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1. The First Third
2. Collected Letters, 1944-1967
3. Neal Cassady: The Fast Life of
4. The Holy Goof: A Biography of
5. Off the Road: My Years With Cassady,
6. Heart Beat: My Life With Jack
8. Grace Beats Karma: Letters from
10. The Holy Goof: A Biography of
11. First Third: A Partial Autobiography
12. Neal Cassady-a Biography, Vol.
13. As Ever: The Collected Correspondence
14. Neal Cassady: Volume One 1926-1940.
15. The Visions of the Great Rememberer
16. Biography - Cassady, Neal (1926-1968):
17. Ken Kesey's Garage Sale Featuring
18. Neal Cassady A Biography Volume
19. The visions of the Great Rememberer:
20. Neal Cassady: Beat Generation,

1. The First Third
by Neal Cassady
Paperback: 222 Pages (2001-01-01)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$7.68
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0872860051
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description

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 forty-second 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.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (17)

5-0 out of 5 stars fascinating look at Neal Cassady's life
First, nobody ever said Cassady was a great writer. Ginsberg and Kerouac were great writers. Cassady was one of their main inspirations. Mostly Neal Cassady inspired people in real life. If you read any of Bill Morgan's books about the Beats you'll see how strongly Cassady effected them. The First Third is a great book to learn about Cassady. And his writing style is interesting though not great. It's a little late to pick at his writing like a menopausal schoolmarm. Learn more about Cassady in order to learn more about the Beats.

1-0 out of 5 stars For Die-Hards Only
As a reader who came to this book from a curiosity about Neal Cassady the person, I was disapointed to say the least. It's ironic that the book that offers the least insight into the workings of Neal Cassady's mind would be his own autobiography. I can't say very much about his prose either--his letters, if anything, capture the best of his essence for posterity. Perhaps Neal was just too pragmatic before a daunting typewriter and the task of recording his life--he is too chronological and spends too much time on his family tree, which is not fascinating enough to warrant it.The book, which reads more like a school paper, ends with Neal still a child. He should have started with "The Third Third" and worked backwards.

4-0 out of 5 stars To Short
I recieved a copy of this in the mail about a week ago and I read it in about 2 days. I thought the opening parts about Neal's geneology were well written and the parts of his own life were interesting enough, but there is not alot of character development in this. Neal's letters to Kerouac and Kesey give some insight to his personality. This book is worthy reading for any Kerouac fan and anyone interested in learning more about Cassady that hasn't already been recorded by Kerouac, Kesey, Wolfe, etc..
I finished the book wishing there were more and feeling a bit saddened that anyone who could inspire as many people as Neal did should die alone in a foreign country so far from his friends.
I think had he lived he would have eventually mellowed with age and provided us with a greater insight in the freedom of the open road as well as the appreciation for the simplier things in life a man aquires after much hard travelling in search of the American night.

2-0 out of 5 stars The Pen Was Just Too Slow For Neal Cassady
A few chosen people are meant to be artists. Of the artists, there are painters: others sculptors, musicians, poets or writers.For some, like Neal Cassady, their medium was Being.

Although a muse for the likes of Ginsberg, Kerouac, and Ferlingetti, and in many ways the adrenaline to the Beat Generation, Cassady was not a writer.Writing wasn't Neal's gig.Perhaps the pen was too slow for him; the medium just couldn't convey his essence. Rather Neal was a live show. It seems cruel to find him trapped on paper - like watching a tiger at the zoo, the wild drained off through those all confining bars.

The first few chapters of The First Third are slow and seem forced.However, the vibe changes drastically once Neal's family tree is throughly discussed.It's as if Cassady has quit the pretentious wordplay and dictated thoughts to paper, which give the remainder of the book a much more genuine feel.

The most enlightening segment of the book is the select correspondence between Neal, Jack Kerouac, Ken Kesey and others. It provides an insight into Neal that is raw, unedited and seems a much more accurate description than Cassady's own attempt at biography.

1-0 out of 5 stars Bukowski said it better
The Beat-Ups had an unrealistic romantic notion of the heartland and the sticks. They slummed their way through America and insisted that everyone else share their own infantilism, incredulity and narcissism. Bukowski, rather, tells it like it is without any literary pretensions and pleading for understanding. On the Road and other such stuff is useful as a historical document of pre-interstate road travel, and not much else.

Beat-Ups should grow up, get a job and pay the rent.

