By the time 19-year-old Lucien Carr stabbed his obsessive pursuer David Kammerer to death on the banks of the Hudson River in August 1944, it was clear that the hard-partying teenager who had brought together Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and William S. Burroughs might need to re-evaluate his life. Two years in Elmira Correctional Facility straightened out the wayward youth but did little to curb the wild ways of his friends. Here the authors of The Trials of Lenny Bruce tell the story of this remarkable group at the core of the Beat movement, who strained against the conformity of postwar America, who experimented with drink, drugs, sex, jazz, and literature, and who yearned to be heard, to remake art and society in their own libertine image. What is more remarkable than the manic lives they led is that they succeeded, remaking their own generation and inspiring the ones that followed. From the breakthrough success of Kerouac's On the Road to the controversy of Ginsberg's "Howl" and Burroughs' Naked Lunch, the counterculture was about to go mainstream, and America would never be the same.
"[Ronald] Collins and [David] Skover offer a vivid retelling.... Those in search of a good story and the raw, compelling 'feel' for the mindset and actions of the Beats will be rewarded ... the madcap, savage world of the Beats is laid out in spades."—Publishers Weekly