As cultural movements go, the writers of the Beat Generation flamed out rather quickly, yet they managed to make a lasting impression that captures imaginations going on 60 years since their heyday.
Alan Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, and Jack Kerouac were totems of the
Beat movement, but so many other players influenced the scene. The Beat Generation FAQ captures many of the details and overlooked personalities in the shadows of
Naked Lunch and On the Road. It opens up the Beat story and its cultural impact.
Rich Weidman paints the Beat writers with an honest, balanced brush--a rarity when writers such as Burroughs and Kerouac are treated with complete slavish devotion or, at the other end, critical derision. There is rarely a middle ground.
The major characters receive ample coverage, but itís the offbeat characters that had a behind-the-scenes influence who are often more interesting. In telling their stories, Weidman uncovers the people who inspired some beloved fictional characters.
The Beats had a moment in time, but it seems the hipster, bohemian lifestyle continues to sing its clarion call.