In late 2018, we released Bob Rosenthal’s stunning memoir, Straight Around Allen: On the Business of Being Allen Ginsberg. The book has gotten a tremendous reception, and we’d like to share with you some of the kind words people have had for it:
The best book about Ginsberg ever published.
Of course, the book is indispensible on documentary grounds alone but the sustained narrative has great moving power.
Jonah Raskin (for New York Journal of Books):
There is no other book like this one, though there are dozens of books about Ginsberg. Bob Rosenthal has made a courageous and valuable contribution to the field of Beat studies.
Once I started I literally could not put it down… It was riveting and unlike any memoir I’ve ever read in structure and tone, very in the moment, present, candid.
This will prove to be an essential book, and a terrific read, for any scholars, students, poets, and activists interested in Allen Ginsberg’s inspiring life and work.
Allen Ginsberg Estate:
There have been a number of recent Beat books of late and our imprimatur of “essential reading” might seem a little easily dispensed and perfunctory – but no, not for this one, not so. This one is essential reading.
The candor of the camera man comes clear. A focused word collage of poetry in practice.
Eric Jacobs (for Beat Scene):
If I were to select a book published this year – based around the Beats – this would very likely be my choice.
It’s an amazingly interesting book, and the way it was designed, laid out and presented allows me to enjoy it now and then throughout the day!
With images new to me—not only photographs but specimens of Ginsberg’s handwritten messages—and an informative text, this is a treasure.
This is not just another Beat memoir that trades off short-lived encounters with the movement’s most well-known writers […] Rosenthal’s book is an intimate account by a writer who organized Ginsberg’s professional life and also helped coordinate the poet’s peripatetic personal life—the writers, musicians, and fans endlessly passing through Ginsberg’s apartment—and was there at the end, among those compassionately caring for the poet during his last days. […]
Straight Around Allen offers important insight into the day-to-day particulars of the Ginsberg industry, including the extent to which commerce and poetry competed against each other for Ginsberg’s attention. […] What is unique, and ultimately valuable, about Straight Around Allen is Rosenthal’s perspective as an intimate witness to the turbulence that was the Ginsberg industry’s center of gravity.