Immortalized as Dean Moriarty by Jack Kerouac in his epic novel, On the Road, Neal Cassady was infamous for his unstoppable energy and his overwhelming charm, his savvy hustle and his devil-may-care attitude. A treasured friend and traveling companion of Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, and Ken Kesey, to name just some of his cohorts on the beatnik path, Cassady lived life to the fullest, ready for inspiration at any turn.
Before he died in Mexico in 1968, just four days shy of his 42nd birthday, Cassady had written the jacket blurb for this book: "Seldom has there been a story of a man so balled up. No doubt many readers will not believe the veracity of the author, but I assure these doubting Thomases that every incident, as such, is true."
As Ferlingetti writes in his editor's note, Cassady was "an early prototype of the urban cowboy who a hundred years ago might have been an outlaw on the range." Here are his autobiographical writings, the rambling American saga of a truly free individual.
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Where would we be without Neal Cassady?
Where would we be without Neal Cassady? There would be no "On the Road,” "One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” “Electric Kool Aid Acid Test,” or "Fear and Loathing."
There had never been a muse like Cassady in American literature, never. This is his story. This is his family.
TIP: Start on Audio Chapter #3, the first two chapters are others talking about the book. I like to start right with *his* voice.
Neal Cassady's legendary charisma comes through in every line.This is his only published book. It’s a story of depression era squalor that will stick in the craw of every person shouting "Make America great again," Cassady spins a tale for the ages. If you haven't heard this, your Beat education is incomplete.
By family background, Neal was an Okie before his wild days in Denver, San Francisco, or working the California rails. Luke Daniels' narration captures his Western voice spot-on.
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- Dirk Nel
Terrible story with irritating narrator. Wouldn't recommend the book unless you are a die-hard Neal Cassady fan.