Periods of cultural conflict often give birth to remarkably creative literary works. The writers of the Beat Generation wrote during a particularly chaotic time in modern American history, as they confronted the threat of a nuclear war, the rise of anti-Communist hysteria, and the growing pressure to conform to social conventions. They drew upon the works of jazz musicians, anarchist poets, and others to create an enormously influential and popular body of writing. This book is a guide to their achievement. The volume covers such major writers as John Clellon Holmes, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, Neal Cassady, and Tom Wolfe. Included are chapters on 7 literary masterpieces: Go, On the Road, Dharma Bums, Howl and Other Poems, Naked Lunch, The First Third, and The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test. Each chapter provides a biography, a plot synopsis, a discussion of themes and style, study and discussion questions, and suggestions for further reading. Literature students will value this book as a guide to these major works of the Beat movement, while social studies students will gain a better understanding of how this literature reflects social issues.