William S. Burroughs, author of Naked Lunch , Junkie and other underground classics, is an odd yet central literary figure. He has been in every sense an outlaw. He spent time in jail, he shot and killed his wife and he was a drug addict forced to spend much of his life in exile from the United States, often on the run. He flaunted his homosexuality at a time when it was a criminal offence. From his upbringing in a middle-class St Louis suburb, his life has been counter-cultural. This biography details his education at Harvard, his involvement with drugs and petty crime, his authorship of bizarre novels, and even his induction into the staid and august Institute of Arts and Letters. Ted Morgan tells Burroughs' story with a feeling for the times he lived through. He gives mention to the characters who inhabited his world - Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Jean Genet, Mick Jagger, Paul Bowles and Samuel Beckett. The result is an account of an era and a writer's life.