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Generation of Swine: Tales of Shame and Degradation in the '80's
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on May 10, 2006
This is another in a series of collections of Hunter's columns. The other compilations are:

The Great Shark Hunt (Gonzo Papers Vol. 1) about the 70's, mostly post Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail,

Better than Sex (Volumen 3) about the 90's, and his final release before his untimely death,

Hey Rube (about the early 00's).

I should mention here that I'm only in my 20's, and the first administration I ever really paid attention to was the second Clinton term.

Reading this book and the other Gonzo Papers books, along with Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, gives you a perspective on the past 30 years that is hard to find elsewhere in this context. Since these columns were written as critiques on current events, you get a feel for what was going on in the 70's, late 80's and early 90's. You find that for everything that has changed over the past 30 years, that politics is quite static. Corrupt presidents, sex-scandal plagued politicians, and more.

There's not too much to dislike about this book, assuming you enjoy Hunter's writing style. And it is valuable to those who can't get enough of Hunter's style.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on August 2, 2005
What we have here are over 100 op-ed pieces (about 2 1/2 book pages each) that ran in the San Francisco Examiner over a three-year period, December 1985 thru November 1988 and are now compiled in Gonzo Papers Volume 2 (Volume 1 was The Great Shark Hunt). These were originally meant to be read at the rate of one a week, but of course you can increase your speed on this compilation. However, I read them in a handful of sittings and suffered from severe overload. First of all, at this fast rate you get a good deal of duplication that waters down the overall affect Thompson was trying to create in his weekly column. Thompson reminds me of the famous Groucho Marx line: "Whatever it is, he's against it!" Just picked at random: "Any baboon with a healthy heart and good diction... could do Neil Frank's job (director of the National Hurricane Center). President Reagan: "...seems to be dumber than three mules." Frank Sinatra: "...is said to be smart, but he was fired and cut off from every casino in New Jersey when he tried to play blackjack by rules he learned in Nevada...They chased him out like a wino. It was an ugly thing to see." And these quotes all come from just one article. Pick a name or event from the headlines of these three years and you'll find a bombastic opinion from Thompson aimed directly at it. It is a fun and funny read. You'll find yourself thinking and speaking in the Thompson style. It's addictive. But, too much at one time can put you over the top. For more reasons than one, this would make for good bathroom reading material.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2002
I read this book when it first came out and thoroughly enjoyed it. Of course, it helps if you are a political junkie.
The surprising thing, though, is how I think it holds up, even though so many of the anecdotes and columns are topical of the era in which it was written. I picked this up the other day at the book store, on a whim, and sat down to revisit it. I was laughing so uncontrollably, and for such a period of time, that a lady sitting nearby asked me what I was reading, went and got a copy for herself, started perusing it and ended up buying it.
Nobody...NOBODY is as perfectly vicious and insanely funny at the same time. He is like an impressionist political commentator. His portraits of George Bush Sr here aren't quite accurate...but something about the way he exagerates the man's traits captures his essence more clearly than any attempt at objectivity could hope for.
If only he were still covering politics...
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
I read this book right after "The Great Shark Hunt," and it was a bit of a let down. The articles are all around two to three pages in Generation of Swine, so none of them are as intricate nor as detailed as some of the masterpieces found in Shark Hunt.
The first half of the book is the most relaxed writing I've read of Thompson, lots about gambling, shooting and life around Woody Creek. When the Iran Contra scandal starts to heat up Thompson comes alive. He's back to his acid spitting deconstruction of the American political engine. His attacks become ever more frenzied until Bush Sr. escapes the noose for his involvement in the whole affair. This seems to cool Thompson down he seems resigned to fate; 15 years earlier he would have written 30 page rallying cries, like "The Scum also Rises," but he's an older now and he takes it in stride.
It's an interesting book, and fantastic journalism. The 80's weren't half as dynamic as the 60's or 70's and as such it's not the place to start with Thompson. However, it might very well be the place to end.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 4, 2000
Fear & Loathing on the campaign trail is probablly the good doctor's masterpiece but pretty much any of the gonzo papers books are well worth a read. It might have been interesting if a younger, angrier HST had been unleashed on the 1980s but this is a mellowed Thompson. But not too mellow. What you get is often hilariously funny stuff about Reagan, drugs, gambling, Iran and inevitably, Richard Nixon. Not a major work and it is slightly inconsistant, but every so often the doc's depraved mind slips into a higher gear and you're glad that the old bugger isn't dead yet. In fact, when he does finally peg out, someone should white the last few paragraphs of the introduction on his tombstone: Hunter's almost serious take on heaven and hell which is worth the price of admission alone.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 2, 2014
After his trip to Africa and his divorce from Sandy in the early 1980's something truly tragic happened to one of the literary giants of the 20th century. He lost the edge that made Gonzo journalism so unique and so different from conventional journalism. Through years of excess drug and alcohol use he extinguished the flame of his brilliance. And he couldn't reignite it. The sparks were there - but the kindling wouldn't take and Generation of Swine is a perfect indicator of this.
This volume is a collection of Hunter's columns from the San Francisco Examiner during the 80's and covers a wide berth of political and social issues that peppered that decade. And while there are snippets of the old brilliance, it never takes off running free and wild like his work in the 60's and 70's.
But there are snippets of brilliance and they manifest themselves in the following columns:

