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Comment: Eligible for FREE Super Saving Shipping! Fast Amazon shipping plus a hassle free return policy mean your satisfaction. A Good readable Copy. Softcover. Retired From Library, typical library markings. Otherwise, Book looks very good with no creases to cover protected in Laminations and all pages clean. Binding is tight and square. A good copy for reference, research, or reading enjoyment.
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The First Third Paperback – January 1, 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 222 pages
  • Publisher: City Lights Publishers; Rev Exp edition (January 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0872860051
  • ISBN-13: 978-0872860056
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #50,476 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Matthew P. Arsenault on November 9, 2004
Format: Paperback
A few chosen people are meant to be artists. Of the artists, there are painters: others sculptors, musicians, poets or writers. For some, like Neal Cassady, their medium was Being.

Although a muse for the likes of Ginsberg, Kerouac, and Ferlingetti, and in many ways the adrenaline to the Beat Generation, Cassady was not a writer. Writing wasn't Neal's gig. Perhaps the pen was too slow for him; the medium just couldn't convey his essence. Rather Neal was a live show. It seems cruel to find him trapped on paper - like watching a tiger at the zoo, the wild drained off through those all confining bars.

The first few chapters of The First Third are slow and seem forced. However, the vibe changes drastically once Neal's family tree is throughly discussed. It's as if Cassady has quit the pretentious wordplay and dictated thoughts to paper, which give the remainder of the book a much more genuine feel.

The most enlightening segment of the book is the select correspondence between Neal, Jack Kerouac, Ken Kesey and others. It provides an insight into Neal that is raw, unedited and seems a much more accurate description than Cassady's own attempt at biography.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 13, 1999
Format: Paperback
The First Third documents neal Cassady's childhood, illustrated through his adventures with his homeless father and inpoverished upbringing. It includes some fabulous ideas inside many intentional run on sentances. Not for the grammatically correct. I got to the end and wished it had been longer. Cassady is an addictive writer, with easy language and deep ideas.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 21, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is the true life story of the main inspiration behind the beat movement and the early Acid movement. This autobiography examines the first 13 years or so of Cassady's life. The only problem with it is that it is too short. However, it redeems itself with the addition of letters and exerpts in the back. These are more entertaining than the book in some ways. Check out the letter to Ken Kesey. When you are done with this book check out the movie, "The Last Time I Committed Suicide." It is based on one of the exerpts from the book. Overall, this is a fun book that gives insight into Cassady's early life.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
While I didn't find the actual writing style to be as exciting and wonderful as anticipated (considering his friends were always so wowed and impressed with his letters), you get an idea of how Neal talked through his writing. This is an incredibly important book as far as trying to figure out who Neal was. It is hard to wade through the idealised american holy hero angel kerouac identified him as, as well as the viewpoint of those such as carolyn and allen and figure out who he is. for the first time we get his words about what happened to him in the earlier years of his life. the only bad thing about this book is that he didn't get farther before he died.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Scott Coblio on January 10, 2009
Format: Paperback
As a reader who came to this book from a curiosity about Neal Cassady the person, I was disapointed to say the least. It's ironic that the book that offers the least insight into the workings of Neal Cassady's mind would be his own autobiography. I can't say very much about his prose either--his letters, if anything, capture the best of his essence for posterity. Perhaps Neal was just too pragmatic before a daunting typewriter and the task of recording his life--he is too chronological and spends too much time on his family tree, which is not fascinating enough to warrant it. The book, which reads more like a school paper, ends with Neal still a child. He should have started with "The Third Third" and worked backwards.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Noah Rhodes on September 9, 2001
Format: Paperback
I have read beat literature for years and am completely fascinated with the culture and characters of the time. I've read Kerouac, Kesey, Wolfe, Ginsbug and was impressed with them all. When I finally scrounged up enough money to pick up this collection of Cassady's writings, I was very excited about what I expected to find. And then I started reading.
Cassady had some great ideas, but his prose was forced and eclectic. He doesn't have any one writing style. Instead he jumps from style to style, sometimes as often as he breaks for paragraphs. It makes for some very frustrated reading at times. The other problem is with the editing of the novel. I'm not terribly concerned with grammar and punctuation, but several times a page there were editing mistakes. Whether this was a carryover from the original document or a mistake of the actual editor I can't say, but it again distracts one from the true thread of the book.
Overall, I would have to rate this collection fairly poorly, for its inconsistancy and lack of real purpose. I don't mean to demean from the legend that Neal Cassady was, but I simply believe that he was a man of action, not of words.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Phil on November 28, 2001
Format: Paperback
The First Third is a far cry from being one of the best books that I have read. However, if you are a fan of Jack Kerouac, as I am, this book is a must read. In reading this book you get an understanding of who neal thought that he was, and how he got that way. This book is essential if you want a more complete understanding of Kerouac's On the Road. The fashion in which this book is written borows much style from Cassidy's compaions, consisting of some of the greatest minds of twentieth century literature.
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