On the Road

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Overview

Essential Edition handsomely packaged with french flaps, rough fronts, high-quality paper, and a distinctive cover look

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 ...

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On the Road

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Overview

Essential Edition handsomely packaged with french flaps, rough fronts, high-quality paper, and a distinctive cover look

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 forty years ago.

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Editorial Reviews

Lancaster Sunday News
Kerouac wrote with a sense of language as jazz, and Dillon can read like manic ragtime or weary blues.
Audiobookcafe.com
The recording is great. Dillon's ability with voice impersonations, however, drives his performance to the level of genius.
New York Times
The most beautifully executed, the clearest and the most important utterance yet made by the generation Kerouac himself named years ago as 'beat.'.
Library Journal
Though Kerouac's masterpiece is not out of print and likely never will be (it still enjoys more than 60,000 sales annually), Viking is releasing a quality hardcover edition to commemorate the 40th anniversary of its original publication. Undoubtedly one of the most influential and important novels of the 20th century, this is the book that launched the Beat Generation and remains the bible of that literary movement. On the Road's publication in 1957 was a wake-up call to the American public that not all its youth were modeled after characters on Ozzie and Harriet: it portrayed Ivy League-educated white kids who smoked dope, hitchhiked, and frequented black jazz joints and Mexican whorehouses. It was the harbinger of the radical changes that would soon sweep society in the 1960s. In addition to the full text, this version includes the New York Times's original book review. A pillar of American literature.
Booknews
A reprint of the novel first published (by Viking) in 1957. And still printed on acidic paper--it deserves better. New, long introduction by Ann Charters. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
David Dempsey
The incessant and frenetic moving around is the chief dynamic of On the Road, partly because this is one of the symptoms of "beatness" but partly, too, because the hot pursuit of pleasure enables Mr. Kerouac to serve up the great, raw slices of America that give his book a descriptive excitement unmatched since the days of Thomas Wolfe. As a portrait of a disjointed segment of a society acting out of its own neurotic necessity, On the Road is a stunning achievement. But it is a road, as far as the characters are concerned, that leads nowhere - and which the novelist himself can't afford to travel more than once.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140031928
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/1/1987
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 5.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Jack Kerouac(1922-1969), the central figure of the Beat Generation, was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1922 and died in St. Petersburg, Florida, in 1969. Among his many novels are On the Road, The Dharma Bums, Big Sur, and Visions of Cody.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 319 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(174)

4 Star

(77)

3 Star

(42)

2 Star

(13)

1 Star

(13)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 319 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2004

    What's all the hype about?

    Okay, Kerouac was a talented writer. That is plain to see, and anybody who doesn't see it I feel sorry for. And while On the Road was an enjoyable read, one that I don't regret nor ever will, I still can't help but feel disapointed. This was supposed to be meaningful...where is the meaning? Generally, I'm better than most people at finding allegories within works of fiction, being a nit-picky satirist myself. I can give you symbolism for every event in Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle. I can give you the moral, philosophical points of Burgess' A Clockwork Orange. I can decode the works of Burroughs. But 'On the Road' left me feeling like it was pointless...a good, enjoyable read, but...pointless. So here's my advice: Read the book, don't believe the hype. Enjoy the story, but don't expect it to be life-changing, intellectually charged, and allegorically moral, like so many fans want you to believe.

    16 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 22, 2011

    extra-ordinary

    To anyone with a wildly out of control friend, that one who makes you crazy but you just can't quit, the story of Sal and Dean will send echos through your head. To anyone who wants to intimately know the post-WWII wanderlust that struck so many Americans, to anyone who wants to know how the Beats and the hippies came to be, this is the bible.
    Genius.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 12, 2011

    Voice of an Era

    The most useful purpose On the Road serves is not as a great character exploration - which it is - or as a wild adventure story - which it isn't - but as for better understanding a generation of people inspired by it. In some ways, it's a book about nothing, a book about drifting... which sometimes makes for an aimless narrative, but does capture the way so many have wandered after.

    The most appropriate thing about this nook version is that you can take Kerouac's classic on the road with you:)

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 30, 2010

    On the Road, Jack Kerouac

    On the Road is written by Jack Kerouac, published by Penguin in 1955. This book is considered to be an authentic representation of the movement in our society called the "Beat Generation." The book tells of Sal Paradise, and his decision to travel from New York to California during the late forties and early fifties, a time when the nation was recovering from the effects of World War II. The music of the time changed from a swing beat to jazz; this was a change from what was known, to something with a beat--jazz was edgy and different. This change in music was indicative of the change in young people, and this is the adventure from which Kerouac writes, because he was part of this beat generation.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2011

    Important Read

    This book started off strong for me and I got into it really fast. About halfway through I started to really hate the characters particularly Sal but I still wanted to keep reading and I am glad that I did. While the characters were completely unlikable to me the way this story shows the expanse of America and represents a different side of this generation than what I am used to reading is great. I definitely thing everyone should read this book it might not be the best book you have ever read but you won't regret reading it!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2011

    Piece of a Generation

    Jack Kerouac sets out to capture the essence of his beat generation in to one book and for the most part is successful. On the Road chronicles Sal Paradise, an archetype of the beat generation, and his aimless ramblings across the continental US. Living penniless and destitute, Sal travels cross-country several times meets many different people and places, including but not limited to, drunken southern californian vineyard adventures, the hustle and bustle of Manhattan and nocturnal guard shifts at a prison in seattle. The story is interesting and captivating, especially with the broadness of it which makes it relatable to almost anyone's own life experience. Sal's search for a home and a lover and beer, is similar to the younger generation of today, perhaps even the origin. Kerouac's reference towards other Beat Generation notables and friends, like his nod toward Neil Cassady under the guise of Dean Moriarty, gives the reader a sense of who these character's really were and most importantly, what the generation stood for. At times, the narrative can be dull and move slow however, possibly On the Road's greatest strength is that it is realistic, showing an un-biased, impartial perspective of the beat's. Kerouac chooses to leave nothing out, showing a brutal honest picture of the beat generation, the good, the bad and the down right weird. In doing this, he best captures the purpose of the beats. The book is not short of powerful, thought provoking moments which humble the reader, as it should. On the Road is one of the 20th centuries greatest literary achievements.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2012

