From Publishers Weekly
This collection of rants and reflections, taken from the king of gonzo journalism's new sports column at ESPN.com, displays an energy and humor lacking in some of his more recent collections and should please both his old and new fans enormously. Thompson has admitted being as much a sports fanatic as a political junkie, and these columns offer many hard-hitting but indisputable sportswriter insights, such as how a Sports Illustrated
cover on Boston Red Sox star Nomar Garciaparra featured a "cynically homoerotic image." A sidebar on "New Rules for Baseball" ("Eliminate the Pitcher") is not only funny but also an astute critique of how boring he believes baseball has become. But Thompson never loses sight of his bigger picture: "The only true Blood Sport in this country is high-end Politics." His view of George Bush—"a half-bright football coach who goes into a big game without a Game Plan"—can sometimes be repetitious. But he hasn't lost his skill as a reporter: e.g., his description of the "exact moment" when he knew Gore would never win Florida—when the Bush family appeared on TV "hooting & sneering at the dumbness of the whole world" that they would let Florida slip away.
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Thompson is, of course, the author of several New York Times
best-selling books, including Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
(1972), which is perhaps his most readily recognized one. He is the great and famous practitioner of so-called gonzo journalism, which means, at least by the definition set here in his latest collection of journalistic pieces, commentary in which his ruminations go far past the thought-provoking into the realms of the audacious, preposterous, and outrageous. Specifically, what is collected here are Thompson's popular ESPN.com columns; more specifically, the essays are about sports events and figures and what sports means in today's society, but he uses the broad subject of sports to launch into commenting humorously, fiercely, and quite intelligently on politics and sex. He calls being a politician "living in Public Housing"; he sees the death of NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt as being publicly perceived as a message that something is wrong with the "machinery of the American nation"; and he avers that "the world situation has become so nervous and wrong that disasters that would have been inconceivable two years ago are almost commonplace today." Readers may disagree with Thompson, but he's hard to ignore. Brad HooperCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved