Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Holy Barbarians” as Want to Read:
The Holy Barbarians
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Holy Barbarians

3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  345 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 1959 by Messner
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Holy Barbarians, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Holy Barbarians

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
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
Florencia Brino
Oct 05, 2013 Florencia Brino marked it as do-i-really-want-to-read-it  ·  review of another edition
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 (?)
Jim Crocker
This was one of the strangest and most amazing books I've ever read. Probably changed the course of my life.
Anne Nikoline
Jul 26, 2015 Anne Nikoline rated it 1 of 5 stars
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
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?
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
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.
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
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
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.
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  ·  review of another edition
Bret Boyce
Bret Boyce marked it as to-read
Oct 06, 2015
Karyn Stewart
Karyn Stewart marked it as to-read
Oct 06, 2015
Sara marked it as to-read
Oct 06, 2015
Alondra marked it as to-read
Oct 05, 2015
Maria marked it as to-read
Oct 05, 2015
Hanna marked it as to-read
Oct 05, 2015
T marked it as to-read
Oct 05, 2015
Leah Markum
Leah Markum marked it as to-read
Oct 04, 2015
Kelly marked it as to-read
Oct 04, 2015
Andrew Murawa
Andrew Murawa marked it as to-read
Oct 04, 2015
Kelsea Hammoura
Kelsea Hammoura marked it as to-read
Oct 03, 2015
Megan Gery
Megan Gery marked it as to-read
Oct 02, 2015
Caitlin marked it as to-read
Oct 02, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • My Lai 4: A Report on the Massacre and Its Aftermath
  • Jordi / Lisa and David
  • The Vanishing Newspaper: Saving Journalism in the Information Age
  • The Mojo Collection: The Ultimate Music Companion
  • Novels, 1930-1942: Dance Night / Come Back to Sorrento / Turn, Magic Wheel / Angels on Toast / A Time to Be Born
  • Pushkin: A Biography
  • The Fall of the Athenian Empire
  • The Last Empire: Essays 1992-2000
  • A Bolt from the Blue and Other Essays
  • Moliere: A Biography
  • The Little Locksmith
  • My Life As Author And Editor
  • Swimming with Giants: My Encounters with Whales, Dolphins and Seals
  • Monsieur Proust
  • New Poems of Emily Dickinson
  • The Art of Fiction
  • A Monetary History of the United States 1867-1960
  • Brigadoon (Vocal Score)
The Erotic Revolution Brother, the Laugh Is Bitter Holy Barbarians The Holy Barbarians An Examination of the Beat Generation in Venice CA

Share This Book

“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
More quotes…