I heartily advise you all to read Ham on Rye and Post Office. This will give you an insight into real America. ... Read more

2. Collected Letters, 1944-1967
by Neal Cassady
Paperback: 512 Pages (2005-01-25)
list price: US$20.00 -- used & new: US$10.84
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Asin: 0142002178
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Neal Cassady is best remembered today as Jack Kerouac’s muse and the basis for the character "Dean Moriarty" in Kerouac’s classic On The Road, and as one of Ken Kesey’s merriest of Merry Pranksters, the driver of the psychedelic bus "Further," immortalized in Tom Wolfe’s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. This collection brings together more than two hundred letters to Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, John Clellon Holmes, and other Beat generation luminaries, as well as correspondence between Neal and his wife, Carolyn. These amazing letters cover Cassady’s life between the ages of 18 and 41 and finish just months before his death in February 1968. Brilliantly edited by Dave Moore, this unique collection presents the "Soul of the Beat Generation" in his own words—sometimes touching and tender, sometimes bawdy and hilarious.Here is the real Neal Cassady—raw and uncut. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars Awesome Book
I really like the Beats and Neal was at crest of the wave. This book offers a ton of great insight into the man and his thoughts. The reader walks away from this novel feeling as though he'd been introduced to more of the real Cassady than he's ever seen before.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Modern Muse
The first thing that surprised me about these letters was how fine Cassady's vocabulary was; and how well-read he was.The letters really show why he was such a profound influence on Kerouac and Ginsberg.Also, these letters weren't written to be published, so they are unforced and natural.How about that sexual exploit on page 77?My goodness!Can we, in the year 2006, forgive Neil's use of the "N" word in the year 1948...in much the same way as Mark Twain's use of that word?I guess that's up to each reader to decide. Anyway, I find this book to be a superlative example of a modern muse in action.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Beat Hero In His Own Words (for once)
Neal Cassady was, for most of his adult life, a prolific writer, spreading his hep words to the likes of Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Bill Burroughs, and other beat writers who used Neal as the star of many of their works (especially K). Cassady is a born storyteller, as is evidenced by his energetic and exciting letters; however, it becomes evident that he is not a born writer, and as exciting as his letters are, they say quite little. Regardless, it is obvious how Cassady became a new archetype of American modern literature, and fans of the Beats would be remiss not to check out this wee tome. Note that after his imprisonment for distributing "tea" the volume drops off considerably. Was it prison, life or LSD that lessened the latent genius' writing? We'll never know.

3-0 out of 5 stars A mediocre book about a fascinating character
Jack Kerouac is a great writer, who wrote some great books.Neal Cassady is the energetic, life-filled hero of many of them, including "On the Road," in which Neal is represented as "Dean Moriarty."
Tom Wolfe is another great writer, who wrote the amazing "Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test," in which Neal is also a prominent character, this time the driver of a psychedelic busful of hippies.
In these books, and in others, Neal Cassady stands out distinctly as a fascinating character worthy of study--a man with an almost bottomless manic energy, the sex drive of a large crowd, and a penchant for joyriding in stolen cars.
This book here, however, goes a little deeper, is a little more personal, and as a result, damages many of the romantic illusions that have been built around his character.
This is Neal's life in his own words, in words from letters meant only for his friends and lovers and family, not for the public.There is some dishonesty here, but still it's very intimate, and very disclosing.
This book shows the sides of Neal that were often downplayed in books about him, sides that would have made him a much less sympathetic character: the neglectful way he treated and cast aside his wives and children, the almost psychopathic detachment from the crimes he committed and the women he used, the anger and the bitterness over his lot in life, the general disloyalty, the pathetically unsuccessful attempts at trying to be a writer, and the transparent tries to make his often empty life seem more significant than it was and his often horrible choices seem less like choices and more like fate.
All that would be fine however, if he had only been a better writer.As it is, the book is still a fairly compelling read that will keep you turning the pages and keep you interested.But the writing is typical.Average.Drug-addled.Bland.
He never had the discpline to cultivate what talent he may have had, and it shows.
This is a book to read to acquaint yourself better with Neal Cassady the character...if you want to.Unfortunately, along the way, you'll have to get a bit involved with Neal Cassady the writer.
He's certainly no Kerouac, even if he did help to inspire his style.

5-0 out of 5 stars Cassady fans rejoice!
Neal Cassady fans rejoice! This is the book you've been waiting a long, long time for. If Neal has captured your imagination (he's certainly captured mine) surely you've been frustrated about how little information there is about him. Yes, he's Dean Moriarty, Cody Pomeray, Speed Limit, and Cowboy Neal. He even wrote an (labored, as you'll discover) autobiography, "First Third". But, in a way, none of it prepares you for these collected letters because it's within them that we get to see the many sides of the Neal Cassady legend, primarily in his own words.

