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Plunkitt of Tammany Hall
“I seen my opportunities and I took ’em,” said George Washington Plunkitt in this charming manual ...
Facing an Economic Revolution
Woodrow Wilson calls for government intervention in the economy in order to preserve American freedoms in ...
The Crime of the Century
The tangled story of the great crime of the 20th century, the 1932 kidnapping and murder ...
'Jewtown' in the New Land
Writing about the tenements of New York, Jacob Riis describes how Jewish immigrants made their way ...
A Matter of Conscience
Still an unannounced candidate, Lincoln viewed this address before Eastern leadership as a crucial moment for ...
The Plight of the Working Class
A vitally important document and the best account of the working class under the new industrialism.
A Streetcar Named Pleiku
The 1965 attack on the U.S. base at Pleiku in South Vietnam was a turning point: ...
Portrait of the Monster as a Young Man
Hitler’s formative years, 1889 to 1918, which reveal the sources ...
In Search of the Next Kick
Jack Kerouac and the Making of the Beat Generation
by John Tytell
The appearance of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road in 1957 announced the entry of the the “beat” generation into the world of American letters. Kerouac’s autobiographical, “spontaneous prose,” a kind of novelistic composition also reflected in the work of his beat compatriots Allen Ginsberg and Gregory Corso, burst onto a fifties America supposedly safe, stuffy, and conservative (though in retrospect there is considerable evidence to the contrary). Here was a new and wildly disorganized view of life that seemed to extol amorality and indulge in self-gratification. Kerouac’s characters are in search of some sort of spiritual truth—and it may be connected to drugs, drink, sex, jazz, or fast cars. John Tytell, one of the great chroniclers of the beat writers, here offers an insightful mini-biography of Jack Kerouac, certainly the icon of the beat generation and a writer of puzzling complexity.
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