Jack Kerouac(1922-1969), the central figure of the Beat Generation, was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1922 and died in St. Petersburg, Florida, in 1969. Among his many novels are On the Road, The Dharma Bums, Big Sur, and Visions of Cody.
Though Kerouac's masterpiece is not out of print and likely never will be (it still enjoys more than 60,000 sales annually), Viking is releasing a quality hardcover edition to commemorate the 40th anniversary of its original publication. Undoubtedly one of the most influential and important novels of the 20th century, this is the book that launched the Beat Generation and remains the bible of that literary movement. On the Road's publication in 1957 was a wake-up call to the American public that not all its youth were modeled after characters on Ozzie and Harriet: it portrayed Ivy League-educated white kids who smoked dope, hitchhiked, and frequented black jazz joints and Mexican whorehouses. It was the harbinger of the radical changes that would soon sweep society in the 1960s. In addition to the full text, this version includes the New York Times's original book review. A pillar of American literature.
An authentic work of art . . . the most beautifully executed, the
clearest and the most important utterance yet made by the
generation Kerouac himself named years ago as 'beat, ' and whose
principal avatar he is.
--Gilbert Millstein, The New York Times
On the Road has the kind of drive that blasts through to a large public. . . . What makes the novel really important, what gives it that drive is a genuine new, engaging and exciting prose style. . . . What keeps the book going is the power and beauty of the writing.
--Kenneth Rexroth, San Francisco Chronicle
One of the finest novels of recent years. . . a highly
euphoric and intensely readable story about a group of wandering
young hedonists who cross the country in endless search of
--Leonard Feather, Downbeat