This is the only thorough research done on the life of Beat Generation and Prankster era icon Neal Cassady. The form of this work is that of an oral history combined with facsimile reproductions of contemporary documents. Included are extensive interviews with family and friends who knew Neal from the age of seven, and including the group of kids that Jack Kerouac wrote about as the Pederson Poolhall gang. Hear the story behind Neal’s most famous piece of writing, the “Cherry Mary Letter” (basis for the movie The Last Time I Committed Suicide) from the people who were there. Read some of Neal’s school records, a Catholic Charities assessment of the family, important new pieces of Mr. Cassady’s writing, and even some of his father’s writing.
Also included are the only known photos of Neal from these years, three of them published here for the first time and the others shown in their full size for the first time. Neal’s reform school letters and parole papers are here, as well as a short story from a friend about a 1940s adventure with Neal. There are also some surprising newspaper stories relating directly to Neal and an assortment of historic cartoons, maps, photos, and magazine articles to help tell the story of Neal’s life in a seamless mix of words and pictures. Many aspects of popular culture and Denver Colorado history are covered in these volumes such as midget auto racing, gay history and bootlegging during prohibition.