Read Fear & Loathing in America by Hunter S. Thompson Free Online
Book Title: Fear & Loathing in America|
The author of the book: Hunter S. Thompson
ISBN 13: 9780747553458
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 17.47 MB
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Loaded: 2854 times
Reader ratings: 7.6
Edition: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Date of issue: October 8th 2001
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Listening to this represents a couple of firsts for me as a reader. It was the first time I have read the letters of a writer whose books I have not yet read. In addition, it marked the first time I have experienced a collection of letters in the audiobook format. That worked pretty well, since his letters make for good listening, and since the book provides a lot of insight into the life and thoughts of Thompson during the most creative period of his life. I am familiar with the legend of the notorious gonzo journalist, a figure who has come to us thru the popular culture with films (including a documentary directed by the great Alex Gibney) and a key role in the Doonesbury comic strip. The reading btw was performed effectively by Malcolm Hillgartner, who changed styles for certain letter writers, giving a slight Mexican accent to HST's Chicano sidekick Oscar Acosta, and adding pomposity to Tom Wolfe.
Here we see the legend taking shape, as Thompson settles down (or tries to anyway) in Woody Creek, Colorado and pursues his unique career in freelance journalism. He was coming off a successful book on the Hells Angels motorcycle gang and selling occasional pieces to Scanlan's Monthly (an exciting magazine that went bankrupt in its first year) along with other journals. He was working on a full-length work on the death of the American Dream for Random House, a project that he never really got going. We can practically hear the wheels in his head spinning in his letters to his editor, Jim Silberman, as he tries desperately to outline and come to grips with the book. Thompson struggled with constant debts, and salved his anxieties with liberal applications of alcohol, mescaline, and LSD (althou marijuana did not interest him much). Eventually salvation showed up in the form of a position as a staff writer at Rolling Stone magazine. He also was a big aficionado of firearms, and approached one editor with an offer of a humorous monthly column on the subject, written by his bad boy alter ego, Raoul Duke.
Many of these letters contain some fine writing, but others do not. I grew a little bored with his itemized expense requests and demands for payment from publishers. And the tales of his involvement in local Aspen / Pitkin County politics are fascinating, but grow repetitive. Apparently he was involved in an effort to get a young, inexperienced, pot-smoking cyclist/lawyer elected mayor of Aspen, and made a run for county sherrif himself. Both these efforts came up short, but only by a handful of votes. We can only wonder what that might have turned out like if they had won!
A few things definitely become clear about the man. He was rebellious, angry, incisive, and funny. He was easily outraged and frequently outrageous. I did begin to grow a bit tired with his constant invective and lashing out at others - he seemed pretty unwilling to look at the possibility that one source of his difficulties was his own behavior. His political outlook could best be described as left-libertarian - he despised the Republican Party and viewed the establishment with some paranoia - the fear and loathing he is always putting into his letters ("Yours in Fear and Loathing".) I also began to perceive some instability in the man - despite his talents he was probably struggling with some sort of psychological disorder. He later became a shadow of his former self - barely able to write, in bad shape physically, and still consuming lots of psychoactive substances. Eventually he himself became the spectacle, rather than his writing. Still, I look forward to reading some of his classic gonzo works, some of which I'm sure kick some a** and recall a time when there were adventurous, wild journalists out there with a left-of-center perspective.
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Read information about the authorHunter Stockton Thompson was an American journalist and author, famous for his book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. He is credited as the creator of Gonzo journalism, a style of reporting where reporters involve themselves in the action to such a degree that they become the central figures of their stories. He is also known for his promotion and use of psychedelics and other mind-altering substances (and to a lesser extent, alcohol and firearms), his libertarian views, and his iconoclastic contempt for authority. He committed suicide in 2005.
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