Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Neal Cassady: The Fast Life of a Beat Hero” as Want to Read:
Neal Cassady: The Fast Life of a Beat Hero
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Neal Cassady: The Fast Life of a Beat Hero

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  97 ratings  ·  13 reviews
This fascinating and in-depth biography of Neal Cassady takes a look at the man who achieved immortality as Dean Moriarty, the central character in Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. A charismatic, funny, articulate, and formidably intelligent man, Cassady was also a compulsive womanizer who lived life on the edge. His naturalistic, conversational writing style inspired Kerouac, ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published September 1st 2006 by Chicago Review Press
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 Neal Cassady, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Neal Cassady

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

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  97 ratings  ·  13 reviews


Filter
 | 
Sort order
Cwn_annwn_13
May 17, 2010 rated it liked it
Cassady was a guy I was aware of who he was but I had no idea of what it is he actually did in life other than the main character in Kerouacs On the Road was supposed to have been based on him and that he hung out with all the famous beat writers, Ken Kesey and the Grateful Dead. I'm still not exactly sure what it is he did other than use his life as an example to the people mentioned. He certainly didn't write anything of note. The biggest surprise to me was he was a fanatical follower of Edgar ...more
Richard
Dec 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Neal Cassady… what a trip. There are several bios on Neal out there including “The Holy Goof” by William Plummer that may be more definitive but this treatment does a great job of telling the story of Neal and his wild ways. If you want to know about the Beat Generation and how Cassady came together with Allen Ginsburg, Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs et al and how they related to the hippie movement this is a good resource.

This biography was begun by David Sandison who was clearly smitten with
...more
Mat
Feb 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Great biography on one of the 'heros' of the Beat Generation. He was Kerouac's muse and alter-ego but what is great about this book is that the authors, after conducting extensive research and interviews over a period of about 10 years, were able to debunk some of the myths around this man who occupies a legendary postion in beat folklore.
Known as 'Cody' in some of Kerouac's novels and 'Sir Speed Limit' as the driver of Ken Kesey's bus of merry pranksters, there is another side of Cassady which
...more
Jason
Dec 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A biography that explores the life, the legend, and the truth of Neal Cassady. Made famous once Jack Kerouac's On the Road became a sensation in 1957, the real life of "Dean Moriarty" is one tinged with wild times, drugs, sex, and sadness. One only wonders what his kids thought as he continually hit the road right up to the year of his untimely death at the age of 41. The Beat Generation has inspired and thrilled me since I was 14, but these are also the people that would probably annoy me in re ...more
Stephen Hayes
Feb 22, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: biography, our-books
Some years ago I read another biography of Neal Cassady, The holy goof by William Plummer. The only book that Neal Cassady himself had published was a partial autobiography, The first third, so this is not a literary biography in the sense that Cassady was a famous author. His claim to (literary) fame was that he appears as a character in the novels of his friend Jack Kerouac and the poems of his friend Allen Ginsberg, and also in Go by John Clellon Holmes.

Kerouac and Ginsberg admired him tremen
...more
HeavyReader
Nov 08, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: fans of the Beats
Shelves: life-stories
I was pulling books for interlibrary loan the other day and was downstairs in the history section when I came across this book. I don't know much about the beat poets and knew even less about Neal Cassady, so I grabbed this book for myself. Cassidy my parnter is named after Neal Cassady, via a Grateful Dead song titled simply, "Cassidy," so that had me interested too.

Turns out that Neal Cassady lied to, manipulated, coerced, and cheated just about everyone he ever knew. From most accounts, he wa
...more
Barry Cunningham
Jan 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I saw this biography in Mac's Backs and knew I had to have it. I knew him only as the basis for character you couldn't take your eyes off of in Kerouac's "On the Road" and wanted to know what his story was.
Neal Cassady was jerk, but a charismatic and influential jerk. In that respect, not unlike most politicians. But he grew up on the other side of the tracks, became a petty criminal, dope fiend, womanizer, and icon of the Beats and the Hippies. Jack Kerouac immortalized him as Dean Moriarty in
...more
Ralph
Oct 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Any reader familiar with the biographies of the various beat writers will find little new information in this book as much of the detail of Cassadys life has been covered in these. It is good however to read a biography dedicated to the man himself given that he was such a major inspiration for a literary genre.

Nate Jordon
May 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
A comprehensive portrait of a Beat Generation Legend that attempts to demythologize the cornucopia of myths swirling around Neal Cassady. However, his life makes such an interesting read that it remains mythological.
David Healey
Jan 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Neal Cassady lead the life that I wish I could have if I only had the balls to live it.
Tommy
Mar 28, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Beat lovers
Good Bio of Neal.
Brendan
Jan 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: any fan of the beats
OK, the guy invented the hipster and then, helped kick start the hippie movement in the 60's...facinating character this one.
Charity
rated it really liked it
Nov 15, 2017
Ben
rated it it was amazing
Jul 03, 2018
LeeAnn Heringer
rated it liked it
Jul 27, 2014
Sam Mills
rated it liked it
Jan 08, 2015
Christopher Gleason
rated it liked it
Dec 22, 2011
Randy Deveau
rated it really liked it
Oct 28, 2013
John  Ervin
rated it liked it
Aug 09, 2009
Poet’s Pulpit
rated it liked it
May 09, 2018
Arthur Kyriazis
rated it it was amazing
Aug 02, 2013
Jennifer Newbold
rated it liked it
Jun 26, 2016
ashley
rated it it was amazing
Feb 14, 2008
Paul
rated it liked it
Jul 11, 2011
Nate
rated it it was amazing
Jul 04, 2013
Alex Mikkelsen
rated it really liked it
Jul 18, 2012
Matt Murphy
rated it liked it
Dec 30, 2008
Wolf Lee
rated it liked it
Nov 28, 2007
William Kielty
rated it really liked it
Feb 05, 2018
Krisna Beck
rated it liked it
Jan 08, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »