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Charles Bukowski

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  373 ratings  ·  19 reviews
Charles Bukowski chronicled the seedy underside of the city in which he spent most of his life—Los Angeles. His heroes were the panhandlers and hustlers, the drunks and the hookers, his beat the racetracks and strip joints, and his inspiration a series of dead-end jobs in warehouses, offices, and factories. It was in the evenings that he would put on a classical record, op ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published September 1st 2006 by Virgin Books (first published June 23rd 2005)
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Jason
Found this book in HMV, by far the best thing I've got from that shop.

I hadn't read anything by Bukowski before, the only thing I knew was from the Modest Mouse song.

Barry Miles has written about a person he cared for and for me that made a big difference for me.

Bukowski lead an amazing life, fighting and drinking and living for his art. At times he had no money, no food, no warm room to live in but he would still obsessively write on any scrap of paper he could find.

So big thanks to Barry Miles
...more
Jack
For those of us who can relate to a tortured soul, Charles Bukowski's life story will strike a nerve. He was blessed with incredible observational writing skills, but his characters were always this side of social ineptness, and self destructive much like he was. His capacity for drink was legendary, he was moody and dark but his writing and expression was brilliant.
Isidore
There's no question that the Howard Sounes biography is the best book on Bukowski so far. That said, this book has its pleasures. Unlike Sounes, who engaged in real research, Miles' book is pretty much synthesized out of the autobiographical elements in Bukowski's vast oeuvre. This may not be great scholarship, but the fact that so much of its content comes directly or indirectly from Buk's own words actually leaves the reader with a better sense of what to expect from Buk's writings. If you alr ...more
Ania
i enjoyed this book.i think that it would be of interest to not only anyone obviously into bukowski, but also anyone who wants to write,as his prolific-ness and dedication to writing is truelly inspiring.as is his ability to write amongst all the chaos of his life.the only frustrating thing for me was that the author kept saying that 'bukiwski was drinking more than ever'.this phrase was overused and ruined any relativity for me.but gripping,actually.
David
I'm not normally a huge fan of biographies, but I couldn't resist picking up this one. All in all, it was pretty good. I did find it quite a bit different than Cherkovski's, even though the same facts are at the base. I think Miles had an image of Bukowski that he wanted to show and did so. Of course, so did Cherkovski. Most biographers probably do. You probably get a more complete picture by reading different ones and finding the "truth" somewhere in between.
Lollipopwater Norton
Great read on Bukowski, "the laureate of American low-life". A biography that scrapes away all the myth and legend of the man, and sheds light on his fears and struggles and loves.

I enjoyed that Barry Miles also included bits on the history of Los Angeles, a city that often plays a character in Bukowski's poems and stories.
Victoria Moore
I don't know how long I've been reading Charles Bukowski but after running across a clip I saved from the 9/2-8/11 issue of the "L.A. Weekly" called "Buke It Out" about his book "More Notes of a Dirty Old Man" I felt compelled to read "Charles Bukowski" by Barry Miles along with that book. Divided into 11 chapters, spanning from his horrendous childhood rife with paternal abuse to his death of cancer on March 9, 1994 at 73, I discovered that I wasn't just reading this book I was living parts of ...more
Cory Fosco
Some cool new insights, but nothing overwhelmingly different than any other biography of Bukowski. I learned more about his relationship with his first wife, and got a glimpse of what she looked like, which no other book really has.
christopher leibow
Best Buk bio I have ever read. No fan worshiping and anectdotes I have never heard. Miles slides back the curtains of bravado and gently has us look at the knot of a man Buk was.
Vanessa
My best friend got this as a birthday gift for me because he knows how much I like Bukowski (thanks to him introducing me to him). Great read, recommended.
Mark
Bailed at a little over 100 pages. How somebody can make an outsized personality like Bukowski seem boring is beyond me.
Kate
A not-astounding biography of Charles Bukowski that covered all the bases and told me everything I needed to know, and then some.
Amanda
Great supplement to Bukowski: Born Into This documentary. Bukowski is a favorite of mine and this was a well written bio of him.
David Williams
Excellent, Comprehensive & Detailed, the Biographer was able to remain objective about a man and poet that engenders such emotion and passion amongst his fans and detractors. At times, sad, interesting and compulsive, the amount of drinking described was to the detriment of description and detail of individual poems. I would have liked more detail on his poems, not just books and anthologies.
Adam
Great book, I enjoyed the poetry enormously.
carmie
What a frustrating biography. Barry Miles was relentless in his pursuit of the truth and spent most of his time picking out the half-truths in Bukowski's writings. While I applaud his dedication in research, he let his own voice speak too much, not content to just narrate. That voice seemed dour and humorless. Of course I learned a lot about Charles Bukowski, but found myself wanting to chuck (haha) the book across the room half a dozen times.
Bob
A biography of writer Charles Bukowski. His life, like his writing, was a vast waste of tedium punctuated occasionally by something interesting. I was especially struck that, for a poet as populist as he was, he hated to do public readings of his work.
Taryn Renay
I didn't care for the author's style. Hard to follow at times. Lots of typos.
patty
Diving in . . . Bottoms Up !

What a story! What a life!
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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 The Beat Hotel: Ginsberg, Burroughs and Corso in Paris, 1957-1963 Jack Kerouac: King of the Beats William Burroughs: El Hombre Invisible

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