This is the authoritative biography of writer, poet, and beat generation icon Jack Kerouac (1922-1969), whose novel On the Road catapulted him to the forefront of the literary world and influenced budding writers for generations to come.
A legendary figure in the landscape of American literature, Kerouac lived a turbulent life, one more intimately connected to his literary output than perhaps any other writer. Restless traveler, alcoholic, dissolute but devoted Catholic, and genius, Kerouac lived hard with his compatriots of the beat movement—William Burroughs, Gregory Corso, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Allen Ginsberg, and Neal Cassady. With them, he created a new type of American literature as well as an enduring literary mythology.
Kerouac: The Definitive Biography recounts in gripping detail the story of this exceptional life and the key relationships that affected Kerouac's development as an artist, including those with his three wives, numerous girlfriends, and beloved mother.
Most important, Kerouac is the first biography based wholly on the vast array of primary source materials contemporary to the events described—letters, postcards, diaries, journals, notebooks, newspaper and magazine articles, legal documents, and television and audio transcripts—sources that provide an unparalleled view of the intimate thoughts and everyday world of Kerouac.
Paul Maher Jr. is an independent scholar working on a biography of Henry David Thoreau and a study of Jack Kerouac in the 1940s. Maher lives in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, with his wife, Tina, and two girls, Chloe and Rachel.