Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Book Review ::: The Typewriter Is Holy

Behind-the-scenes chronicles of the lives of the men and women who made up what would become "the beat generation" - beatniks. A look at the roots of modern counterculture in a concise package by Bill Morgan. I couldn't put it down.

As a teen, Jack Kerouac's "On the Road" was one of my most prized literary posessions. I was familiar with Allen Ginsburg's poetry and was fascinated by Neal Casady. This book brings it all together and fills in the gaps. Now I know where and when "beatniks" were gone and "hippies" were here... an earlier era now far upstream along the river time.

"The Typewriter is Holy is a wonderful romp, a totally engrossing history of the Beat generation, and those wildly colorful figures who brought about a seismic change in our culture. It makes sense of the intersecting lives of Allen Ginsberg, Neal Cassady, William Burroughs and others whose great adventures gave birth to the upheavals of the Sixties. No one alive knows these people as well as Bill Morgan does, and the result is a fascinating chronicle.”
-- Dinitia Smith, author of The Illusionist and Remember This
Author Bill Morgan typed up a little boat upon which we can navigate that river of time, back through the 1960s, 50s and 40s. "The Typewriter is Holy" connects the dots of counterculture, from the chance meetings Allen Ginsburg had with the other members of what would later become "the Beat Generation" to the place in history where the era of the "beatnik" momentarily overlapped with that of the "hippie," as illustrated in the photo at left of Timothy Leary with Neil Cassady aboard Ken Kesey's psychedellic bus "Further" -

Morgan's book should be required reading...it should bein every public library and private collection. The modern generation only knows of the now of youtube and the internet, and perhaps a smattering of ancient histories from the Bible and Koran... along with bits and pieces of other times, places and faces, with no effective continuum. "The Typewriter is Holy" is a complete step backward in time. We need to find other books to tell the stories of times earlier in such concise fashion that we can finally UNDERSTAND who we are, where we are and why we are today.

The Typewriter Is Holy: The Complete, Uncensored History of the Beat Generation (Hardcover). By Bill Morgan. $28.00. Published May 11th 2010 by Free Press... 291 pages
ISBN 1416592423 (isbn13: 9781416592426)

Here's another keepsake:

Beat Generation in New York
A Walking Tour of Jack Kerouac's City
Bill Morgan
1997 Edition
Set off on the eternal trail of the Beat experience in the city that inspired many of Jack Kerouac's best-loved novels including On the Road, Vanity of Duluoz, The Town and the City, and Desolation Angels. This is the ultimate guide to Kerouac's New York.

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