“The Typewriter Is Holy: The Complete, Uncensored History of the Beat Generation”

Bill Morgan

I’ve read a lot about the Beat Generation. To some extent this book repeats what I’ve read elsewhere. The valuable thing about it is that it tracks all of the Beats through decades so the reader gets a good sense of who was where when and doing what with who. The “doing what with who” isn’t limited to literary efforts, thus the subtitles’s “uncensored”. It’s less salacious that it sounds; mostly the account proves that the Beats behaved pretty horribly towards the women in their lives.

Though the author (an archivist for Ginsberg and other Beats) doesn’t explicitly state it, he makes a good case for an argument that the Beat Generation is best defined as “friends of Allen Ginsberg”. It’s also clear from Morgan’s account that Ginsberg was a better friend to his friends than they often were to him.