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Mania Hardcover – March 1, 2013

ISBN-13: 978-1938938023 ISBN-10: 193893802X

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Frequently Bought Together

Mania + My Darling Killer: How Lucien Carr Introduced Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg & William Burroughs, Killed David Kammerer, and Shaped the Beat Generation + The Beat Killer: A Biography of Beat Writer Lucien Carr and Riverside Park Murder
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Top Five Books (March 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 193893802X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1938938023
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #829,890 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"Collins and Skover offer a vivid retelling...those in search of a good story and the raw, compelling 'feel' for the mindset and actions of the Beats will be rewarded....The madcap, savage world of the Beats is laid out in spades." —Publishers Weekly

From Kirkus Reviews

"A balanced history—sometimes admiring, sometimes blistering—of the writers who fractured the glass capsule of literary conformity." —Kirkus Reviews

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Buddha Baby on March 3, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
[Mania the Story of the Outraged & Outrageous Lives that Launched a Cultural Revolution] by [[Ronald Collins and David Skover]]

I know nothing about The Beats and wasn't crazy about [On the Road], but I still kept wanting to know and understand them better. This book was perfect for me. I still remember an undergrad paper I was assigned in an Intro Music course, when we had to choose a particular musical time period and write about what was going on in all OTHER fields at that time e.g. math, science, government, etc. It was very eye-opening to see all the connections. Well [Mania] was like that for me regarding literature. I know nothing about literature and this book was eye opening for me in that regard. It illustrated so many connections to other fields, government again, other literature, art, ideals, ethics, etc. of that time period.

Initially I was getting pretty cranky with these characters and wanted to throw the book. I just wasn't feeling any empathy for them. They were incredibly misogynistic, abandoning both their wives and their children and mistreating everyone including each other. I stuck with it tho and finally, as time passed and these men matured, the understanding and empathy came. This is another coming of age story in a sense, people wrestling with the constraints of society and railing against injustice and stupidity, trying to live the life they believe in.

[Mania] is worth reading for the chapter on legal information and development of obscenity laws alone. It is fascinating to watch a very conservative Bible believing judge come to the conclusion that the Ginsberg poem Howl is not obscene and should not be banned, whether he likes it or not. This book is recommended for law students for that reason, for those like myself who knew nothing about The Beats, and for Beat experts!

This review is of an Advanced Review copy given to me by the publisher.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Larry L on July 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover
"Mania" is nothing short of a complete history of the "Beat Generation" as told through the lives of the main characters: Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Neal Cassady and others. Cassady was the Bus driver in Tom Wolfe's "Electric Kool Aid Acid Test" and was the inspiration for Dean Moriarty, Kerouac's sidekick in "On the Road". The characters in "Mania" are as mythic as any in the aforementioned books, and the accounts are rich and unsparing about the triumphs and tragedies of their exciting and sometimes troubled lives. Almost as fascinating is the account of the obscenity trial in San Francisco in 1957 about Allen Ginsberg's book, "Howl". When it was declared not obscene it set the tone for the freedom of speech movement for subsequent generations.
A fascinating, entertaining and important book for anyone interested in American culture in the twentieth century.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mary L on July 29, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
This book is a fascinating story of the Beats, whom I really didn't know much about. The research that went into the making of this book was masterful. The details of the lives - both the admirable and the offensive - of Kerouac, Ginsberg, Burrows, etc. were fully described in a story that kept me interested to the end. The description of the obscenity trial of Ginsberg's "Howl" poem was remarkable. The book taught me how the behavior and writings of the Beats influenced future generations by opening up freedom of expression. They "pushed the envelope" of what was allowable in society, which led to the more open and tolerant society of today. I had never understood before how much the cultural revolutions of the Hippie generation, the civil rights and women's rights movements owed to this group.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ed Farnsworth on March 30, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Saw one of the authors, David Skover, talking about the book in a TV interview and risked ordering it. Just started it, but the writing is excellent. A very exciting, meticulously researched biography. Somebody's gonna make a film of this thing. It's smart but red hot.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lilith Island on October 31, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Great book. Must read. Whether you're into the "beat" generation or not. I wasn't. Didn't know much about them. These folks came alive again, largely because of the writers and the way they chose to write the book, I feel. The chapters (47 plus a wonderful epilogue) are very short, though the book is hefty enough, and I ended up with the experience of "can't wait to keep reading this book." My deepest admiration goes to Judge Clayton Horn. David Perlman wrote: "Judge Horn, who regularly teaches Bible class at a Sunday school, was under something of a cloud when he mounted the bench for the Howl case. He had just been raked over by the local press for a decision in which he had sentenced five lady shoplifters to attend The Ten Commandments and write penitential essays on the supercolossal epic's moral lesson." Judge Horn was the book's truest hero, and I owe him a great debt. Not only did he sanction this book legally, but he made a fundamental point that we have largely forgotten, abandoned, or never adopted in the first place: "life is not encased in one formula whereby everyone acts the same or conforms to a particular pattern. No two persons think alike; we were all made from the same mold but in different patterns." According to the authors, Ronald K.L. Collins and David M. Skover, "Judge Horn’s opinion would have been a memorable one, sure to be widely cited by other courts, if only it had ever been officially published. It never was." That truth, more than any other, I feel, says more about our society than perhaps even Ginsberg's "America." Ultimately, the book had the effect of making me reconsider a lot of things. The movie (excellent),"Kill Your Darlings," just out, focuses on Ginsberg and others during their Columbia University phase. The book, however, ends up being far more captivating.
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