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On the Road [Paperback]

Jack Kerouac
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (493 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 1 1976
On the Road chronicles Jack Kerouac's years traveling the North American continent with his friend Neal Cassady, "a sideburned hero of the snowy West." As "Sal Paradise" and "Dean Moriarty," the two roam the country in a quest for self-knowledge and experience. Kerouac's love of America, his compassion for humanity, and his sense of language as jazz combine to make On the Road an inspirational work of lasting importance.

Kerouac’s classic novel of freedom and longing defined what it meant to be “Beat” and has inspired every generation since its initial publication more than fifty years ago.

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From Amazon

On The Road, the most famous of Jack Kerouac's works, is not only the soul of the Beat movement and literature, but one of the most important novels of the century. Like nearly all of Kerouac's writing, On The Road is thinly fictionalized autobiography, filled with a cast made of Kerouac's real life friends, lovers, and fellow travelers. Narrated by Sal Paradise, one of Kerouac's alter-egos, On the Road is a cross-country bohemian odyssey that not only influenced writing in the years since its 1957 publication but penetrated into the deepest levels of American thought and culture.

From Publishers Weekly

In introducing the fabled first draft of Kerouac's autobiographical novel-written on a single giant roll of paper, without breaks in the text, in an amphetamine-fueled marathon-editor Howard Cunnell refers to Allen Ginsberg's claim that "the published novel is not at all like the wild book Kerouac typed in '51." Characters are identified by their real names (rather than the 1957 version's apt pseudonyms) and their love affairs are more explicit, giving the book a juicy memoir-like feel, especially where Cassady and Ginsberg are concerned. The plot, however, is identical. Neal Cassady joins Kerouac and Ginsberg's bohemian circle in New York in the late 1940's, and inspires and cons them into traveling around the country, "searching for a lost inheritance, for fathers, for family, for home, even for America." The death of Kerouac's father plays a larger role in the story than in the 1957 version; and Justin W. Brierly, a teacher who served as mentor to Cassady and has a cameo in the published book, makes a series of recurring appearances in the scroll. The lack of paragraphs or chapters emphasizes the breathless intensity of Kerouac's prose. The anniversary publicity will introduce this classic to a new generation of readers, and while the scroll probably won't displace the novel's more familiar, polished incarnation, it will be of keen interest to beat aficionados and scholars.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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I first met Dean not long after my wife and I split up. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Too much meandering June 5 2004
By A Customer
I read this book because a friend said it was her favorite book. About a hundred pages in I was completely bored, and I was only able to finish it through sheer will power. Only a few gems of insight into the human character are scattered throughout an endless stream of "and then, and then, and then" escapades. I did not relate to anyone in the book; characters are restless, aimless, without direction, eager to go somewhere just for the sake of going, unable to commit to anything or anyone, including each other, always sure that the best thing is just around the bend. They're like kids in an amusement park who want to ride everything, but shortly after they get in line for one ride, they decide to get in line for another ride, and they repeat this until the park is closed. So I felt little sympathy for them when they would inevitably find themselves down and out somewhere, wondering why they hadn't arrived at the mirage, and wondering which mirage to chase next.
My personality is just not at all suited to this kind of aimless wandering.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Follow the dotted line . . . Oct. 6 2006
This book first appeared in 1957---I read it in 1976, and have now re-read it in 2006. Strange, but it holds up well, yet is dated. A time capsule really, this is a throw back to the "beat" days and a first stab at autobiography. Sald Paradis sis the narrator of this journey, and it covers everything from reform school to hitchhiking. Full of beautiful and disturbing "music" this has now become a classic. So many writers can be connected with Jack K., and certainly Salinger's "Holden" comes to mind with his wacy takes on life and his own "journey." Must also recommend the excellent novel, "Katzenjammer" by Jackson McCrae, for another excellent book.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars canadians ripped off Aug. 21 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
I am fortunate enough to live in the USA for part of the year, and thus have an account with Amazon.com.
I purchased the book "On The Road" for 3.99 (kindle edition) and see that it is sold for 13.99 on the Canadian site.
What is the justification for this unfair pricing?? Not to mention, there is NO tax charged on books on the .com site!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good stuff April 11 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Yeah, y'know, good book, good quality, cheap, what more do you want. I'd buy again. Might buy it for a friend. Absolute must read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Real Adventures of America Jan. 22 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The first psychedelic book. Required reading for any serious student of the world. One of the great books of all time.
