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Better Than Sex: Confessions of a Political Junkie (Gonzo Papers, vol. 4) Paperback – August 22, 1995

ISBN-13: 978-0345396358 ISBN-10: 0345396359

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Product Details

  • Series: Gonzo Papers (Book 4)
  • Paperback: 245 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (August 22, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345396359
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345396358
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #298,163 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Since his 1972 trailblazing opus, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, Hunter S. Thompson has reported the election story in his truly inimitable, just-short-of-libel style. In Better Than Sex, Thompson hits the dusty trail again - without leaving home - yet manages to deliver a mind-bending view of the 1992 presidential campaign, in all its horror, sacrifice, lust, and dubious glory. Complete with faxes sent to and received from candidate Clinton's top aides, and 100 percent pure gonzo screeds on Richard Nixon, George Bush, and Oliver North, here is the most true-blue campaign tell-all ever penned by man, beast, or Thompson.

From Booklist

At some point, people as diverse as John Wayne and the members of Aerosmith appeared to achieve a kind of wisdom when they began to parody themselves. There are hints in Better Than Sex that HST is winking--broadly--at us. Sure, he's still a vicious, twisted psychotic thug who can write that Richard Nixon was criminally insane from birth, but he also closes any number of preposterous gonzo screeds with the equally preposterous, "Take my word for it, Bubba. I was there." This is Thompson's take on Clinton's campaign and his first year in office--and it's an outrage per page. Nobody escapes the good doctor's wrath: Bush is so guilty he makes Nixon look innocent; Clinton is a swine, but he's our swine; and Hillary is pilloried. Ross Perot, James Carville, Margaret Thatcher, James Baker III, Al Gore, and even Walter Cronkite also get savaged. Along the way, Thompson ruminates, occasionally quite shrewdly, nearly always hilariously, on politics, society, and, of course, himself. Better Than Sex is not better than Thompson's great Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail or the gonzo bible Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Even so, a new book by Thompson is always an event. Thomas Gaughan --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

Hunter S. Thompson's books include Fear and Loathing in America, Screwjack, Hell's Angels, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Proud Highway, Better Than Sex, The Rum Diary, and Kingdom of Fear. He was contributor to various national and international publications, including a weekly sports column for ESPN Online. Thompson died February 2005.

Customer Reviews

The narrative also makes no sense.
To date, I've read Hell's Angels, The Rum Diary, and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas twice, along with a few of the articles in Hey Rube.
M. Elizabeth Williams
The book is well paced, funny, inciteful and everything a Thompson fan or casual reader could want.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Robbie Port on November 16, 2001
Format: Paperback
Let me start by saying that if you have never read anything by Dr. Thompson before, do not start with this book. Rather, start with some of his earlier material (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas or one of his many articles for Rolling Stone).
I don't recommend this book to first-time Thompson readers because it is so disjointed that the reader, without knowing Thompson's style, may give up on Thompson before discovering his other great writings.
This is not one of Doc's greatest books, but its entertaining, none the less. Its almost worth it just for the funny pictures/faxes and the vicious jabs thrown at all of the canidates.
I rated this book with four stars because I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I enjoyed it so much because I am a Thompson fan and eat up almost everything he writes. Other people, however, would be better off starting with something written a little bit earlier in Thompson's career.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By "iamafreak" on July 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
Within the context of HST's work this definitely represents the low end. Having read most of his books it is painfully apparent that The Good Doctor wrote this one he was operating somewhere close to the nadir of his creative powers. Which is sad, because HST has chiseled his initials onto that mystic tablet of the cultural subconscious as one of the great voices of the twentieth century. You just wouldn't know it from reading Better Than Sex. When the folks at the end of the next century look back at ours to weed through the one-sided histories, buried testimonies, and hazy lies so they might weigh and measure the "truths" of our time, Thompson's version will be one that rings true.
Sweeping criticisms and grandiose statements aside, if you like Thompson after having read some of his other stuff, especially the political writing, then you will enjoy this book. It is still a fun book to read, its just not at the same level as his good stuff.
There are occasional bright points, notably the picture of HST with James Carville and the bit about HST resembling Bill Clinton's childhood nemesis, Tommy Stukka, which is mercilessly funny (starts around p. 136).
In short: if you are new to Thompson, buy something else (FLLV, Great Shark Hunt, Generation of Swine) ; but, if you familiar with the Good Doctor and his particular brand of journalism, meaning you know what you're getting into when you open up an HST book, then buy this book and read it and for so doing your world will be better, or at least a little less savage.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 10, 2000
Format: Paperback
Like many another of his kind, Hunter S Thompson has outlived his greatness. When he started out, he was the most dangerous man in his vocation; now, even the Secret Service considers the guy harmless. Sad, but true: when he places bizarre calls to the White House switchboard and hollers "I feel like killing somebody!" in a crowded bar at the Capital Hotel on election night, it's hard to escape the suspicion that he's no longer doing this for the hell of it, he's doing it to live up to a character - doing what's expected of him. A well-behaved, sober Hunter Thompson would be more genuinely subversive than the caricature that slouches through the pages of this shoddy collection of faxes, scrawled memos, pictures, and a less-than-riveting central narrative that fails to plug us into the momentum of the campaign, so that the pay-off of the election itself doesn't carry any zing. But that's not to say it's a bad book. It's simply not an uplifting one - not that Thompson's earlier works weren't gloriously sordid and deranged, but here there's a lingering sense of waste, of failure, and it's hard not to see why. HST is a spiritual anarchist not truly at home in any civilized environment, and the only decade for him was the Sixties. He chronicled the downward spiral of the next two decades fiercely, but this final decade of the twentieth century seemed impossibly dull and discouraging to him. "The standard gets lower every year, but the scum keeps rising," writes Thompson in the defining passage of the book. "A whole new class has seized control in the nineties. They call themselves 'The New Dumb' and they have no sense of humor. They are smart, but they have no passion. They are cute, but they have no fun except phone sex and line dancing....Read more ›
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
I absolutely love the writing of HST. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is, without a doubt, one of the most important books of the 20th century. On the Campaign Trail '72 somehow managed to get me interested in politics. Hell's Angels made me want to buy a motorcycle and rip down the california coast at midnight. But...Better than Sex is a dull, vapid, anorexic account of a dull, vapid, anorexic campaign. Approximately half of the 240 page book is made up of scribbled-out faxes and strange illustrations. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, but I would much rather read 240 pages of non-stop HST ranting. For whatever reason, the Dr. has elected to use the phrases "Ho, ho" and "bubba" at least once on every page, or so it seems. I've read other reviews that state that HST has lost his edge, that a lifetime of rum, cocaine, mescaline and adrenochrome has begun to catch up with him, but I hesitate to write Him off as a aging has-been quite yet. But after reading "The Proud Highway", one must wonder how HST himself would have reacted to a book such as "Better than Sex" if he were still a money-hungry book reviewer.
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