William Burroughs: El Hombre Invisible
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William Burroughs: El Hombre Invisible

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  228 ratings  ·  15 reviews
Repackaged and refreshed, this seminal biography of a counter-cultural icon is re-issued to form a core part of the Virgin backlist: "[Miles's] mastery of Beat Generation know-how must surely be unrivalled."
--Sunday Telegraph

Iconoclast; visionary; homosexual crusader; drug advocate; teacher and elder statesman to Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and the Beats; anti-hero guru...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published July 1st 2010 by Virgin Books (first published 1992)
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I am not a Burroughs fan. This would doubtless be a scintillating read for those who are. I read it because my wife brought it home and I had so thoroughly enjoyed reading Subterranean Kerouac, and I hoped it would be similar. It isn't; it's as much a study as it is a biography, and it is written by someone far more convinced of Burroughs gifts and genius than I am. There is too much hagiography here for my tastes, too much willingness to shine over Burroughs difficult personality, his drug abus...more
Ben Lovegrove
I first got this from the library in 1994. I highly recommend it as the most concise biography of Burroughs, written by a personal friend of his who was there in the 1960s. Barry Miles also wrote biographies of the Beatles and a few rock musicians. Since 1994 it's been revised and updated with a chapter on his legacy and funeral, including the extraordinary claim that a woman was seen french kissing Burroughs' corpse at his funeral.
This is a useful companion piece to Ted Morgan's "Literary Outl...more
Don Clark jr
despite many occurrences in Burroughs' life that lowered my opinion of him to a degree, Miles' biography tells it like it is, warts and all, and that's how I want it. The drugs, the illicit sex with random boys, the constant search for the next hallucinogenic medium, all form the life of Bill Burroughs. Oh, right, and there was the writing bit, which is in there as well, but plays second fiddle to the adventures in Bill's daily sideshow of an existence. Read Miles' Ginsberg biography and his Bea...more
Marc Lovely

I found this book mildly entertaining, and only mildly because I am not all that familiar with Burroughs' work. Sure I've read 'Junky' and 'Naked Lunch, but this book has a lot to do with his work as a whole, his unusual lifestyle, and his way of thinking and creating. I've learned a great deal of WSB and will continue to read and research this wonderfully interesting, American icon
A respectable biography. Kind of sad his son Billy Jr. a very good writer who died a miserable alcoholic junkie in Denver only gets a page or two. One thing I never knew is that toward the end of his life, Burroughs contacted the aforementioned Whitley Strieber for an in-depth alien confab, and came away convinced of the phenomenon's reality, if none the wiser about its true nature.
"I'm reading Burroughs, but I keep it clean." This was a line in a song that I loved. Anyway, Burroughs is weird in an interesting way until you start to feel he has "stepped over and left behind" the world of "decency."
Apr 30, 2007 Tommy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mugwumps
Good Burroughs Bio. A lot of it concentrates on his actual work. This gets a little thick if you haven't read all his work. The actual bio parts are good.
Even as a long-time Burroughs addict who has read the first volume of his letters several times over, devoured countless articles and pored over interviews, I found much I didn't know in Miles' biography.

I've long thought Burroughs has been unfairly maligned as a mean, curmudgeonly old goat – a view often predicated on his distant relationship with his troubled son, Billy – preferring to instead view him as an emotionally remote but essentially well intentioned oddball. Miles' book pokes throug...more
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Parker Douglas
This is one of the better Burroughs biographies. It assumes familiarity with the author's works, and takes Burroughs fascination with scientology and other of his quirky detours seriously and give a nice reading of the author and his work, for a biography that is really entertaining.
General vg overview of Burroughs, his writings and the connections between the books and his life.
Fascinating how intrigued Burroughs was with Scientology and Reich's orgone box. Best to be familiar with most of his fiction before reading this book as it goes into detail about his writing techniques and when and where he was while writing .
what a cut-up. or so was his writing style in later years. what else can i say about a man who chose to live in the best college basketball town ever....ROCK CHALK!!
Please note I only read the uncorrected proofs of this book and it was a shocker, hence two stars. I'm sure the lovely editorial team turned it into something readable.
Matthew T.
I found the last 2 chapters informative. now to find the new edition to read the extra chapters.
Super interesting. What an odd, odd life. I loved it
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Author of several books and biographies, most pertaining to musicians and the sixties.

Miles has written biographies of Paul McCartney, The Beatles, William Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, Frank Zappa, Charles Bukowski and Allen Ginsberg, in addition to books on John Lennon, The Beatles and The Clash.

He is occasionally inaccurately credited as "Miles Mabbett" due to his co-authoring a book with Andy Mabb...more
More about Barry Miles...
Hippie Zappa: A Biography Charles Bukowski The Beat Hotel: Ginsberg, Burroughs and Corso in Paris, 1957-1963 Jack Kerouac: King of the Beats

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