Joans. He began in the 70s to write about popular culture for major publications, and, in the 80s turned to book publishing. Evans is the author of several books on the music scene as well as on icons like the Beatles, Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, and Ray Charles. He lives in Rhyl, North Wales.
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History and Social Science » Literary History » United States » 20th Century