Wake Up: Book summary and reviews of Wake Up by Jack Kerouac

Wake Up

A Life of the Buddha

by Jack Kerouac

Wake Up by Jack Kerouac X
Wake Up by Jack Kerouac
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  • Published Sep 2008
    160 pages
    Genre: Biography/Memoir

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Book Summary

Though raised Catholic, in the early 1950s Jack Kerouac became fascinated with Buddhism, an interest that would have a profound impact on his ideas of spirituality and their expression in his writing from Mexico City Blues to The Dharma Bums. Published for the first time in book form, Wake Up is Kerouac's retelling of the story of Prince Siddhartha Gautama, who as a young man abandoned his wealthy family and comfortable home for a lifelong search for Enlightenment.

As a compendium of the teachings of the Buddha, Wake Up is a profound meditation on the nature of life, desire, wisdom, and suffering. Distilled from a wide variety of canonical scriptures, Wake Up serves as both a concise primer on the concepts of Buddhism and as an insightful and deeply personal document of Kerouac?s evolving beliefs. It is the work of a devoted spiritual follower of the Buddha who also happened to be one of the twentieth century's most influential novelists.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Kerouac completists will have to have this, of course. Literary-minded students of Buddhism will find Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha to be the more attractive introduction, and devotees will have had this story from many other sources, as Kerouac himself did." - Kirkus Reviews.

"If there is an almost evangelistic zeal to this loose collection of axioms and Buddhist conversion stories, Kerouac at least states that openly: 'The purpose is to convert,' he explains at the outset." - Publishers Weekly.

This information about Wake Up was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Jack Kerouac

Jack Kerouac was born in Massachusetts in 1922 and attended Columbia University in New York City, where he became identified with the nascent Beat movement. This Fall, Viking are publishing Wake Up for the first time in book form, alongside a 50th anniversary edition of The Dharma Bums.

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