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Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72 Mass Market Paperback – April 22, 1985

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (April 22, 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446313645
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446313643
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.2 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #105,876 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

With the same drug-addled alacrity and jaundiced wit that made Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas a hilarious hit, Hunter S. Thompson turns his savage eye and gonzo heart to the repellent and seductive race for President. He deconstructs the 1972 campaigns of idealist George McGovern and political hack Richard Nixon, ending up with a political vision that is eerily prophetic. A classic!


'The best stuff on the campaign I've read anywhere.' Nicholas Von Hoffman, Washington Post 'Obscene, horrid, repellent ... driving, urgent, candid, searing ... a fascinating, compelling book!' New York Post 'Hunter S. Thompson is the most creatively crazy and vulnerable of the New Journalists. His books are brilliant and honorable and valuable ... the literary equivalent of Cubism: all rules are broken.' Kurt Vonnegut Jr 'Gaze in awe ... Hunter Thompson does in his own mad way betray a profound democratic concern for the polity. And in its own mad way, it's darned refreshing.' New York Times 'Shocks you into laughter.' Detroit Free Press 'Unnerving!' Newsweek --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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.

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Customer Reviews

This book offers a fresh inside look at what really goes on behind the scenes of a presidential campaign.
Not despite, but rather because of this famous "gonzo" style of journalism, HST's book is rich in insight about US politics and politics in general.
Klaus Stiefel
I was introduced to Hunter S. by the movie Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which led to me reading that book.
Josh the Long

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Matthew P. Arsenault on October 19, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
All too often, Hunter Thompson's remarkable and vast journalistic production has been overwhelmed and deluded by his famous work, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. It would seem that most Thompson readers fail to see that Thompson's works, far from being one esoteric drug opus, range the spectrum of popular cultre, politics, and to a great extent a large segment of American history.

One of his best and most illuminating books, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail 72, is written with the cutting commentary and breakneck pace so recognizable as Thompson. However, each comment and postulation is well researched and based on deep thought, even if enhanced by the occassional milky hit of Singapore Gray.

Thompson studies the 1972 Presidential election month by month, following both polls and candidates across the nation. Rather than see the election as a political institution, Thompson slices away the media fat and studies candidates, their motivations, and the varied behavior of the American constituency.

The author takes time to explore each candidate, although concentrating mostly on the Democratic Party, discussing their platforms on the major issues of the time: amnesty, the de-escalation of Vietnam, the civil rights movement, etc. and accurately and insightfully illustrates their place in not only the election, but in America during the early 1970's.

Thompson, having closely studied politics for innumberable years illustrates waves and trends throughout American politics, from 1964-72, with numerous and ultimately accurate predictions for the future.

Although a different work than Fear in Loathing in Las Vegas, a very interesting and personal look at American politics and Thompson the journalist. A must read for "politics junkies" as well as Thompson fans.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Thorn on February 23, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Although not as thrilling as Hell's Angels and not as profound as Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, F+L: on the campaign trail '72 does offer a brilliant analysis of the frenzied, unpredictable nature of American politics. With the McGovern/Nixon presidential race as its focus, this book gives the reader an insider's unflinching view of a year out with the candidates as they crisscrossed the USA. Unfortunately, Thompson takes some of the transcribed dialogue sections a bit too far and the inclusion of many irrelevant details was not necessary. The book should have been properly edited and cut down by about 100-150 pages. But having said that, the word for word transcription of an interview with George McGovern near the end of the book is priceless! What insight! The last 20 pages or so - the "Editor's conversation" - is also very good. If any foreigners want an understanding of the American campaign process, THIS IS THE BOOK TO READ. From no one but Thompson will you get such a realistic account. Gonzo journalism at its twisted peak, perhaps. Excessive at times, but worth the time and effort. Thompson's writing is more penetrating and entertaining than that of any tradional political journalist, period. Hell, you've got to give this guy credit. He's an original! The "football conversation" with Richard Nixon in New Hampshire and the "Sheridan"/Jerry Rubin incident on Muskie's Florida train are both hilarious!
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By P Magnum HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 27, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Hunter S. Thompson became a self-described political junkie from his days on the 1972 Presidential campaign trail. Unabashedly throwing his support behind Democratic candidate George McGovern, Dr. Thompson takes on a dizzying journey from hotel room to hotel room across the country lauding his man McGovern and railing against his enemy Richard Nixon. The book provides as much detail about Mr. Thompson's activities as they do the campaigns themselves, but hell, Dr. Thompson is alot more interesting. One of the most poignant moments is when Dr. Thompson rides in a limo with his enemy Nixon and they discuss football, which is a passion of both men. Dr. Thompson actually sees some humanity in Nixon and breaks down the facade that Nixon and most politicians erect. He shows a human side to a man who is often looked upon as inhuman. Dr. Thompson still despises him and his views, but by peeling away a layer, he can expose things that lay beneath the surface. For people like myself who were too young to experience this campaign and the times, Fear & Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72 is a brilliant and amazing ride through the times.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Justin W. Meeker on April 7, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book's setting is eerily similar to the current state of affairs going on in with the 2008 Presidential Election, with the Democrats picking themselves apart while the Republicans sit back and enjoy the show. Richard Nixon is shown as the abomination that he was and HST's writing is as animated and humorous as I have ever seen it. This book surpassed my expectations and was a surprisingly fast read at 496 pages. I was left begging for more political insight and HST wit. A must read for any HST fan or anyone interested in the inner workings ( mostly the dark side) of politics. A great book that shows that HST was and is probably better than his already sizable legend permits.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By C on November 24, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
On C-Span's "In Depth" program, Brian Lamb interviewed Richard Norton Smith and Douglas Brinkley. Richard Norton Smith is probably the most notable living historian specializing on the American Presidency, having had a part in many of the presidential libraries and so forth. Douglas Brinkley is widely regarded as the most prominent living American historian.

Smith cited this book as the best work ever written about the U.S. Elections process, and Brinkley concurred. For those of you who know Smith and Brinkley by reputation, that says far more than anything I could write here. It's not only some of the best political writing of all time, it's some of HST's best work, too. Fantastic.
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