Loathing: In the Heart of the American Dream
discovered Hunter Thompson, I thought he was the funniest writer I'd ever
come across.. I laughed out loud when I read Fear & Loathing in Las
Vegas. His "strange saga to the heart of the American Dream" expressed
and informed the permissive culture of the time, at the height of the
In Fear &
Loathing: On the Campaign Trail, Thompson talked football with Nixon
as they rode through the capital in the president's limousine. He covered
the 1972 campaign as one of the boys on George McGovern's bus. His essay,
"The Kentucky Derby Is Depraved & Decadent," was another howler. His first
book, Hell's Angels, took him on a wild ride to Bass Lake with
Sonny Barger and hordes of bikers one Fourth of July weekend. On a beer
run into town, he became part of the story — launching what he called
Gonzo journalism — as he sweated out what threatened to explode into a
major rumble. "Are you guys really Nazis?" asked a local. "I'm Kiwanis,"
long, rambling, alcohol-fueled Rolling Stone articles at the Seal Rock Inn
out by the beach, faxing them to his editor in what he called a
drug-crazed frenzy. He retreated to his ranch in Woody Creek, Colorado,
ran an over-the-top campaign for sheriff, and beat a bust for drug
possession and battery of a female fan.
and drugs are tough masters. In recent years some of his rants were
unreadable. The critics called him the quintessential outlaw journalist.
In fact, he reveled in the role: iconoclastic, misogynistic, and
occasionally out of control. To me, the lure was his wildly funny and
madly irreverent take on the pretension, pomposity, and self-righteousness
of middle America.
"As long as
Hunter is around," a childhood friend told a biographer in 1993,
"everything is okay. When Hunter dies, then we're all old."