Cover image for The Rolling Stone book of the Beats : the Beat Generation and American culture
The Rolling Stone book of the Beats : the Beat Generation and American culture
George-Warren, Holly.
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Hyperion, [1999]

Physical Description:
xi, 452 pages : illustrations ; 26 cm
General Note:
"A Rolling Stone Press book"--T.p. verso.
Added Author:
Added Uniform Title:
Rolling stone (San Francisco, Calif.)
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS228.B6 R65 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PS228.B6 R65 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PS228.B6 R65 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
PS228.B6 R65 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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Featuring "Rolling Stone" pieces by William Burroughs and Lester Bangs, reminiscences by Ken Kesey, Kurt Vonnegut, Norman Mailer, and Bono, and photographs by Annie Leibovitz and Gerard Malanga, this treasury of Beat lore and literature is a true collector's item. 40 photos.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

"As a cultural phenomenon," says editor George-Warren, "the Beat generation changed us more than any other Twentieth-Century movement." One would like to know who all are meant by us, but perhaps she is right. At any rate, the magazine whose pages have been plundered for most of this reader's contents would have been much different without the Beats' resigned rebelliousness as attitudinal model for the youth culture Rolling Stone strove to document. The point of being beat was that you couldn't win against the dominant culture, so why knock yourself out fighting it? Do what you want, what seems right or possible or even just cool. Let your hair grow long, your ensemble mismatch, your morals match your desires, and your politics your impulses. If enough people get cool--voila! Your ways are the culture's ways. Victory through nonresistant despair! It isn't really that simple, of course, and neither were the Beats, especially the three--Kerouac, Ginsberg, and Burroughs--to which half of the book's six parts are devoted. A marvelous, marvelously handsome resource. --Ray Olson

Publisher's Weekly Review

Celebrating the spontaneous, freewheeling, drug-taking, taboo-breaking 1950s and '60s artists called Beats or beatniks, this is a huge dim sum cart of a book, loaded with essays, reprinted book reviews, commissioned memoirs, interviews and pictures. Editor George-Warren (co-editor of The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll) divides the book into six sections that give a historical overview; pay tribute to Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg; examine less well-known figures; and assess the Beats' influences on American culture today. Given the possible pitfalls of a long anthology, and the "spontaneous" Beat ethos, the writing here is surprisingly polished. Cultural critics include Lester Bangs, who provides a rapid-fire elegy on Kerouac ("the decades fall past like dominoes into bookless eras of daily apocalypse"); Greil Marcus, who turns up twice (on Ginsberg and Kerouac); and Richard Meltzer, who lets loose with his hipster jive in an overview of Beat books. There are memoirs by major players in the movement, including Burroughs, Carol Cassady and Lawrence Ferlinghetti; and homages from self-proclaimed heirs of the Beats, including Patti Smith, Richard Hell, Lee Ranaldo (of Sonic Youth) and Johnny Depp. Amusing debates emerge, about the meaning of Maynard G. Krebs for the movement, and whether hippies or punks were truer to the beatnik spirit. On the serious side, Allen Ginsberg comes in for criticism as a self-promoter, held responsible for the deleterious effect of fame on Kerouac and Neal Cassady. Without excerpts from the fiction or poetry, this anthology isn't an introduction. But it is a first-rate companion. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

"A celebration of Beat culture in words and pictures," this collection looks at the Beat Generation's influence on popular art and culture, especially rock'n'roll. The book is organized into six parts: an opening section documents the birth of the Beat Generation; separate sections are devoted to Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and William Burroughs; one section covers minor beat writers; and a concluding section examines the Beat Generation's legacy. Articles include reprinted interviews and reviews from Rolling Stone along with newly commissioned pieces by Carolyn Cassady, Hettie Jones, and David Amram, among others. Authors range from literary scholars like Ann Charters and John Tytell to rock and folk artists like Patti Smith, Lee Renaldo, Johnny Depp, and Eric Andersen. This well-balanced anthology should be a welcome addition to most public and academic libraries.ÄWilliam Gargan, Brooklyn Coll. Lib., CUNY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.