Robert Pinsky in the New York Times:
Lawrence Ferlinghetti celebrates his 100th birthday on March 24 with the publication of “Little Boy,” his life story told in flashes and arias. No one’s biography has more completely or ardently embodied the visions and contradictions, the achievements and calamities, the social mobility and social animosities, of that life span.
Poet, retail entrepreneur, social critic, publisher, combat veteran, pacifist, poor boy, privileged boy, outspoken socialist and successful capitalist, with roots in the East Coast and the West Coast (as well as Paris), Ferlinghetti has not just survived for a century: He epitomizes the American culture of that century.
Specifically, he has been a unique protagonist in a national drama: the American struggle to imagine a democratic culture. How does the ideal of social mobility affect notions of high and low, Europe and the New World, tradition and progress?