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Subterranean Kerouac: The Hidden Life of Jack Kerouac

3.75  ·  Rating Details  ·  147 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
Drawing upon original interviews and his own relationship with Kerouac, Ellis Amburn reveals an inner man who has not appeared in any previous biography-a man torn by his conflicting desires and beliefs. Subterranean Kerouac has been singled out as one of the most significant biographies to appear in years, and it shows how Kerouac struggled throughout his life with povert ...more
Paperback, 448 pages
Published November 29th 1999 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published August 1st 1998)
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Joshua Nomen-Mutatio
I had a Beat phase in high school that I'm mostly embarrassed about by this point. Though I'm ever so occasionally able to look back fondly on some of the romanticism of it all. I watched this atrocious interview with Kerouac on Italian television where he's just shit-faced and stupid and arrogant as fuck and it really made me feel embarrassed for my 15 year old self who thought Kerouac was the best. But I also find that the only time it's really excusable to be way into the Beat stuff is as a t ...more
Bill
Jun 06, 2011 Bill rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to like this book. I really did. It's another autobiography of my favorite author written by someone who knew him personally in his final years. Still, rather than being an examination of Kerouac's works and maybe what made him great, this book was written as a biography with the nearly sole intent of arguing that Kerouac was gay.

Don't get me wrong, I know that among the Beats there was a great deal of sexual freedom, and I have no doubt that Kerouac certainly had some homosexua
...more
Ted
Jul 14, 2008 Ted rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Amburn's book is correct in its contention that Kerouac's sexuality is fascinating and needs more attention. Unfortunately, this book treats the subject far too reductively, explaining Kerouac's closeted sexuality as the single missing key to the author's alcoholism and early death, as well as reading every other detail of the author's life. On top of that, and as if to back off of the very claims he asserts, the book footnotes its claims very sloppily. Allegedly, all sorts of people in Lowell, ...more
Stephanie Westfall
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
John Donovan
Mar 18, 2016 John Donovan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazingly in-depth bio of one of America's most misunderstood writers. I've read a lot of Kerouac biographies, but I think this one has the most depth--especially for Kerouac's final years, which always seem maddeningly sketchy in other books.
Ian
Feb 08, 2015 Ian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
purports to uncover Kerouacs bi-sexuality. pretty convincing. i think it had been acknowledged in the past, even by Keroauc himself he had same sex dalliances. this bio goes further to theorize Kerouac was predominantly same sex attracted and the women in his life there mostly to prove to himself he wasn't gay. This conflicted sexuality contributed to his alcoholism and intellectual withdrawal to a puzzling sort of conservatism.
Jamnjazzz
Jun 23, 2009 Jamnjazzz rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Can we say agenda, er..........skewed agenda!

Well it got better but, as I said, dude needs to get objective. Or maybe as they say imitation is the most sincere form of flattery cause this is surely a work of biographical fiction akin to most of Kerouac's works....minus the biographical.
Ronnie
May 11, 2008 Ronnie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
the first biography i read on any of them and it definatly helped me understand their writing and everything having to do with the 'beat' thing much more.
Anouk
Aug 10, 2008 Anouk is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
excellent so far if you are into gritty details about one of the most amazing writer of this 40's, 50's. written by his late editor.
Ryan
Mar 22, 2015 Ryan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this book was amazing. it doesn't even have it's own Wikipedia page! wtf?
Tanner
Jun 27, 2010 Tanner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
very interesting.
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