Full Time Scrambling - Hunter's take on TV Journalism
The Hellfire Club - Article on the debauchery of TV Evangelists like Jimmy Swaggart
The Scum of the Earth - Another article on TV Evangelists this time taking on the Bakkers
Rise of the TV Preachers - Yet another great column about TV Evangelists this time a general commentary
Kill Them Before They Eat - Slow News Day for 24 hour news cycles
They All Drowned - A brilliant piece about the rise and affects of lakes and politicians desperate attempt to tame their rising levels. The best part is about former Utah Governor Norm Bangerter's 1986-1987 attempt to tame the rising levels of the Great Salt Lake.

There are other pieces scattered throughout the book, but the ones above are my personal favorites. Indulge, but do not expect the same crazy brilliance in Generation of Swine as you would in The Great Shark Hunt, Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas or Fear & Loathing on the Campaign Trail 72'.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on October 14, 1999
I have read this book several times and I always laugh my butt off over a few of the stories in it. There is one story about a pig's head early in the morning that hurts my abdomen. If you find humor in human suffering and stupidity as HST does then this work will never cease to amuse you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 13, 2012
this book isn't a "fear and loathing in las vegas" if thats what your hoping for

after reading fear and loathing in las vegas (one of my top 10 books of all time) i started buying up all the hunter s thompson books i could find, wanting more of the same.

well, apparently other than fear and loathing in las vegas THE CURSE OF LONO is the only other book that kind of gives that style of writing

generation of swine and many of his other books are just politics, politics, politics

just know his style of writing is very different than what you were expecting so check up on the book and see if its the style you were looking for
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
The 80s must have been a tough decade for Hunter S. Thompson, and the writing shows it. Easy access to drugs, as well as a rising tide of Republicanism and Conservatism to rail again. On the the surface, this would make for great writing. In reality, this is not his strongest work. Great columns, as well as some of his legendary lucid lines, are interspersed with nominally coherent rants against the political powers that be. Perhaps that is to be expected from him in an anthology of his newspaper writings.

This is an important read for those very in tune to his genre. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is a better start if you haven't read anything of his before. It will also provide better context to his mindset in the 80s.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on September 25, 2000
I found this book to be quite entertaining. He writes on getting late night tattoo's, the Iran-Contra affair, Gary Hart and what was the 1988 presidential campaign, and racing jeeps outside the legendary Woody Creek Tavern. The book is not the best, but neither was the '80's and Hunter covered it like only he could cover them. He seemed interested in the book of revalations more than ever, but that was because president Ronald was a devoute bible reader himself and always said the people of the '80's will be the generation to see the "apocolypse." So between the book of revelations and talking about the generation of swine, Hunter is not quite his old self, but still sharp as a razor!
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