One of the best, comprehensive histories of the Beat Generation out there, featuring almost 200 pages of full-color photographs, illuminating the movement.
From Publishers Weekly
As a basic literary overview of the major figures and events of the beat generation, Evans’s handsome coffee-table book serves its purpose satisfactorily, if not with particular attention to insight or detail. Evans, for example, perfunctorily recounts Kerouac’s oft-cited Benzedrine-fueled writing of On the Road with no mention of the fact that most recent publications have downgraded his principal writing aid to coffee. Someone looking for biographical complexity, however, has an ever-growing library of other volumes to choose from; this book’s value lies largely in the photographs, original book covers and various other visual elements that enhance nearly every page. Evans does an elegant job of visually charting the beats’ trajectory from the intensely personal inner circle of the ’40s and mid-’50s to the national praise, misunderstanding and often ridicule that greeted their ideals in the late ’50s and ’60s. He accomplishes this transition by subtly shifting the bulk of visual material from intimate photos of the principal figures to an expanding network of junk (The Beat Generation Cookbook) and inspiration (the happenings of Claes Oldenberg) that mirrors the mass culture explosion of America through the decades. Color and b&w illus. (Nov.)