Sunday, April 18, 2010

Guest Review #2: The Typewriter is Holy by Bill Morgan

Title: The Typewriter is Holy: the Complete Uncensored History of the Beat Generation

Author: Bill Morgan
Publisher: Free Press (Simon and Schuster)
Genre: Non-fiction
Format: ARC from Publisher
ISBN: 978-1-4165-9242-6
Price/Pages: $28.00/ app. 250
Release Date: May 11,2010

Michelle says:

I was interested in this book because I knew it would be something that my husband would eat up and love to talk about. And he did. He read it in less than a week during his lunch breaks and came home this evening saying he was done already! He then started to babble on and on, with much enthusiasm, about the history of the beat poets and writers. Well, if that much excitement can be generated from a book, then, by golly, he must review it! So I give you once again, my famous Guest Reviewer: Sean, the husband.

Sean says:

Essentially, this book helped me to really "get" Allen Ginsberg. He is often framed, along with Jack Kerouac, as one if the "it" poets of the so called "beat" generation. This is an almost chronological account of the complex relationships between these prolific writers. It illustrates the dynamic between William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and all of the assorted characters in their lives at the time.

An interesting tidbit: Jack Kerouac may have coined the term "Beat Generation", but he considered it dead by 1949. He referred beats to the beaten populace, the downtrodden. In the media, the term became synonymous with anti-establishment, which soon became "hippy" instead of "beatnik", dogging Kerouac (who was quite conservative) to his final days.

I was able to understand Ginsberg's poetry at a deeper level, having read this. I would recommend this strongly for anyone seeking clarification on the lives of these beat poets.

Any traces of Bill Morgan (the author) are almost non-existent in the well documented narrative, instead going to painstaking lengths to keep it as textbook as possible. It is like reading one of their journals of the time, pure historical journalism.

Author Profile:
Bill Morgan is a writer and archival consultant who was written and edited dozens of books on the Beat writers, including the acclaimed biography, I Celebrate Myself: The Somewhat Private Life of Allen Ginsberg. In addition, he has served as the archival consultant for nearly every member of the Beat Generation. (from the ARC)

Rating: 5 stars/6 stars

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

Sean and Michelle


Tales of Whimsy said...

Cool review. I love this title.

Rachel said...

Sounds really interesting, I have always been fascinated by the Beat writers. Thanks for the review!