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Culture: In the Footsteps of the Beats

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By the mid 1950s, the Cold War and its anti-communist hysteria had cast a shadow over American society. In a world dogged by conformity and conservatism, a new counterculture began to emerge in the streets and coffee shops of New York and San Francisco. This reactionary movement was led by the Beats: a group of free-thinking artists, poets and writers who produced literature that was unstructured, uncensored and daringly non-conformist.

A walk through San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood will allow you to retrace the steps of Beat pioneers like Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Jack Kerouac who worked and played in the neighborhood. As you weave in and around Columbus Street, you’ll get a feel for how the Beat Generation changed the face of American literature, and American society as a whole.

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