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Beat Generation in New York: A Walking Tour of Jack Kerouac's City Paperback – 18 Jan 2001
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Follow in the footsteps of Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassady, William Burroughs, and other Beat legends who read poetry, drank and talked all night long in the New York City of the 1950s. This guide is packed with photos, information and anecdotes about the people and places that made history.
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For anyone with an interest in the beat generation, this book is an informative read. As an avid reader of beat literature myself I found this guide invaluable. It's laid out really well with quite basic but easy to follow maps. Locations which havn't been divulged in other sources, have been tracked down and listed by area.
It really comes alive when you follow the directions and visit the various sites. I took it for a 'test read' round the Manhattan Streets recently and was really pleased with the results.
The highlights for me were the house in West 20th where Kerouac wrote 'On The Road' - William Burroughs old residence at 'the bunker' in the Bowery - and the newsagent 'Gem Spa' at St Marks which Ginsberg used for most of his life in NY. None of the above I would have been easily able to find without labourious research.
Some of the sites are a bit obscure and not of much interest, but these sections are easily skipped through. Who knows there might be someone who needs to know where Kerouac stayed for two night in 1953! But for the most part the book is great and any criticism would be knit picking.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
this book is filled with a lot of well-known and plenty of not so well known places where various members of the beat generation ate, performed, lived, got drunk in, or otherwise played out their lives. the tours are broken down by area and there are clear directions to help you find where you're going (even if the place no longer exists). each tour also begins with a street map of the area covered and clearly numbered destinations, which was very helpful, although i did wish that the book had also come with an overview map of all manhattan and destinations so that i could more easily combine tours or skip around to places of interest if i didn't want to follow a complete tour.
each stopping place in the tour book includes a paragraph or two on why the place is important to beat history and who/what occured there. although the title of the book claims that new york was "jack kerouac's city," the tours really include many of the other important beat figures as well as a few others that were influenced by the beat movement, such as bob dylan.
this is a great way for beat aficionados visiting new york to get a taste of the city, and a fun way for locals to spend an afternoon or two discovering new spots and seeing familiar places in a new light.
Not a lot of beef here. The title and cover art are the best parts.
They should reprint.
A great companion to this book is "The Beat Generation in New York." I wouldn't recommend carrying this heavy book around with you, but after you've finished the tours, open the book to look at the pictures taken at many of the places you've just visited.