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The Holy Barbarians

3.56 of 5 stars 3.56  ·  rating details  ·  278 ratings  ·  15 reviews
The beat world--holy in its search of self, barbarian in its total rejection of the so-called "civilised" standards of success and morality. Lawrence Lipton's fascinating book is one of the first complete, unbiased studies of the strange, important offshoot of society.
318 pages
Published 1962 by Grove Press (first published 1959)
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Printable Tire
Second attempt. Not as good as the first one, but it is shorter!

After riding high on Your Erroneous Zones and Doing Nothing, I had to read a book about incompetent, self-indulgent, elitist, hypocritical, vapid, shallow, histrionic, selfish, egotistical, ignorant beatniks.
Everyone in this book talks like they came out of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, and the author Lawrence Lipton (father of James Lipton, and if you want to understand why James is so pretentious and boorish, look no further th
Oct 05, 2013 Florencia marked it as do-i-really-want-to-read-it
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a Rory book. I'm not ashamed to admit it.
I loved that show, and I saw some nice titles that, eventually, became awesome books. So, yes. It's a Rory book... Don't question my sources (?)
Like hey man, those beatniks were groovy. If the planet Earth is like a tiny speck in the thumbnail of the universe, does that mean I could like have a tiny universe in my thumbnail? Blows my mind. You dig?
Anne Nikoline
Feb 11, 2012 Anne Nikoline rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: different-in-a-good-way people
Recommended to Anne Nikoline by: book club
The definition of one star according to Goodreads is simply, that I did not like the book I read. This is my reason for rating The Holy Barbarians by Lawrence Lipton so poorly, but I will not leave you without further explanation, since I did not find this book to be bad.

When I picked this up from the local library, I had no idea what it was about. I simply picked it up in continuation of my Rory Gilmore reading project. Not only did I not know anything about the book, when I found out what it w
I read this book in the late 70s, about 20 years after it was written. That was about 5 years after I spent some time in Los Angeles, hoping to experience the Beat subculture. I enjoyed and appreciated the book, largely because I had experienced a little of the Venice scene it describes. But it was already ancient history when I visited. The Beat concept had already been subsumed, for better or worse into the overall American Experience. I hope to reread it soon and, if I do, I'll expand my revi ...more
Karl Reinhard
Based on annotations and highlighting of my nook version of this book, this was one of my best reads. Lipton does an excellent job of capturing in detail the beat generation and tracing similar movements, from his first hand experience, from the twenties, thirties and the immediately proceeding developments of the forties. The details of beat personalities, music, attitudes, religion were all insightful. All of this was new to me. His experiences with luminaries, such as Allen Ginsberg, were fas ...more
Jim Crocker
This was on of the strangest and most amazing books I've ever read. Probably changed the course of my life.
Dec 11, 2013 M rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2013
All in all a decent read. Obviously it is a bit dated, and some or rather, most of the pieces that felt like they are suppose to be shocking to the average reader, probably were quite shocking to the average reader when this books was released. Girls who sleep with boys before marriage and curse? Boys with beards? Not wanting to live the American Dream? The horror, the horror...

I also probably should have read this book sooner. I've had a copy for the better part of a decade, sitting on my to re
blue-collar mind
A must for any reader of the Beat Generation. A mix of interview, social critique and first-hand account of their lives and work.
Took me a little while to get into this book, and Lipton's rambling style takes some getting used to, but despite my misgivings about his abity as a writer, I enjoyed this self-indulgent 'history'. Much of the material is oral history, transcribed directly from interviews or other texts, and other writers often have more interesting things to say about the Beat Generation than Lawrence Lipton does, but it was a useful introduction to the material.
Lipton's THE HOLY BARBARIANS is a study of beatnik and a book of two halves. The first reads like a roman à clef journal of life in Venice West, the second a paper on beat versus the ever commercial modern America and it's origins. An odd mix of entertainment and education which manages to capture the essence of beat in an organised way that doesn't let it shatter in your hands.

Squares beware. There's little for you here.
Glad I finally read this book. It's an insider's view of the Beat Generation. I was lost for a lot of the book since I didn't know the names that Lipton was dropping, so I don't think I got as much out of the book as I could have. However, I learned about a movement that I only knew snippets about.
This is a 300+ page argument that the Beat Movement was as much political as it was a artistic. Lipton tries to draw a line from leftist movements of the 20s and 30s to the Beat Generation. It's a stretch. He takes the whole Beat Generation too seriously. So much so that's unintentionally humorous at times.
Katy Brandes
Wanted to know more about the history of the Beats before going to San Fran but could hardly get through it.
Dec 29, 2008 Scott marked it as to-read
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“All the misfits of the world--the too fat and too lean, the too tall and the too short, the jerk, the drip, the half-wit and the spastic, the harelip and the gimp. All the broken, the doomed, the drunk and the disillusioned--herding together for a little human warmth, where a one-room kitchenette is an apartment and the naked electric bulb hangs suspended from the ceiling like an exposed nerve” 7 likes
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