Books: The Longest Footnote

THE BEAT GENERATION by Bruce Cook. 248 pages. Scribners. $6.95.

For those who have learned to accept labels without questioning, the 1950s produced two generations in a single decade. There was the Silent Generation, so called for its members' apparent shyness about anything that might jeopardize their future security. And there was the Beat Generation, which loudly ridiculed the values the quiet ones were so concerned about. Bruce Cook, the 39-year-old book-review editor of the National Observer, seems divided between the two. In mind and body he is with the Silents, but his...

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