In its time Jack Kerouac's masterpiece was the bible of the Beat Generation, the essential prose accompaniment to Allen Ginsberg's Howl. While it stunned the public and literary establishment when it was published in 1957, it is now recognized as an American classic. With On the Road, Kerouac discovered his voice and his true subject--the search for a place as an outsider in America. A penniless writer named Sal Paradise becomes inspired to hitchhike across America, taking the listener on a freewheeling journey through the 1950s youth counterculture. Joining up with other fellow vagabonds who are in love with life and open to adventure, they explore jazz, sex, drugs, and mysticism on the fringes of society. Credited as the book that launched Jack Kerouac's career, On the Road epitomized to the world the generation that Kerouac himself named as "beat." It created a sensation by chronicling a spontaneous and wandering way of life in a style that seemed founded both on jazz and on drug-induced visions.