The two aspects I enjoyed most about this book were his hopes to be a family man and his desire to be an author, favorite aspects I suppose because that's not how I saw him previously. He tried hard to be a good husband and father but his muse wouldn't let him. And in these letters you see the creative, free-wheeling writing ability he was capable of but just couldn't get together in book form. Kerouac credits Neal for inspiring the style he'd develope for "On the Road" and on, and throughout the 50's encourages him to continue his writing.

The bulk of this collection dates before 1957, before the publication of "On the Road" and the whole beat sensation. In that regard it's very special to have the inside look at these letters which at the time of their composition no one would have had the faintest clue would be published. These are letters between friends, aspiring artists and lovers when there was no email and long distance phone calls were a luxury. Neal's writing was sometimes pedestrian but at other times it would soar, making clear why Ginsburg, Kerouac, etc argued he was the greatest writer of the group.

The editor Dave Moore does a wonderful job bringing continuity to the letters with his commentary throughout the book. He connects the dots where needed providing necessary back-story in an unabtrusive manner.

One complaint I do have about the book is that during the 60's the quantity of letters seriously drops off. He wrote less and less or the letters are lost or both, but it does leave a hole in Neal's story. As a result we miss out, in his words, on his life as he transitions from the beat generation to the hippie generation.

I have come to some new conclusions of my own about Neal, as will any reader. There is room for more writing on this most facsinating subject (esp his life in the 60's--why, he even lived with the Grateful Dead at their famed 710 Ashbury residence during the Haight's blossoming) but "Selected Letters" fills a huge void. ... Read more

3. Neal Cassady: The Fast Life of a Beat Hero
by David Sandison, Graham Vickers
Hardcover: 368 Pages (2006-09-01)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$15.10
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1556526156
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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This fascinating and in-depth biography of Neal Cassady takes a look at the man who achieved immortality as Dean Moriarty, the central character in Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. A charismatic, funny, articulate, and formidably intelligent man, Cassady was also a compulsive womanizer who lived life on the edge. His naturalistic, conversational writing style inspired Kerouac, who lifted a number of passages verbatim and uncredited from Cassady’s letters for significant episodes in On the Road. Drawing on a wealth of new research and with full cooperation from central figures in his life—including Carolyn Cassady and Ken Kesey—this account captures Cassady’s unique blend of inspired lunacy and deep spirituality.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars neal cassady the fast life of a beat hero
excellent book for those in the know, much better than the slight previous attempt, accessed here:The Holy Goof: A Biography of Neal Cassady,which, though modest is not unrecommended. this new biography is based heavily on a privately printed work, the first volume of which is here:Neal Cassady: Volume One 1926-1940.Neal Cassady A Biography Volume One 1926 - 1940. also recommended are neal's 3 volumes of letters, and his wife carolyn's memoirs. an excellent website is here: [...]

3-0 out of 5 stars "Just the Facts" doesn't make a full biography.
How fitting that Neal's biographer be a man who took-up writing the book with second thoughts, almost unwillingly as a favor to a friend (mentioned in the foreword). As in life, so in death Neal is an orphan. From chapter one, which begins with "a correction", Neal is sent to a correctional institution, i.e. this book.Nothing Neal does, not even being born, agrees with the author. In short the book is a hatchet job; the author is determined to deflate the Cassady legend; Neal is a sometimes entertaining con-man; and Kerouac and Kesey were his fools.

That Neal might have symbolized America in some way, at least in a cultural context, rarely enters the author's mind. Like James Dean, Neal drove fast, lived high, and died young.Also like Dean, he entered the pantheon of cultural heroes and stood for a time and place.He died giving birth to the counter-cultural 60s. Neal Cassady influenced Jack Kerouac, Allan Ginsberg and Ken Kesey, the three authors most responsible for "The 60s" as we know them.Known by Kesey as "The Fastest Man Alive", he was also arguably the hippest white person alive in the late 40s and early 50s.

But little of that gets into this book; the author instead paints his portrait of Neal from the viewpoint of Neal's long-suffering wife Carolyn, whom Neal took for granted.Neal was a man who never should have married; he'd been "raised" by an alcoholic hobo of a father; thus he had no model of what a home should be. He'd made a stab at home-life. After many false starts, he married, had kids and got a job on the Southern Pacific Railroad.But a bust and stretch in San Quentin prison over three sticks of marijuana blew all that away.

One of the few interesting facts brought out in the book is Neal's apparent manic-depression which many fans of On the Road had intuited about Neal. Bursts of wild abandon and cross-country high-speed driving (he was a skilled driver who could do anything with a car, but put many people's lives in danger), would alternate with bouts of depression and attempts at suicide.The author is never in doubt about Neal; the book is an indictment of Cassady, who was no doubt an impulsive con-man, as Kerouac's "On the Road" takes pains to point out. But he was also in love with culture, both high and low. One of the authors biggest beefs against Neal is that he never wrote a book, but "On the Road" is very much indebted to Neal's letters, both in style and substance; Neal was at least 50% the real author of "On the Road", as well as it's protagonist. Kerouac implies as much in his last line of the book.

