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Windblown World: The Journals of Jack Kerouac 1947-1954 Hardcover – October 7, 2004

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult; First Edition edition (October 7, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670033413
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670033416
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.4 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,406,353 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Much of Kerouac's reputation rests on his first two novels, and these selections from a series of spiral notebooks into which the fledgling author constantly poured story ideas and private thoughts offer an intimate perspective on those novels' development. Anybody who's ever started a novel will grasp Kerouac's obsession with his daily word count and the periodic frustration and self-doubt. "I know that I should never have been a writer," Kerouac laments at one dark moment; in another, he wonders, "Why doesn't God appear to tell me I'm on the right track?" Historian Brinkley, author most recently of a book on John Kerry (Tour of Duty), addresses this religious devotion in an introduction that effectively establishes the historical context, clarifying, too, just how much time Kerouac really spent refining the allegedly spontaneous On the Road. Still, there's plenty of the familiar Kerouac on hand: all-night drunken conversations with other Beat writers, casual sexual encounters and a final notebook entitled "Rain and Rivers," filled with real-life episodes in an early version of the freewheeling style that transformed Kerouac from a promising young novelist to a literary legend. These journals are an essential resource for American literature scholars, but the force of Kerouac's personality makes them an engrossing read for lay admirers.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School–These entries cover Kerouac's mid-20s, when he was completing his first novel, The Town and the City, and beginning what were to become Dr. Sax and On the Road. Much of the book is devoted to issues of writing–character, plot, style–and a daily obsession with word count that any writer will appreciate. Discussions of favorite authors like Céline, Twain, and Dostoyevsky highlight some influences, and Kerouac shows his early iconoclastic tendencies through an almost rampant hatred of academics and the literary establishment. Anecdotes about partying with Allen Ginsburg and William S. Burroughs, the New York jazz world, and finding a girlfriend are peppered throughout. The final section is devoted to the cross-country trip made with Neal Cassady and others that inspired On the Road. These narratives of the landscapes of the U.S. and Mexico are hauntingly beautiful and contain hints of the quasi-spontaneous style that made both Kerouac and the Beat movement so different and so popular. The introduction, notations, and index are invaluable to those less familiar with the time period or Kerouac's life. But the real charm of this title is in his words; seeing this young, brilliant author develop and continually push himself toward greatness is gripping and astonishing. The reality of Kerouac proves far more moving and interesting than the bad-boy image.–Matthew L. Moffett, Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth M. Goodman on October 15, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's beyond amazing that, after all these years, after all

Kerouac's work: novels, poetry, letters, etc. have long been

available...that suddenly a brand new book appears...and it's

beyond great. It's up there with anything he ever wrote.

If you love Kerouac, make getting this book #1 on your list.

If I may offer one brief quote (on page 12) on the subject

of maturity: "...the flashing exhilirated maddening discoveries

and truths of youth, the ones that turn young men into visionary

demons and make them unhappy and happier than ever all at once--

the truths later dropped with the condescension of "maturity"--

these truths come back in true maturity, maturity being nothing

less than disciplined earnestness--"

The book is LOADED with cool stuff like that.

Even though I'm not a Christian, all Kerouac's writing about

Jesus in these journals don't bother me, because he's writing from an ENLIGHTENED perspective. We are truly lucky that Jack Kerouac existed on Earth; and all those lunkhead critics who

dumped their ignorant bad reviews on him all those years ago

have been proven to be morons.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Killian HALL OF FAME on December 22, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Two of Kerouac's journals, published together and finally available for the lay reader to pick up and delve into. Editor Douglas Brinkley does a fine job putting this material into context, even if he makes overstated claims for it, and even if he seems so needlessly to kiss John Sampas' ass, even dedicating this book to him among others of his cohort. We learn a lot about Kerouac from these journals, a lot that's valuable and a lot that shows us just why so many fell in love with his mind and his thoughtful, sometimes halting way of proceeding, always trying to do the right thing despite innumerable obstacles. I think also he had a natural inclination to be sort of the bad boy, and then he had the spectre of his dead brother acting on him as a kind of good angel always steering him right. With utmost seriousness he tried to plot out his life and his course of spiritual action; of course, as we see, women, booze, guys, and wanderlust got in his way, caused him to stray from the path.

His very earnestness however is endearing: "This is why life is holy," he states on pg. 211 (think of the irony on top of which such a statement would be laden today by Kerouac's so-called successors), "Because it is not a lonely accident. Therefore, again, we must love and be reverent of one another, till the day when we are all angels looking back." He sounds an apocalyptic note: "Those who are not reverent now may be the most reverent then (in their other, electrical, spiritual form.) Will there be a Judgement Day? No need to judge the living or the dead: only the happy and the unhappy with tears of pity." Kerouac seems to have seen clearly what escapes all of us but the most enlightened, that we are all creatures of sorrow and of what he calls "electricity," the charge that makes us human.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Pitoucat on September 9, 2006
Format: Paperback
Kerouac began keeping journals in 1936, and continued for the rest of his life. The journals survive and editor Brinkley, writing in The Atlantic Monthly in 1998, promised us publication of "a multi-volume edition." Now it seems that all we will be getting is this 370-page book, covering only some of the material from the years 1947 to 1950, and with just a few pages from 1954 thrown in as extra.

The parts that have been selected for inclusion are apparently aimed at demonstrating the development of Kerouac's first two major works, The Town & the City, and On the Road. Strange, then, that nothing from Kerouac's 1948-49 journal of work on the latter book is included, although some of it did appear as a taster in the extracts Brinkley selected for publication in The Atlantic Monthly in 1998. That must surely be one of the most relevant journals for those interested in the development of On the Road and its omission here is a mystery. (Note: Although not in the hardback edition, Kerouac's On the Road journal has been added as a "postscript" to the paperback edition of this book.) Other journal extracts published in Atlantic, and also in the New Yorker in 1998, are missing from the published book.

In his introduction, it seems to me that Brinkley places far too much emphasis on demolishing the "myth" that On the Road was frantically written in three weeks in April 1951, claiming that Kerouac had begun it much earlier. This may be news to Brinkley, but I'm sure that most Kerouac readers are already aware of that fact. They will have known it since Tim Hunt pointed out that Kerouac began working on the book in 1948, attempting at least five different versions over the next four years.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By CultFilmFreaksDotCom on June 3, 2008
Format: Paperback
Wow this book is really incredible. It's like diving into the soul of Kerouac before he decided he didn't want to have commas or periods. Mind you I like DR SAX and DESOLATION ANGELS and his other crazily spontaneous novels that had dashes instead of periods, but I gotta say, I enjoy ON THE ROAD and DHARMA BUMS, and this book is great because it's Kerouac writing in a style that is simple to read and you really get to see what a truly great writer and philosopher he was, and he shares a lot about the book he's writing TOWN AND THE CITY which is a masterpeice (a book that gets better the further you read). And how he is set apart from his friends. As talented as they were, including Ginsberg, in my opinion: Jack stood alone, and this book is all about that: standing alone.
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