The Story of the Outraged & Outrageous Lives That Launched a Cultural Revolution

Mania tells the story of a remarkable group of artists who created some of the 20th century's most enduring literature, bringing thier countercultural ethos into the mainstream and becoming stars in the process.
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Mania Web
Feb. 6, 2013 - PRLog -- MANIA

The Story of the Outraged & Outrageous Lives That Launched a Cultural Revolution

Ronald K.L. Collins & David M. Skover

From the highly acclaimed authors of The Trials of Lenny Bruce, Ron Collins and David Skover’s MANIA: The Story of the Outraged & Outrageous Lives That Launched a Cultural Revolution (Top Five Books; 3/1/2013; $26.00) tells the mad, manic, drug-and-sex-fueled story of the writers and artists who shaped the cultural revolution that followed—Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, and the others in their circle who rebelled against every norm society had to offer.

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 Kerouac, Ginsberg, and 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.

They were a remarkable group of writers who strained against the conformity of postwar America—experimenting with drink, drugs, sex, jazz, and literature—and who yearned to be heard, to remake art and society in their own libertine image. There was Herbert Huncke (rhymes with junkie), who introduced Burroughs to heroin and the rest to the “beat” lifestyle—beat in every sense of the word. There was Bill Cannastra and Neal Cassady, two men who burned to live, one who suffered the consequences of his own reckless antics, and one who never seemed to suffer the consequences of anything.

Authors Collins and Skover spent more than eight years researching and writing the story of Ginsberg, Kerouac, Burroughs, Cassady, Carr, and others—from the killing of David Kammerer to the car crash that led to Ginsberg’s committal to an asylum, to the publication of John Clellon Holmes’ Go, Kerouac’s On the Road, Burroughs’ Junky and Naked Lunch, up to the 6 Gallery reading and publication of Ginsberg’s Howl and the obscenity trial of bookseller/publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti that followed.

From New York to New Orleans, Mexico City to Morocco, Denver to San Francisco, they were mad to live and lived to create. And they created some of the 20th century’s most enduring works of literature, bringing their countercultural ethos into the mainstream and becoming stars in the process. America would never be the same again.

What Did They All Have in Common?…

—    Lucien Carr: spoiled darling of Columbia University who brutally killed a gay man and then raised an “honor defense”

—    Allen Ginsberg: talented poet who drew literary inspiration from his time as a patient in an insane asylum

—    Herbert Huncke: junkie/hooker who charmed Ivy League college kids with bizarre tales about his brazen exploits

—    William Burroughs: creative novelist and heir to a famous well-to-do family who toted pistols and killed his wife in a “William Tell” incident

—    Jack Kerouac: celebrated writer who couldn’t cope with being a cultural icon and wound up, in Ginsberg’s words, a “drunken ghost”



Following the Dec. 2012 release of the movie adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road (with Viggo Mortensen and Kristen Stewart) and coinciding with the 2013 premiere of the film Kill Your Darlings (focusing on the Lucien Carr killing of David Kammerer, with Daniel Radcliffe portraying a young Allen Ginsberg), MANIA arrives at a time of renewed interest in the lives of Kerouac, Ginsberg, Bill Burroughs, and their generation by a new and younger generation.



Hardcover  |  $26.00  |  ISBN: 978-1-938938-02-3  |  History/Biography  |  480 pages

eBook: $9.99  |  eISBN: 978-1-938938-03-0

On-sale date: March 1, 2013


Coauthors Ron Collins & David Skover will be available for interviews in the following cities:

• Washington, DC          • Baltimore          • Miami

• New York          • Chicago

• Los Angeles          • San Francisco

• Portland          • Seattle

About the Authors

Ron Collins
and David Skover are friends. Ron lives in the East, David in the West. They have been writing together for almost three decades. Their work is a joint effort, with David manning the keys and Ron pacing. They have coauthored four books together, The Death of Discourse (1996, 2005), The Trials of Lenny Bruce (2002, 2012), MANIA (2013), and the forthcoming On Dissent (2013). They have been writing for years on popular culture and free speech. Ron is the Harold S. Shefelman Scholar at the University of Washington Law School, and David is the Fredric C. Tausend Professor of Constitutional Law at Seattle University. Both have written numerous scholarly articles (often together) in journals such as the Harvard and Stanford Law Reviews and in the Supreme Court Review. In 2003 they successfully petitioned the Governor of New York to posthumously pardon the ribald comedian Lenny Bruce.

About Top Five Books

Top Five Books, LLC, is a Chicago-based independent publisher, focusing on fiction and select nonfiction. Founded by longtime book editors, its mission is to spotlight compelling stories by talented authors. Top Five Books is distributed to the trade by New Shelves Distribution (518-261-1300). To find out more about Top Five books, please visit the website at To learn more about MANIA or to read an excerpt, visit

Source:New Shelves Distribution
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