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Jack Kerouac wrote this novel about several escapades he took across the country in the late 1940's. He used characters from his real life, such as Allen Ginsburg the poet and author; and Neal Cassidy, Kerouac's idol, and changed their names to use in the story.
In "On The Road", Sal Paradise(Kerouac), a young writer from New York City, ventures to cities around the country, staying with old friends, making new friends, and doing everything he can to stay alive and move on. His mentor and friend, Dean Moriarty(Neal Cassidy), often travels with Sal, always talking, laughing, and being his insane self. Now let's stop and take a brief look at the fascinating life of Dean Moriarty: Throughout the story, Dean plays several different women, has 3 wives and 4 children, half of whom he can't account for ever meeting. He was born in Salt Lake City, and grew up going to reform schools and jail. Dean was an infamous hustler in Texas and Denver who was always stealing cars and money, but never for more then $10 or just when he needed a quick ride. He was insane, always laughing and having a great time, and always getting the most he could out of life. Sal and Dean experienced some great high's and low's of travelling together, seeing such cities as Chicago, Denver, San Francisco, and Mexico City. Throughout the book you get to know the fascinating personalities of Sal, Dean, and several other characters.
Just as important as the story and the characters is the STYLE in which the book is written; it's this style, which gives the book its vibrant, breathless, spontaneous intensity. And, yes, this is where the book really earns its legendary status, because few other books are able to convey the exhilaration and excitement and fun of a mad attempt to "seize the day.
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5.0 out of 5 stars True yesterday, true today, true tomorrow May 9 2005
Sal Paradise is a writer just like Kerouac who decides to 'see America'. He hitches rides, washes dishes, works on farms, sleeps on floors and under the stars, experiencing new flavors of life and meeting different kinds of people he never thought existed. It is a kaleidoscopic journey across this country, not some plastic trip on flying tin cans, staying in gaudy hotels, hobnobbing with phony people and walking through tourist traps in line with the flock. He meets other writers just like himself coming and going 'On The Road' who convey their own experiences and enrich Sal's ever more in the process.
The conflict comes in the figure of Dean Moriarty, a hustler and con man who the beatniks first embrace as one of their own, but eventually identify for what he is after patterns begin to emerge in his relationships with his peers. Sal at first sees Dean as a hero, a role model, but slowly grows disillusioned with broken promises, threadbare lies, irresponsible behavior, and eventual deceit and betrayal. The whole story is focused on Sal and Dean, and just as the two go off on a tangent down into Mexico and on into Central America, it seems analogous as to how Sal's vision become blurred and misdirected in following an agenda he mistakenly believes to be his own.
This is probably the best book written on the Beat Generation, capturing the essence of the times and the spirit that established what became the underground culture of America. Teens and young adults having trouble articulating their deepest feelings may find that Kerouac did it for them almost a half century ago. Don't miss it! Along with this great novel, I'd also like to recommend, "THE LOSERS' CLUB: Complete Restored Edition" by Richard Perez
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars On the Road again and again
Read this book a number of times now, lost count. Kerouac is an inspriational and creative writer. This book always drives me manic, like Ive got to move move move, man. Read it.
Published 14 months ago by Benjamin P. Roundell
4.0 out of 5 stars On the Road
The book was banged up a bit, but for the dollar that I paid for it, I received exceptional value.

As for the book itself, I am pleased that I finally got around to... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Andrew Raczynski
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast Paced, Stream of Consciousness Writing, Fantastic!
"The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a... Read more
Published on March 12 2009 by James Gallen
5.0 out of 5 stars Excitement
I'm not sure whether I'm reading truth or fiction. The feeling of being out on the road is intense and personal. The writing is absorbing and complex. Read more
Published on June 10 2008 by JR
5.0 out of 5 stars Dillon Does it...
I picked this up second-hand a while ago, and just got around to listening to it. Although it helps that I had already read the book several times, Matt Dillon's reading of it... Read more
Published on Dec 31 2005 by Kerouacky
5.0 out of 5 stars True yesterday, true today, true tomorrow
Sal Paradise is a writer just like Kerouac who decides to 'see America'. He hitches rides, washes dishes, works on farms, sleeps on floors and under the stars, experiencing new... Read more
Published on June 23 2005 by Tomra Dale
5.0 out of 5 stars Bygone era
This book depicts genuine counter-culture before rebellion was mass marketed and served up as cookie cutter corporate leech fodder.
Published on July 19 2004
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