This book does fill in a lot of facts in Neal's life for the record, which makes the book a worth-while read for real fans, but out of all the great photos of Neal, the one used for the cover makes him look like a deranged killer. Neal was "guilty as charged", but there's so much more to the story, such as his writing and his deep love of music and literature, which are only mentioned in passing. Neal's only real monument will continue to be "On the Road" and his amazing letters, which are published in another book.

3-0 out of 5 stars Neal Cassady
Cassady was a guy I was aware of who he was but I had no idea of what it is he actually did in life other than the main character in Kerouacs On the Road was supposed to have been based on him and that he hung out with all the famous beat writers, Ken Kesey and the Grateful Dead. I'm still not exactly sure what it is he did other than use his life as an example to the people mentioned. He certainly didn't write anything of note. The biggest surprise to me was he was a fanatical follower of Edgar Cayce.

Starting with his screwed up but adventerous childhood it covers Cassadys lifes adventures. However I don't know if it truly captured what it was like to be around the guy or whatever it was was that was so special about him. An interesting point was made at the end of the book that there were lots of people that led wild reckless lives like Cassady did but they never rubbed elbows with the literary crowd from Columbia University so therefore were never mytholygized the way Cassady was. This was an interesting enough read, although its probably only worth your trouble if you already have an interest in Cassady or the beat writers.

5-0 out of 5 stars Demythologizing the Myth
A comprehensive portrait of a Beat Generation Legend that attempts to demythologize the cornucopia of myths swirling around Neal Cassady. However, his life makes such an interesting read that it remains mythological.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Good Biography
This book is for fans of Beat Writers....or those interested in Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters. This is a comprehensive and well researched and written biography on Neal Cassady, a buddy and inspiration to Jack Kerouac. ( Neal was Dean Moriarity in On the Road) as well as the driver on Kesey's bus trip to New York and a key figure in Kesey's Merry Pranksters. The authors' make the point ( which Kerouac also espoused) that Neal's ecstatic and uncensored letter writing style greatly influenced Kerouac's switch to spontaneous writing following his publication of The Town and the City (Kerouac's first Wolfian styled book) and resulted in what eventually became On the Road....with Kerouac's and Cassady's adventures being the central part of the book. Neal, at Jack's urging to be a writer, struggled to be a writer of novels and of consequence...but outside of letters, some quite long, and a book titled the First Third, nothing ever great came from Neal's writing. So he served as an inspiration to Kerouac and those he encountered especially Kesey..Neal's great myth was based on his amazing mind and his physical presence in the world. His was a high energy and at times a tortured life. This book seems like a balanced telling of Neal's life and is consistent with some of the people who I have interviewed who knew Neal...I could question a couple minor points but they really don't belong in this general review nor are critical to the overall thrust of the book....It's amazing this book was completed by two authors, one dying before the book was completed, because the writing style remains consistent through out. If this is a topic area you are interested in, this is a book worth reading...well done. ... Read more

4. The Holy Goof: A Biography of Neal Cassady
by William Plummer
Paperback: 176 Pages (2004-03-29)
list price: US$13.95 -- used & new: US$7.62
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1560256044
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Criminal ... Saint ... Lunatic ... Genius ... Muse .... Once described by Jack Kerouac as "more like Dostoevsky than anyone I know," Neal Cassady lived what others could only write about. Serving as the model for Kerouac's frenetic hero, the hip, Noble Savage Dean Moriarty in On the Road, and "N.C., the secret hero" of Allen Ginsberg's provocative poem "Howl," Cassady was a genius of life lived on the edge of the abyss. Now, William Plummer strips away the mystery surrounding this enigmatic figure. Plummer brings Cassady to life: his coming of age in a Denver flophouse, his hustling across America, the car thefts that landed him in jail, his meeting with Kerouac and their mad-cap cross-country adventures, his experiments with sex and drugs, his second marriage to Carolyn Cassady, his teaming with Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters on an epochal acid trip, and finally his bizarre death. Black-and-white photographs add to this engrossing biography of an outrageous but fascinating life. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

3-0 out of 5 stars Dean Moriarty Revealed????
Neil Cassady acted on the periphery of the Beat movement for much of his adult life and thus never enjoyed the fame that Kerouac, Ginsberg, Burroughs, and his other contemporaries did.His written legacy is primarily the correspondence that he wrote to members of his inner circle as well as a fragmentary autobiography.And yet, in many ways, Cassady lived the Beat life that most of his renowned friends only wrote about or experienced cyclically.The author refers to him as a "natural psychopath" who didn't possess the ability to abstain from hedonism.Contrariwise, he was one of the few Beats to lead something of a "traditional" home life.Namely, he held down a job with the railroad as brakeman for ten years, married, and raised a family.

