This is one of the best biographies I have ever read, and at 585 pages, it is a commitment! Barry Miles blends Ginsberg's own words beautifully with newspaper and historical accounts of the time. As Miles says in the Afterword, Ginsberg gave Miles complete access to his unpublished letters and journals. What a treasure! Ginsberg's continuous approach to authenticity is astounding and completely inspiring. And I love how Miles does not sugar-coat Ginsberg's life. True to how Ginsberg approached his own "documenting" of his life, the darkness is shared with the light, equally. I had always had my reservations about Ginsberg, due to the misogyny that runs so deeply in the Beat movement, and while yes, it was there, I see so much more how Ginsberg was doing his best in the time that he lived in. Jack Kerouac, on the other hand? This book reveals what a woman-hating, conservative, drunk, apathetic man he really was (at least in his later years). And it is revealed that our culture still idolizes Kerouac, not just for his great writing, which is completely deserved, but because Ginsberg raised Kerouac to icon-level after his death. Ginsberg even says in his journals that he dedicated himself to making America remember the Kerouac that Ginsberg always wanted him to be, instead of the man he actually was. Fascinating stuff.