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Fear and Loathing: The Strange and Terrible Saga of Hunter S. Thompson Hardcover – November, 1992

19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This unauthorized biography takes off only when Perry, a former editor of Running magazine, describes the wacky/scary experience of engaging legendary gonzo journalist Thompson to report on the Honolulu Marathon in 1980, and when Thompson's illustrator sidekick Ralph Steadman tells of Thompson's paranoid trip to cover a heavyweight title bout in Zaire. Otherwise, Perry ( On the Bus ) interweaves insights from Thompson's associates with excerpts from Thompson's writings to produce a straightforward portrait far less manic than its subject is purported to be. The author describes the young Hunter as a wild drinker and voracious reader like his mother, and a poor kid who was an outsider among the Louisville elite. He traces Thompson's career from military sportswriter to gonzo glory in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas to his covering of the 1972 presidential campaign. Thompson acknowledged that only 75% of what he wrote was accurate. Nor does Perry ignore Thompson's prodigious use of drugs and alcohol, violence toward women, attempts at writing fiction and his bizarre race for sheriff of Aspen in 1970. By the 1970s, the author writes, Thompson became a prisoner of his image, and perhaps because of this Perry's account of Thompson's last decade is thin. Photos not seen by PW. 50,000 first printing; author tour.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.


Oh! That sleazy brain-damaged cretinous BASTARD! Don't ask me about him again. --Ralph Steadman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 274 pages
  • Publisher: Thunder's Mouth Pr; 1st edition (November 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560250127
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560250128
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,495,442 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

About Paul (Contact:
Paul Perry ( the co-author of several New York Times bestsellers, including Closer to the Light, Transformed by the Light and Saved by the Light, which was made into a popular movie by Fox-TV. His work has appeared in National Geographic Adventure, Outside Magazine, Reader's Digest, and several other popular periodicals. His books have been published in more than 30 languages around the world.

In 1986 Paul's interest in the effects and meaning of near-death experiences led him to a professional involvement with Dr. Raymond Moody, considered to be the founder of near-death studies. The two have written five books together (Paranormal, Glimpses of Eternity, The Light Beyond, Coming Back and Reunions). All tolled he has written or co-written 10 books on the subject of near-death experiences, four of which have become New York Times bestsellers.

Paul is also a documentary filmmaker whose work has appeared on worldwide television. His best known film, Jesus, the Lost Years was first the subject of a book he wrote for Random House, Jesus in Egypt, which follows the trail believed to be used by the Holy Family as they fled into Egypt to escape the murderous soldiers of King Herod. He returned to Egypt to produce and direct Visions and Miracles: Out of the Land of Egypt, a documentary film that chronicles modern visions that are confirmed by film or video or with scientific evidence, as with miraculous healings ( His most recent documentary, AFTERLIFE, tackles the fascinating subject of near-death experiences and interviews scientists who have researched proof of a life after death. It also features a number of people who have died and returned to tell their astounding stories (

DALI'S GREATEST SECRET, a documentary about surrealist artist Salvador Dali is Paul's latest project. The film was nominated at the Madrid International Film Festival in 2014 for Best Director and Best Documentary. It is about a secret painting done by Dali, The Vision of Hell, and how its subject, a vision that took place in Fatima, Portugal, had a profound effect on his life and work. The painting was hidden beneath a nun's bed for 30 years and was rediscovered in 2005.