The author of the present biography, William Plummer, does a reasonable job of recounting Cassady's life.He takes us through Cassady's birth on the side of a road, the turbulent years as a child prior to his parents' divorce, his adolescence in a flophouse, numerous criminal activities, various sexual encounters (men and women), efforts made towards self-improvement, a multitude of travels (of course!), a legion of marginal jobs, marriages, time with the Merry Pranksters, and, finally, death just a few days shy of his 42nd birthday.Whew!As I read the book, I couldn't help but be reminded of Jim Morrison of the Doors.It has been written that Morrison was a big fan of "On the Road" and identified particularly with the character of Dean Moriarty.Much of Morrison's antics seem to be intentionally or unintentionally inspired by Cassady/Moriarty.While in San Quentin, Cassady said "I just want to write by myself.I'd like to retire to a little house and write, just to cultivate myself.It would be just like working in a garden--cultivate myself and cultivate the garden......"In a 1970 interview with Salli Stevenson, Morrison said "If I had it to do over again, I think I would have...a...a..gone more for the...a...quiet...a...undemonstrative little artist plodding away in his own garden trip."Sound familiar?I think both men would have been interesting acquaintances, but exasperating friends.

While basic aspects of Cassady's life are conveyed, Mr. Plummer does tend to show a certain unbridled enthusiasm towards his subject.We are told that Cassady had some psychic gifts and that he could, on occasion, answer questions that he "picked up telepathically."The author feels no need to provide any proof of such assertions other than the rather dubious hearsay evidence of a few acquaintances.This, along with a certain thread of affinity that runs throughout the book, leads one to believe that the author has set aside objectivity.Thus, caveat lector.In the end, I think this biography would be instructive to someone with no knowledge of Cassady and his cohorts, but the reader would be advised to look elsewhere for deeper insight into the man and his times.

5-0 out of 5 stars Worth your Time Assuredly
A Good Biography of an Interesting man {the muse of On the Road} Very Descriptive this book also covers Allen Ginsberg.Jack Keroauc,William Burroughs, and Several Other people of the Scene to a lesser extent.Very Informative and Engaging.

5-0 out of 5 stars Worth your Time Assuredly
A Good Biography of an Interesting man {the muse of On the Road} Very Descriptive this book also covers Allen Ginsberg.Jack Keroauc,William Burroughs, and Several Other people of the Scene to a lesser extent.Very Informative and Engaging.

3-0 out of 5 stars fastestmanalive
If you've ever read the Electric Kool Aid Acid Test then it would be hard for younot to remember the fastestmanalive. He was a wildman that crossed from the Beat generation (he was Moriarity in Kerouac's On the Road) to the first inklings of the hippie generation. He also died before his time. Maybe he lived longer than anyone thought. This book was fun. Most of the characters from this period crack me up. However, sometimes this read like a fan book. Although I don't know why he needs fans. But if you are interested in the 60s (yeah!) then this is one more thing that you will get a nostalgic kick out of.

3-0 out of 5 stars An Unbiased Reflection
Neal Cassady is a man both revered and despised. This book, which anyone interested in the given time period should read, gives an unbiased look at Neal (the Holy Goof and fastestmanalive) and the people who surrounded him: his family, lovers, and friends (Jack Keruoac, Ken Kesey, Allen Ginsberg, etc). It neither praises nor degrades him, presenting him merely as a remarkable man and letting you decide for yourself. ... Read more

5. Off the Road: My Years With Cassady, Kerouac, and Ginsberg
by Carolyn Cassady
 Hardcover: 436 Pages (1990-06)
list price: US$22.95 -- used & new: US$18.54
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0688088910
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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The intimate story of Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady written by the woman who loved them both. Off the Road is not only Carolyn Cassady's poignant account of their stormy love triangle, but a lively and accurate portrait of the Beat generation. Includes previously unpublished letters, photographs, and drawings from the author's private collection. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (13)

4-0 out of 5 stars And what a road?
The flipside of "On the Road." The wife of Neal Cassady gives a true portrait of what life must have really been like with the Beats. She documents all of this well, with letters from Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and etc. She is truly suffering for her man and yet, still maintaining a family life. After Neal got tired of the road he always had a home to come back to, thanks to Carolyn. She was the real hero of the Beats, providing a backbone, base and support for their efforts. Always suffering due to Neal's affairs and drug abuse, she was a heroine before Women's Liberation became the norm. She shows that the Beat life was not all the good times and Merry Prankstering and travel, that the other books of that generation portrays. There is a sleaziness to Neal at times, always using people for his benefit and yet there is the wonderful loving father always giving attention to his children. A great look into both sides of a generation that generally gets only one view.

