• $13.99

Publisher Description

True stories of writers and pirates, painters and potheads, guitar pickers and drug merchants in Key West in the 1970s. 
For Hemingway and Fitzgerald, there was Paris in the twenties. For others, later, there was Greenwich Village, Big Sur, and Woodstock. But for an even later generation—one defined by the likes of Jimmy Buffett, Tom McGuane, and Hunter S. Thompson—there was another moveable feast: Key West, Florida.

The small town on the two-by-four-mile island has long been an artistic haven, a wild refuge for people of all persuasions, and the inspirational home for a league of great American writers. Some of the artists went there to be literary he-men. Some went to re-create themselves. Others just went to disappear—and succeeded. No matter what inspired the trip, Key West in the seventies was the right place at the right time, where and when an astonishing collection of artists wove a web of creative inspiration.

Mile Marker Zero tells the story of how these writers and artists found their identities in Key West and maintained their friendships over the decades, despite oceans of booze and boatloads of pot, through serial marriages and sexual escapades, in that dangerous paradise.

Unlike the “Lost Generation” of Paris in the twenties, we have a generation that invented, reinvented, and found itself at the unending cocktail party at the end—and the beginning—of America’s highway.

Biographies & Memoirs
October 4
Penguin Random House LLC

Customer Reviews

John H. Cunningham ,

Mile Marker Zero

Having lived in Key West in the late 70's and early 80's, and being a fan of McGuane, Corcoran, Harrison, Chatham and Buffett, this was a great trip down memory lane. Aside from Corcoran, they had flamed out of Key West just as I was arriving, and they hung with the hippie crowd while I hung with the local Conch crowd, but Mile Marker Zero really filled in the blanks.

Heady times, a wild frontier town that played by it's own limited rules, and a fun cast of misfits at at the genesis of their respective trajectories, some on the way up, some on the way down, some just along for the ride. A good reminder that the creative process can be painful, and ambition often leaves a trail of anguish. McKeen has provided interesting insights into the post-Hemingway literary Key West, and important backgrounds on some of our most successful entertainers.

As a writer myself, and a survivor of the phase that followed the era in Key West that McKeen covered in Mile Marker Zero, it was a lot of fun to read. Well done.

Kaskyt43 ,

An excellent ode to the seventies

An intriguing set of tales about the seventies in Key West that paints a colorful picture of the era and the famous writers and artists who called that place home.

mermette ,


Nice recent history of Key West. Great characters. Too many words. Not enough dates to keep you on track as you read through. Probably should've re-wrote it a few more times.

More Books by William McKeen