Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Jack Kerouac: King of the Beats” as Want to Read:
Jack Kerouac: King of the Beats
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Jack Kerouac: King of the Beats

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  384 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
More than forty years after the publication of On the Road, Jack Kerouac is more widely read and revered by a new generation than ever before. Why this is so is the subject of Barry Miles's fresh and revealing portrait of the writer who is the acknowledged leader of the Beats, the group of writers that included Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Neal Cassady, and Gary Snyd ...more
Paperback, 332 pages
Published December 15th 1999 by Holt Paperbacks (first published May 21st 1998)
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 Jack Kerouac, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Jack Kerouac

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

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Dona
Sep 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I thought this was a really good biography in that it was well-researched, thorough, annotated, interesting and honest. Miles did his homework and also consulted valuable primary sources such as Allen Ginsberg and Gary Snyder, themselves. He also included fair criticism of Kerouac's writing which made me more interested to read some of the works that I have overlooked. That being said, parts of this book were very difficult to read. Although I'm always irritated with writers who canonize Kerouac ...more
Keith
Nov 30, 2007 added it
Shelves: thisyear
Most overrated writer/movement ever? Maybe. These guys are just fuck-ups. Silver spoon kids (mostly) with really high IQs, who lacked work ethic, self control, and integrity/morals. Why do people suck off the Beats so much? Is it because they did so many drugs? Wow. Super. Is it because they all slept with each other and homosexuality is interesting and cool? Fuck off. Is it because they went on road trips? I went on a road trip. Is it because Kerouac wanted to fuck his mom and Oedipus complexes ...more
Outoftunetoo
Aug 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
Pretty brutal look at a tortured soul.
Bill
Sep 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
sgsfgsdfgsdfgsdfgsdfsfdgsfg
David Rullo
Apr 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Barry Miles presents a warts and all biography of the Beat Generation's most famous novelist. In fact, Miles biography, while 100% correct and 100% accurate, is the most negative or realist biography I've read of Kerouac and I think I've read them all.

Let's face it, Kerouac was never the man people thought and still he was. In his later years he was conservative, racist, an alcoholic, isolated by his lifestyle and the way he treated people and a horrible father. Miles doesn't hide any of this f
...more
Johannes Hadi
Sep 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
i wanted to know the person behind the icon before picking up any of Kerouac's books and this book did well to bring me up to speed on the Beat Generation and all its accompanying ideals - literary and philosophical.

author was highly objective in his portraiture of the man (read: harshly critical) and to be frank, i don't have a very good impression of Kerouac after reading this book. am possibly more curious about his contemporaries like Ginsberg or Burroughs. also, i am a massive Bukowski fan
...more
Simon Powell
Mar 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Very well written, but a book I found hard to read at times, if only because the subject comes across as such a turd of a man, especially in the treatment of his daughter. However, it is not just about the artist, but the art as well, and the author is fair and balanced, praising the good stuff, constructively criticising the bad and spending some time analysing the place of Kerouac in modern American literature, not just as a Beat writer.

Essential for anyone interested in Kerouac or any of the
...more
Joshua Nomen-Mutatio
I was obsessed with Kerouac during my first two years of high school. I reread this book a couple years ago and generally enjoyed it but not with the same feeling of admiration for the man that I had at 15.

A well done biography nonetheless.
Jeff
Kerouac was a worse guy than I realized. And his mom was a real ballbuster.

John
An entertaining biography of a reprehensible human being who showed flashes of incredible literary talent.
Neil
Jun 18, 2015 rated it it was ok
I found this to be a brutal look at the famous writer of On The Road and an interesting insight into his works beyond that. It doesn't encourage you to pursue his works.
Amy
Apr 09, 2010 rated it liked it
Pretty dry bio...I'm going to look for a more fun bio to read. I love Kerouac, and Miles kind of drags him in the dust.
Rachel Skye
Update as of later.
Weston
Nov 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Certainly ruins your image of Kerouac as the cool and lovable mofo but incredibly interesting nonetheless
Kelsey Collier-wise
Jul 30, 2011 rated it liked it
Interesting and complete biography. The author doesn't really seem to like Kerouac as a person and honestly, after reading the book, neither did I.
A
Mar 27, 2011 added it
Jack Kerouac was a fucking asshole, man.
Chris King
Jan 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating study of one very,very complex man.
Chuck Grinnell
rated it it was amazing
Oct 08, 2014
Ryan Bartek
rated it really liked it
Sep 03, 2016
Quirkyreader
rated it it was amazing
Dec 10, 2011
Emily Mccann
rated it really liked it
Jul 19, 2009
Gary
rated it really liked it
Jan 25, 2016
Dave Kennedy
rated it really liked it
Jun 18, 2014
Ed Killingsworth
rated it really liked it
Mar 16, 2014
Jale Akdemir
rated it it was amazing
May 18, 2012
Katrina
rated it it was amazing
Oct 29, 2012
Juanito Jones
rated it liked it
Aug 03, 2011
Gary King
rated it liked it
Jan 16, 2016
Christine Cody
rated it really liked it
Apr 19, 2015
George Salas
rated it really liked it
Dec 20, 2012
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Door Wide Open: A Beat Love Affair in Letters, 1957-1958
  • Memory Babe: A Critical Biography of Jack Kerouac
  • Jack's Book: An Oral Biography of Jack Kerouac
  • Jack Kerouac: Angelheaded Hipster
  • Desolate Angel: Jack Kerouac, The Beat Generation, And America
  • Kerouac: A Biography
  • The Horn
  • Minor Characters: A Beat Memoir
  • Why Kerouac Matters: The Lessons of On the Road (They're Not What You Think)
  • The True Confessions of an Albino Terrorist
  • Off the Road: My Years with Cassady, Kerouac, and Ginsberg
  • You'll Be Okay: My Life with Jack Kerouac
  • I Celebrate Myself: The Somewhat Private Life of Allen Ginsberg
  • Fast Lanes
4264
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...

Share This Book