1-0 out of 5 stars Carolyn cashes in
Years after Carolyn divorced Neal Cassady she writes a book that criticizes Neal ad nauseum.There's not a thing written about Neal by Carolyn that indicates why she married him.According to Carolyn, Neal didn't have anything going for him.I read one of the books that contains Neal's letters from jail to Carolyn and he sounded like a man with wit, humor and a great attitude considering what he went through during his early years.Carolyn pathetically drones on about what a terrible husband, lover, whatever he was to her.It is poorly written, down right boring, and a completely useless waste of time - hers for writing this.What was her point exactly?It almost seems as if she is jealous that her ex-husband was so popular.Is she trying to bash him to lower him in the eyes of his fans, or just trying to make money off his name?There's a lot of erroneous facts in the book.She couldn't even be bothered to check the proper name of Neal's mother.If you want to read about Neal's life, this book is not where you want to start.Try "The First Third."By pass this one completely.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not bad overview
This book is all right, I must say that I enjoy the fact that Carolyn owns up to her own faults, such as her jealousy and such.I think that it is easy to judge her from 50 years down the line because so much has changed socially.She fell in love with Cassady at a time where women didn't just get up and leave their men if they were cheated on.Divorce was not as common as it is now.The women of the beat generation lived life on the edge of suburbanism.Most of them found themselves in the unusual and yet somehow liberating situation of being the primary breadwinner.I found Carolyn Cassady's biography to be an interesting account of an intelligent and talented woman who walked the line between her own more old fashioned sense of morality and the life Neal Cassady introduced her to.She mostly seemed to want his friends to go away.I think that he still would have been as wild if they did go away, he would have just found new friends.I don't blame her bitter attitude toward a lot of his friends though.It is a frustrating experience when someone's friends see only the party side of them and don't see what it does to the person's family.

Carolyn did, unfortunately, hang tight for a while to her belief that she could hold onto her husband.Hard to say if her version of their relationship is accurate or not.I do believe her account of what happened, but I also believe that he was a smooth talking guy who probably had similar conversations with his other two wives as well as all those other women.This obviously has to be a biased book, it involves the woman's marriage, I should not expect her to be able to look at things too objectively.

I guess the reason I call this book only "all right" is in part for selfish reasons (I like Neal Cassady, I like Allen Ginsberg, I like the Grateful Dead, I like Ken Kesey), the same things I appreciate about the book, such as her bitterness and jealousy, are the same things that kept me from fully enjoying it.The other reason I call this book merely "all right" is because Carolyn is not a writer.Joyce Johnson's memoir "Minor Characters" blows Cassady out of the water.While Cassady's life seems to have revolved around her husband, Johnson's somewhat brief affair with Kerouac is not her only claim to fame.She is an author in her own right and quite a good one.So Cassady's book reads more like a biography and Johnson's more like a novel.Which is all right.But still kept the book from being the sort of thing I would reread over and over.

And for the record, to respond to someone's questions about the author's facts - I don't believe Carolyn states that Kerouac died on Oct. 31, but rather that is when she found out about it.Also, he did not die on the 20th, but rather the 21st.

4-0 out of 5 stars great portrait of cassady and kerouac
As great as the Beat fiction is, and life-changing as On the Road is, we get too caught up with the fictitive personas of the Beats. It's nice to see the side of Kerouac, Cassady, and Ginsberg that didn't make it into the novels. I'm sure Carolyn's viewpoint is skewed a little, but so is what we read in On the Road. Between her work and their work we can get a picture of what they were like, not as legends, but as men.

There are times when Carolyn bogs down with too much detail, or too much whining, or patches that just aren't great writing, but all in all it is a good biography, autobiography, and novel.