    KG

    Kerouac is such a great writer, and I recommend watching the film adaption of this novel (directed by Walter Salles). It has great performances and captures the feelings that the book gives you perfectly.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2012

    Epic

    Kristen Stewart plays Marylou in the movie :)

    1 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2012

    Life Changing

    I loved this book and it made me a Kerouac fan for life. I can't wait to see the new movie adaptation and read Big Sur. A lot of people either love or hate the "Beat" generation and writings, I'm firmly in the LOVE camp.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2012

    the ultimate american "tour de force..."

    I first heard "On The Road" on tape... a most enjoyable and truly impressive presentation... subsequently bought the book for my library and an ebook version so I could read excerpts while... on the road. The written version is heavyweight great...!!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2012

    Makes you think

    I have seen life differently since I have finished this book. Its a great book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2012

    A must read for the free spirit adventeror A must read for those who love no ties and true freedom

    Great story based on free spirit and free love just before the hippie era

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 6, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    On the Road

    Really enjoyed the book. Kerouac's cross-country adventure is a fun read and gives an interesting look at counter culture.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 17, 2011

    excellent

    a classic american read

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 29, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Exquisite.

    A beautiful novel by a beautiful author, Jack Kerouac has blessed us all with this esoteric, truly original piece of art. The way Kerouac writes should be seen as abstract, for it's by no means technical nor should it be treated as such. With that notion, this novel could use a bit more structure, but I think the sporadic writing is what makes this novel work. All in all, the characters are believable and dastardly charming while the mildly philosophical statements are perfection and not at all over the top. Thank you, Mr. Kerouac, for providing such wonderful escapism.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Simple and Carefree

    On The Road is a simplistic story about a man who wanted to make a drastic change with his life. Most people don't have the guts to do it. Sal Paradise was unhappy living his life as it was so took off for the west coast in search of...meaning. It was something he was skeptical in doing at first, but his buddy Dean Moriarty was sure this is what he needed. Dean is the extreme adventurous type who can never stay in one place for too long. He is the proof that as much as people need to mix it up, everything needs to be done in moderation. This gives hope to those who would like to have the option to escape from it all. It shows that it can be done. Sal experiences what life is like all throughout the country again and again. It's a scenic trip the whole time that I would recommend to any reader with a free spirit.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2014

    ¿On The Road¿ is a largely autobiographical account written by J

    “On The Road” is a largely autobiographical account written by Jack Kerouac in the 1950s of his trans-American road trips in the years preceding the completion of the novel. This novel has long been accredited with awakening a sense of wanderlust in the American public largely dormant since the migrations accompanying the Great Depression as well as largely influencing both the Beat generation and the subsequent hippies. It was apparent to me almost immediately upon beginning to read the novel how this might have been possible. In the beginning, Kerouac, written as the character Sal Paradise, puts his life on hold in order to travel across the country. In this alone the reader can see the difference in values and pace of life at that time as opposed to in today’s world. This facet alone instills in the reader a sense of restlessness that stays with you throughout the story as Kerouac and Neal Cassady (as Dean Moriarty) travel across the United States with a slew of other characters, many of them famous Beat poets such as Allan Ginsberg. This enchanting trip not only sends the reader on an unparalleled journey through all aspects of life on the road but also acquaints him with a sense of history and purpose found nowhere but on the American highway.
    In the novel the reader is introduced to a version of the American Dream that is both new as well as as old as the country itself—a love of travel and of adventure. At this time the journey seemed to be the new destination, and one of the greatest revelations of life was that it should be enjoyed to the point of madness. Kerouac creates an image of nationalism and love of America similar to much of the Beat literature. For the reader the American highway is transformed into a world delicately structured in a balance of give and take, a world where people took care of each other and responsibility could either be avoided with reckless abandon or sought out eternally with the turn of a thumb. Kerouac presents post WWII America in a midst of a generational detachment from the former moral and social norms; at this time Jazz was king, God took the form of George Shearing, and time was measured according to the speedometer. For the characters of the story, a four course meal consisted of apple pie, whiskey, cigarettes and amphetamines, escape was a six letter word, and the road was gateway to the world. Kerouac captures the reader in a tailwind of endless hours and limitless possibilities that he proves time and time again is impossible anywhere but out on the road.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2014

    Finished it

    I found this book slow in many ways. If I had been Sal, I would have dumped Dean in Denver the first day. It took the entire book for him to do just that. I am glad that I read it, but I am not a big fan.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2014

    I Also Recommend:

    Kerouac is astounding with the unrolling and sometimes lengthy p

    Kerouac is astounding with the unrolling and sometimes lengthy prose in this book. His journey enlivens the spirit of what it would be like to take this journey, especially with friends.

    I would recommend this product along with Eighteen In Cross-country Odyssey by Benjamin Anderson, a tale about an eighteen-year-old’s journey across the United States between his high school and college careers, fraught with quirky encounters and beautiful scenery. Make sure not to miss either book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2013

    Kerouac was a fraud

    That's the real truth of it. Most of it was made up out of air whilst Kerouac lived in him mother's basement.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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