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The Holy Barbarians

3.63  ·  Rating Details  ·  380 Ratings  ·  17 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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Mar 16, 2016 Florencia marked it as maybe-perhaps-we-ll-see
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 (?)
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
Jim Crocker
Mar 30, 2015 Jim Crocker rated it it was amazing
This was one of the strangest and most amazing books I've ever read. Probably changed the course of my life.
Jul 26, 2015 Nikoline rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: different-in-a-good-way people
Recommended to 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
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?
Jul 22, 2012 Dave rated it really liked it
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
Terrell Neuage
Mar 22, 2015 Terrell Neuage rated it it was amazing
I read this book when I was in about 7th grade age 14. I realised then and there - 1961; that this was the life for me. I left home a couple of years later and started my life via Greenwich Village and Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco. And a good life it has been. In other words probably the most influential book I read as a teenager.
Apr 21, 2009 Jeff rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Karl Reinhard
May 14, 2014 Karl Reinhard rated it it was amazing
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
Jeremy Garber
A fascinating participant-observer study of the Beat Generation by a slightly older participant. An excellent illustration of qualitative research written well, Lipton lives and works among these radical dropouts and collects their stories to group them into a mosaic of the alternative lifestyle. Rejection of the capitalist myth, the importance of jazz to alternative consciousness, marijuana as communal bonding agent, and alternative sexuality - Lipton tells it all with detail but with an intell ...more
Mar 04, 2016 Jj rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Written in such a fluid manner, I felt like I was reading a story rather than a comprehensive history of a movement. This book delves into every aspect of the "beatnik" movement, letting you into the thoughts and minds of many of the key creative people that grew out of the era. This book covers not only the history of the movement but also gives you a portrait of the social and cultural climate of the country as a whole. It also expands the oft misconceived view the beat generation began and en ...more
Dec 11, 2013 M rated it liked it
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
Feb 07, 2014 Joe rated it really liked it
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.
Aug 02, 2013 David rated it liked it
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.
blue-collar mind
Dec 10, 2015 blue-collar mind rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics, beats
A must for any reader of the Beat Generation. A mix of interview, social critique and first-hand account of their lives and work.
Katy Brandes
Aug 09, 2011 Katy Brandes rated it it was ok
Wanted to know more about the history of the Beats before going to San Fran but could hardly get through it.
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