If you want to know more, here is a good place to start, along with these books, though you probably have read them by now: Kerouac's On the Road and The Dharma Bums; Cassady's The First Third; Perry and Babb's On the Bus; Ginsberg's Howl

4-0 out of 5 stars Another Party Heard From
It was interesting hearing about Kerouac & Cassady
from a woman's point of view, especially a woman who
was so intimately connected to the dynamic duo. She
dwelt on the negative ramifications a bit too much for
my taste, but then again, these have never been really
examined in much detail prior to this books release.
For those of you who have at least a passing interest
in the beats, I would recommend this book. ... Read more

6. Heart Beat: My Life With Jack and Neal
by Carolyn Cassady
 Paperback: 100 Pages (1976-07)
list price: US$5.95
Isbn: 0916870030
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by William[Neal Cassady] Plummer
 Hardcover: Pages (1981)

Asin: B000XEQ2UU
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8. Grace Beats Karma: Letters from Prison, 1958-60
by Neal Cassady
 Hardcover: 236 Pages (1993-06)
list price: US$24.95
Isbn: 092223308X
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Not Much Else Be In The Stir Besides Self-Indulgent
Dig it, this man was RAILROADED by Johnny Law because he sold TWO joints to the Feds, getting 5 years to LIFE in San Quentin.This work is not literary, it is not meant to be a novel, it is a collection of letters by a hyper-intelligent man who lived beyond his own means, abilities, and TIME.We are not to condemn or forgive.Dig it for what it is, a man biding his time in the stir, who made up word games and fanciful, successful runs of alliteration to keep from going mad, and to connected with the outside where he was meant to be.Wouldn't You?

4-0 out of 5 stars A well needed view into the life of a counter culture hero.
Let's face it, alot is writen about Neal, but not much by Neal himself.

This book of letters to his wife while in prison is a welcome look into a deep side of a man who didn't leave us with enough of his thoughts on paper.

2-0 out of 5 stars If you're a beat scholar, maybe worth reading
This isn't worth reading unless you are a beat scholar...It isn't insightful, interesting or very creative. It is however self-indulgent and rambling. ... Read more

 Paperback: 448 Pages (1991)

Isbn: 0006544479
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Book review
This is the definitve history of the "Beat" generation as seen through the eyes of one who was there to witness it. Unflinching but poignant, it is a "must read" for any one interested in how these poets, writers and artists changed the World. Do yourself a favor and read this book...John
Allen Cassady

4-0 out of 5 stars who was using whom?
Back in my youth, when I still thought Kerouac was a god, (which rather embarrasses me now), I several times gave copies of On The Road to female acquaintances that I had met, thinking that they would be as impressed as I was. And each time the copy was promptly returned after being only partially read. I quickly learned that females tend to hate On The Road for its treatment of women, and in particular for its cavalier treatment of Dean Moriarity's wife, the real-life Carolyn Cassady. So in this book I was expecting something of a payback. Wrong. What I have learned from reading it is that she, on paper at least, was just as cavalier in her treatment of men. She continually plays Neal and Jack against each other -- okay, I can accept that -- but then plays dumbfounded when they get jealous of each other and start to bicker. She refuses to put up her house to make bail for Neal and help him pay for a decent lawyer -- again, perhaps, an understandable decision -- but then plays dumbfounded when he later harbors resentment against her after spending two years in San Quentin!!! Hello, woman, get a clue. It seems like in the end, all three of them in this triangle relationship got what they deserved. Not one of them seemed like they were out for anything but his or her self. Still, the book reads fast, and if you're already immersed in the subject, this does give some new perspectives. Though you have to wonder how accurately some of these conversations can be remembered thirty or more years after the fact.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Intriguing New Perspective on the Heroes of the Beat Generation
Engaging from the start, Carolyn Cassady's work is a poignant account of the adventurous men she loved and the women that they left behind.Though autobiographical and somewhat biographical, it reads like fiction.The content is irresistible, prompting readers to fervently turn pages.

Fans of Kerouac's On the Road will enjoy seeking similarities in the parallel plot structures, alluded to by the novels' parallel titles.Though Kerouac's account and the beginning of Cassady's work are essentially the same as far as plot is concerned, Cassady's sheds light on the previously unexplored mentalities of those who were, at times, excluded by the famous Beatniks.Hers is a new and intensely valuable perspective, which seems to complement (as well as contrast) Kerouac's own.

Her novel is a celebration of the lives of these figures and dwells only fleetingly on their deaths.At the heart of their lives is an emphasis on spiritual connections and the relationships between human beings.

Cassady's work is a thought-provoking specimen that's worth the reading of its relatively hefty total of 439 pages.

