on February 12, 2005
I'm thrilled this book has finally arrived! I have the previous printing of this book, the Citadel Underground edition which contained Volumes One and Two of Sanders' marvelous autobiographical/historical tales, set in a time long long ago and (sadly) very far away, and I have periodically checked the bookstores over the years to see if the expanded book (promised by Sanders years ago) had ever seen fruition.
At almost double the the last set of tales, this presents a great value even for those who (like me) own and cherish a previous edition of this book. Young people who read this book will be amazed to learn there was a time in America where one did not have ransom one's life merely to house and feed oneself, when one could be free to pursue personal pursuits, whether artistic or merely whimsical, where a sense of play and of hope were in the zeitgeist. Oldsters who lived it and semi-oldsters (such as myself) who were too young to have lived it but who observed it will take these tales as a tonic, a vivid reminder that life can be hopeful and creative and fun, can be other than mere grubbing for subsistence, can be affirmative rather than merely resigned, and that one can live as one chooses rather than be co-opted.
Sanders tells these tales with brio and zest, and anyone who does not at least partly envy the lives lived by his characters must be presumed to have never realized he or she lives in a Platonic cave, yet to actually experience the light of day.
on January 14, 2011
This massive volume is an exhuberant, often poignent, celebration of the counterculture(s)
of the Sixties. If there is an ounce of the bohemian in your soul, if you are fortunate to
have lived during that tumultuous, nutty, important decade, or if you are young and have
wondered what the nostalgic fuss of your elders is all about, this is a book to read. For
this old Beat Wannabe, a book to cherish. The many interrelated tales of a great cast of
characters give the feel and the day-to-day details of the hip world of artists, activists,
and memorable eccentrics like no other I have read. Right on!
on January 13, 2012
Simply amazing book that draws you in and won't let go. A cadre of misfits, losers, lovers, idealists, grifters, dreamers, and others wash up in the Lower East Side and interact. Everyone's busy, everyone's moving, everyone's weird in their own adorable way. Life bumps along for the beatnik-turned-hippie culture, morphing as inside and outside influences beat on it. Little snippets of stories interconnect and interweave lives. The color is amazing, the pictures are "You are there!" the humor and philosophy are tied in with masterful layers of details and asides. You really care about every person Sanders writes about, no matter who they are. And he pulls no punches, doesn't gloss over. Women are angry about beatnik men. People steal from friends. Some flip out. Others shirk when called upon. And through the community wander cops, moms, kids, elders, reporters. And the language is lyrical and haunting in places. As two disgruntled beat/hips leave for good, they go off hitchhiking "into the lonely beauty of America." This book will stick in your head for the rest of your life!