By the time Lucien Carr stabbed David Kammerer to death on the banks of
the Hudson River in August 1944, it was clear that the hard-partying
teenage companion to Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Neal Cassady, and
William S. Burroughs might need to reevaluate his life. A two-year stint
in a reformatory straightened out the wayward youth but did little to
curb the wild ways of his friends.
MANIA tells the
story of this remarkable group—who strained against the conformity of
postwar America, who experimented with drink, drugs, sex, jazz, and
literature, and who yearned to be heard, to remake art and society in
their own libertine image. What is more remarkable than the manic lives
they led is that they succeeded—remaking their own generation and
inspiring the ones that followed. From the breakthrough success of
Kerouac's On the Road to the controversy of Ginsberg's Howl and Burroughs' Naked Lunch, the counterculture was about to go mainstream for the first time, and America would never be the same again.
Based on more than eight years’ writing and research, Ronald Collins and David Skover—authors of the highly acclaimed The Trials of Lenny Bruce—bring
the stories of these artists, hipsters, hustlers, and maniacs to life
in a dramatic, fast-paced, and often darkly comic narrative.