Jack Kerouac, the infamous Beat writer and renowned chronicler of American subculture, was born in Lowell, Mass., in 1922 to French-Canadian parents. On a football scholarship, he made his way to Columbia College in New York where he met poet and activist Allen Ginsberg. Kerouac didn't last long at Columbia and soon began traveling across the United States, Mexico, North Africa and Europe -- always writing along the way. He finished his most famous book, "On the Road," in 1951, and when he published it in 1957, he instantly became an American literary figure and spokesman for the Beat generation. His other books include "Desolation Angels," "The Subterraneans," "The Dharma Bums" and "Satori in Paris." Kerouac died in 1969.
"On the Road" draws on Kerouac's relationship with Neal Cassady and their ride across the United States. The novel is a stylistic achievement that embraces Kerouac's idea of "spontaneous prose"; he wrote the novel in a few weeks. In that ambling prose, the reader finds a profound social disillusionment and a world of drugs, alcohol and mysticism.
Listen to actor Matt Dillon, who last starred in "There's Something About Mary," read from "On the Road" in this Caedmon/Harper Audio release.