5-0 out of 5 stars New, unexpected look at Cassidy and Kerouac
My curiosity was first peaked in "Off the Road" by, as I'm sure is often the case, my earlier reading of the works by the enigmatic Jack Kerouac and my consequent desire to learn more about not only him but the legendary Neal Cassidy that I had come to know under the pseudonym "Dean Moriarty" in "On the Road".I wasn't entirely taken with the dynamic pair, knowing the havoc they wreaked on the lives of others through their dangerous adventures across the country and other reckless behaviour, but at the same time there was a glamour to their style of life that kept me intrigued.A zest for life that was infectious.A second opinion seemed necessary.
It was not quite what I expected.I was interested in the story, but I was expecting perhaps something of a rant against the injustices Carolyn had to endure.Far from it.Carolyn is a strong writer in her own respect, chronicling her adventures and misadventures with the famous characters she lived with, loved, and was justly agonizingly torn over.The narrative of the tale flows with a beauty that kept me turning pages when I least expected it (you know, 2AM with work the next morning...)Carolyn produces unbelievable insight into all of the psychologies and actions of those around her, particularly considering how long ago all the events happened, backing these musings with later actions and a massive amount of correspondence between Neal, Jack, Allen, and herself.She gives the less glamorous side of the tales that Kerouac narrated in his books, balancing that allure of the freedom granted by the open road and the kicks of drugs, women, and danger the two men loved, with the depression that both faced, the internal struggles they had to cope with, and their ultimate self-destruction.
This book gives both an intriguing and engrossing tale in its own right, but also displays just how multi-faceted these famous figures of the beat generation were; that they were not strictly road-hardened, adventure seekers, but gentle, complex, loving, paranoid, and tragic all at the same time.On the road was just one of dozens of sides of the diamond that is the tale of these famous men and women. ... Read more

10. The Holy Goof: A Biography of Neal Cassady
by Neal). PLUMMER, William (CASSADY
 Paperback: Pages (1981)

Asin: B000VAUVQM
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11. First Third: A Partial Autobiography & Other Writings
by Neal Cassady
 Paperback: Pages (1972)

Asin: B0020MUCRW
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12. Neal Cassady-a Biography, Vol. 1: 1925-1940
by Tom Christopher
 Paperback: Pages (1995-01-01)

Asin: B003R46ISY
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13. As Ever: The Collected Correspondence of Allen Ginsberg & Neal Cassady
by Allen; Cassady, Neal; Gifford, Barry (editor) Ginsberg
 Paperback: Pages (1977)

Asin: B000KCWAHY
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14. Neal Cassady: Volume One 1926-1940.
by Neal]. Christopher, Tom. [CASSADY
 Pamphlet: Pages (1995)

Asin: B000UG7B9C
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15. The Visions of the Great Rememberer With Letters by Neal Cassady
by Allen ; Cassady, Neal ; Illustrated by Basil King Ginsberg
 Paperback: Pages (1974)

Asin: B0022TM1C2
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16. Biography - Cassady, Neal (1926-1968): An article from: Contemporary Authors
by Gale Reference Team
Digital: 3 Pages (2003-01-01)
list price: US$9.95 -- used & new: US$9.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0007SAQ2M
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Editorial Review

Product Description
This digital document, covering the life and work of Neal Cassady, is an entry from Contemporary Authors, a reference volume published by Thompson Gale. The length of the entry is 749 words. The page length listed above is based on a typical 300-word page. Although the exact content of each entry from this volume can vary, typical entries include the following information:

  • Place and date of birth and death (if deceased)
  • Family members
  • Education
  • Professional associations and honors
  • Employment
  • Writings, including books and periodicals
  • A description of the author's work
  • References to further readings about the author
... Read more

17. Ken Kesey's Garage Sale Featuring 5 Hot Items with Guest Leftovers- Paul Krassner, Neal Cassady, Allen Ginsberg, Hugh Romney
 Unknown Binding: Pages (1973-01-01)

Asin: B002NGESKW
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18. Neal Cassady A Biography Volume One 1926 - 1940
by Neal (Tom Christopher) Cassady
 Paperback: Pages (1995)

Asin: B000CF0ECW
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19. The visions of the Great Rememberer: with letters by Neal Cassady and drawings by Basil King.
by Allen, Beal Cassady and Basil King (illustrator) Ginsberg
 Paperback: Pages (1974)

Asin: B001DQ6R4I
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20. Neal Cassady: Beat Generation, Dean Moriarty, Jack Kerouac, On the Road, Salt Lake City, Utah, Denver, Colorado, San Miguel de Allende
Paperback: 168 Pages (2010-02-20)
list price: US$66.00 -- used & new: US$61.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 6130453795
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
High Quality Content by WIKIPEDIA articles! Neal Leon Cassady (February 8, 1926 ? February 4, 1968) was a major figure of the Beat Generation of the 1950s and the psychedelic movement of the 1960s, perhaps best known for being characterized as Dean Moriarty in Jack Kerouac's novel On the Road. Cassady was born to Maude Jean Scheuer and Neal Marshall Cassady in Salt Lake City, Utah. After his mother died when he was ten, he was raised by his alcoholic father in Denver, Colorado. Cassady spent much of his youth living on the streets of skid row with his father, or spending time in reform school. ... Read more

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