Jean-Louis "Jack" Kerouac (March 12, 1922 - October 21, 1969) was one of America's most well known writers of the 1950s. He wrote such famous books as Big Sur, The Dharma Bums, Doctor Sax, Desolation Angels, Visions of Gerard, the novella Pic, the book of poetry Mexico City Blues, and the classic novel On the Road.
In a drunken interview years after the On the Road was published, Kerouac seemed to dismiss the book usually credited as his masterpiece, saying "I was young then" and waving his hand as if to imply he regarded the work as immature. However, many interviews which Kerouac took part in towards the end of his life demonstrated that he was suffering from the effects of a life-time of drinking. He died as a result of complications stemming from a life of alcohol abuse.