William S. Burroughs, founding father of America’s counterculture, was born in 1914 into a wealthy St. Louis family. He originally planned to be a doctor but soon found another calling: literary outlaw and professional iconoclast. During his youth, he led a life almost as strange as his writing, drifting from job to job–as bartender, private detective, and insect exterminator–before writing his first book, Junkie, a harrowing account of his fifteen-year heroin addiction. But it was Naked Lunch, a surreal Dante’s Inferno of narcotics, urban nightmares, and explicit sex, that became his masterpiece and made him an icon of the avant-garde, and sealed his role as hero to generations of artists, poets, punks, and rock musicians. By the time of his death in the summer of 1997, he was not only the last surviving Beat but the acknowledged granddaddy of America’s counterculture, with everyone from Apple Computer’s Steve Jobs to Philip Glass to U2 claiming him as an inspiration.Now, with Gentleman Junkie, Graham Caveney gives us the definitive life of William S. Burroughs–less a biography than a “chronology of the Burroughs phenomenon,” an examination of the myth behind the man. Filled with 150 color photos–many of them never seen before–and new biographical material, Gentleman Junkie shows how Burroughs’s fascinating life, from Harvard to Greenwich Village to Tangiers, was matched only by his enormous impact on modern literature and pop culture. Dapper radical, literary experimentalist, and mentor to countless artists, Burroughs had an indelible influence on American culture.