Paul is a graduate of Arizona State University and a former fellow at the prestigious Gannett Center for Media Studies at Columbia University in New York City. He taught magazine writing at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon, and was Executive Editor at American Health magazine, a winner of the National Magazine Awards for General Excellence. Since becoming a full-time writer, Paul has written or co-written more than books on a variety of subjects, from the paranormal to piracy.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By George Schaefer on October 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
I became a Hunter S Thompson fan early on. It was high school when I was in my more radical, experimental phase. Reading Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was a whirlwind event. I had never encountered anything like it before. It was a bit more than my teenage mind could handle. HST immediately shot up the ranks of my favorite authors. He was explosive and also more accessible than the beats. There was always a sense of awe whenever the name of Hunter Thompson was invoked. The blend of journalism with fiction was a unique blend. It also seemed at times to hit on the truth more accurately than a lot of serious journalism. But before I go off about HST, let me get back to the bio at hand. This is not an authorized biography but I feel that it does shed some light on Thompson. It would seem that perhaps Thompson is receiving a bit of his own medicine here. Perry does give us some information on Thompson's childhood. He also gets into the early years of Thompson's career before the legend of Gonzo was born. This does help explain the development of this hick from Kentucky into a world renown icon of gonzo journalism. I would grant that a more definitive bio of HST could be written. There are others that I have yet to read. I was happy to get the info this book offers. I should tide me over until I read those books. HST is a fascinating figure in 20th Century America. This book is one piece to help solve the puzzle.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 23, 1997
Format: Paperback
Like too many would-be Thompson fans, Perry is one of those waterheads who've helped wreck much of the Doctor's inisght and talent by praising the wrong tendencies. Yes, Thompson is a maverick. Yes, he has the guts to say things others would not dare breathe, and to do so with poetic incision. The fact he enjoys hoovering cocaine and sucking back Chivas Regal sno-cones may be intriguing. But the insight, the intelligence, the wit and the writing are why we read Thompson.
Perry's "book" spends most of its worthless time working bad variations on the hackneyed theme of "that Hunter -- he's ka-ray-zee." Gee, really, Paul?
If the book's inane superficiality weren't criminal enough, Perry compounds it by delivering his fake insights in jarring, scrambled syntax and a stinky combination of mangled metaphor and clumsy clichŽ. The final insult is a copy-editing job that leaves the wretched tome rife with glaring spelling, grammatical and factual errors. (They misspelled "Scottsdale AZ" in the "About The Author" note.)
This book bites just as badly as E. Jean Carroll's execrable fiasco, but for different reasons. Avoid at all costs. Of the three bigraphies of Thompson printed in 1993, the only one worth reading is Peter Whitmer's. I know. I slogged through all three while reviewing them for The Globe & Mail, Canada's national newspaper.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lukas Jackson on June 18, 1999
Format: Paperback
If you're expecting the blazing intensity of "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," it is definitely not here. Perry is not Thompson. His writing is just barely adequate. I would recommend this book only to those who, like myself, are fascinated by Hunter S. Thompson and want to know more about the man. This book is overly long and drags at points. Some of the funniest and most exciting stories are marred by a writing style that borders on the drab. But we do get insights into the real Hunter S. Thompson, even if these insights do mar the illusion of perfect madness that is presented in "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas."
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By therosen VINE VOICE on June 6, 2004
Format: Paperback
This unauthorized biography artfully captures the life and times of Hunter S. Thompson, the father of Gonzo journalism. It covers his early years in Kentucky, his early life as a foreign correspondant and his later collaboration with the artist Ralph Steadman.
The book generally presents Thompson is a positive light, but it doesn't pull punches in how Hunter treated his wives, or the fictional aspects of Gonzo journalism. Indeed, he cites examples of "If it's not true, it should be" and where Hunter writes the most truthful political articles, even if they are not the most accurate. Indeed, much of the biography is about how Hunter inserts himself into the story, in essence creating it. This act of "the observer impacting the observed" is both a key problem with science, and a key pillar of Gonzo journalism.
After reading the book, you will in turn read his other works with more insight. Where does the author come from? How much is fact versus fiction? What is his spiritual link with Hemmingway? I hope you enjoy the answers as much as I have.
The one weak point is that the book has aged. Hunter S. Thompson has re-emerged in the past several years with more brushes with the law (shooting his assistant) and a job writing for ESPN magazine. It would have been interesting to get Mr. Perry's viewpoints on this.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By pat zeitel on December 10, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book, one that I am glad is not written in the gonzo style.
Hunter's life is dissected and examined by Perry, who did a thoughtful and insightful work.
If you want gonzo, read Hunter, he is the only one who can write that way. If you want to read about gonzo and the mind behind it, this is your read.
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