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Kerouac: A Biography Paperback – October 15, 1994


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (October 15, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312113471
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312113476
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #682,427 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"It is about men and ideas that changed everything. That's reason enough to read it."--The New York Times

"This biography becomes almost a novel in itself. The darkly intense, handsome young man, the gypsy wanderer, hero and prophet to everyone but himself...Written with a beautiful combination of toughness and love, of daring insight and honesty, it is a worthy monument to a troubled man."--The Los Angeles Times

"Behind the 'crazy rebel' of the novels who inspired a whole generation to go hitchhiking across America in search of 'the myth of the rainy night' lay a life of insecurity and wretched loneliness...a duality perceptively illustrated by Ann Charters in her lucid, well-researched biography."--The Sunday Telegraph

About the Author

Ann Charters received her B.A. at Berkeley and her Ph.D. at Columbia. She first met Kerouac at a poetry reading in Berkeley in 1956, and compiled a comprehensive bibliography of his work in 1967. A professor of English at the University of Connecticut, she is also the editor of Selected Letters of Jack Kerouac and the Portable Kerouac Reader, and the author of Beats and Company: Portrait of a Literary Generation.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
While in college, I had to do a paper on "On The Road" and after reading it, I became absolutely fascinated with Jack Kerouac. I got this book out of the library one day. I think it is excellent. It documents Kerouac's whole life from birth to death and gives the reader a wonderul insight into the "real" Jack Kerouac. I literally could not put this down.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By greenhornet on August 8, 2011
Format: Paperback
Although there's quite a few bio's of Jack out there, it's unfortunate that the majority of them are sub standard. I read this decades ago and remembered it fondly, but a careful re-reading has brought out all the defects. Charters evidently couldn't quote from the sources, so what remains is a botch of a biography. There's really nothing here substantial, and Charters is reduced to re-wording the books... She also has the ingratiating habit of putting herself in quite a few scenes. Yet she's the only one of Kerouac's many biographers that actually met the man, and her telling of meeting him to do his bibliography is a good representation of the mans sad later years. Thus the need to repeat head-shaking incidents, ad nauseam, is avoided... Kerouac's wife Stella and his mother weren't happy with the first edition of this book, as it reported that Jack's sister Nin committed suicide (the woman died of a heart attack). Nicosia's is the far better bio, but it sags under its own bloated grandiosity. Brinkley was supposed to the Authorized Biography, but evidently that fell through. I feel his would've been the best. But we'll never know.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 27, 1998
Format: Paperback
Next to Greg Nicosia's book, this is probably the best biography we have on Kerouac. I'd recommend that you read both Charter's and Nicosia's.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Julian Cassidy on January 19, 2002
Format: Paperback
Ms. Charters did a commenable job putting together
this book. I would rate it right up there with
Nicosia's bio. The author certainly provided a lot
of background info and did a compelling job of
helping me get a better understanding of the social
climate which Kerouac & friends had to contend with
and conquer. My only complaint is that her writing style
sometimes lapses into a style a little too closely allied
with that of her subject, but given the subject matter, that is
understandable. I would recommend this book for those of
you who have found Kerouac's writings to be enjoyable.
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