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This Is the Beat Generation: New York, San Francisco, Paris
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This Is the Beat Generation: New York, San Francisco, Paris

3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  99 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
Beginning in New York in 1944, James Campbell finds the leading members of what was to become the Beat Generation in the shadows of madness and criminality. Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and William Burroughs had each seen the insides of a mental hospital and a prison by the age of thirty. A few months after they met, another member of their circle committed a murder that ...more
Paperback, 333 pages
Published November 19th 2001 by University of California Press (first published 1999)
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Paul Grimsley
Jun 27, 2008 Paul Grimsley rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: beat generation completists only
The research that went into this book is painstaking -- you can tell from the facts that are reeled off, but that is also at times its primary weakness. It lacks the joy and energy that the work of its subjects possess. I originally felt that it was because I was being disabused of some romantic notion I had of the beats but that is not what grated -- sometimes the overabundance of information felt like an assault and it felt hard to move forwards; this book took me way too long to read and thou ...more
Jun 30, 2012 Kc rated it liked it
After reading "And the hippos were boiled in their tanks" I was moved to re-acqaint myself with the beat writers, something I hadn't really done since my late teens and twenties. Boy, what a bunch of thugs and jerks.
Nov 22, 2016 ProofProfessor rated it it was amazing
This is a really superb book about Burroughs et al., and brilliantly written. A joy to read such prose that has clearly been carefully revised, polished, edited and proofread. Publishing of a very high standard indeed.
Dec 03, 2016 Karen rated it really liked it
A well written and entertaining history of not just the Beat Generation but also the period of time in primarily New York, Paris and San Francisco.
Amber Tucker
This is one of the first books I'm reading in preparation (hopefully) for my thesis, which I hope to concern with some aspect of the Beat Generation. Though I won't be doing my thesis for a while, I love a great deal of Beat writing, so it's no chore for me to start early. It wasn't even a chore for me to read this semi-biography, and I'm not usually into biographies.

"Is she mad?" you cry. "Not 'into' biographies?"

Well, in the past. Maybe now my tastes are changing. And maybe this was an unexp
I've read so many recollections of this period of literature,it's a part of my coming of age in 1950's and 1960's.
This book is interesting because James Campbell is not American, he's Scottish and barely knew any of the writers. He has lots of information that he's gathered but sometimes I think he draws odd conclusions from a small amount of fact. For instance, when he tries to paint Kerouac and Ginsberg as racist. I've never read any substantial evidence of that. What interests me most about
Oct 16, 2012 Brendan rated it liked it
Interesting account of Kerouac , Ginsberg, Burroughs and others.They were trying to capture something.I'm not sure if they were successful.Kerouac seemed to have a hugely inflated opinion of his ability.I found Kerouac's 'On the Road' disappointing although it has some good writing.
Samantha Emily Evans
Aug 07, 2015 Samantha Emily Evans rated it it was amazing
Fantastic overview.
A good overview - a great way to see how all the individuals and their works tied together and fed into each other.
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