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Fear and Loathing in America : The Brutal Odyssey of an Outlaw Journalist Paperback – December 4, 2001
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Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Whereas Volume I documented the lament and poverty of Thompson as a young, struggling writer, dealing with the rigors of hustling a career in journalism or literature without working a "real job"--this volume covers Thompson in his shining glory years. Fresh off the success of Hells Angels, he conquers with Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail. Not only that, but it covers everything in-between, providing a much-needed counterpoint to the extreme surreal elements of his gonzo journalism, showing us the facts that exists outside the books and the articles.
Thompson almost always portrays himself as the smirking, all-knowing, invulnerable watcher of things. Even when writing from his own point of view, he becomes the omniscient narrator and the cruel god watching over the world he is describing. Very rarely does he get really personal and revealing in his writing, nor does he need to.
This volume is filled with personal correspondence, journalistic entries about Thompson's life and times. And his writing here is just as solid as it is in any of his books. His ability to bend language and make it bark and snarl at the end of his leash is what makes Thompson an irreplacable American writer, and a perfect vehicle to have documented the turbulence of the last 4 decades. This volume of letters is the perfect companion to the flash and bang of his books, giving us an altogether different point of view of Thompson's life and lets us make our own conclusions about how much life imitates art and helps us realize that it works the other way 'round as well.
Both were deaths that affected me greatly. Usually when I hear of a notable passing, my reaction is, "Oh, no," but in both of these cases my first thought was to hope that the news wasn't true.
In the days following Thompson's death, I found myself going over some of his work - a documentary on the Criterion "Fear & Loathing" DVD, "The Great Shark Hunt" and "Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas."
But the book that I found myself reading the most, and finding a kind of solace in, is this one: Thompson's collected letters from 1968-76.
I used to work in a bookstore and there was always a question of where "Las Vegas" belonged. It obviously wasn't fiction but it also couldn't be entirely true, and that's part of its genius. But with "The Gonzo Letters, Volume II" there is no doubt that this is the genuine article, this is probably the closest look we'll get at what Thompson was like. The sheer fact that he wrote and saved so many letters in the first place tells you a lot about the man himself.
The correspondence here runs the gamut: letters to Oscar Acosta, Tom Wolfe, Charles Kuralt, William Kennedy, Jann Wenner, his brother, his mother, his broker and anybody he had a beef with. The letters take us through his early ups and downs, his campaign for sheriff of Pitkin County and we not only get to follow him through the success of "Las Vegas," but also part of the process of him refining surrealism and colorful exaggeration into the style he'd use in that book.Read more ›
A complition of his letters written over a decade or so (during his rise from a relatively obscure journalist/writer to cult hero) most every letter is interesting in one way or another, some are so funny that you'll be laughing about them for days.
HST's humor is unmatched in my opinion by any writer I've read. This book is an extraordinarily private, very insightful, often hilarious glimpse into one of America's most interesting social figures.
But it's much more than humor. The letters overlap the period of Martin Luther King's Assassination, Robert F. Kennedy's Assassination, the Democratic National Convention of 1968 (which he attended), etc.
I was struck at how he tried to convince his younger brother to stay in college for at least another semester, because by then, we would probably be out of Vietnam. It was apparent to him at the time that we would leave. And yet...Saigon didn't fall until April 1975.
He also has a particular revulsion for Nixon, who has always been a fascinating figure for me. And of course,there are letters to his fans. He clearly has fear and loathing for some of them. His letters to and about them are hillarious.
A great read.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Just being able to read the personal styling of HST is enough to pick thus bad boy up alone but to really get his perspective during this almost decade of political journalism,... Read morePublished 14 days ago by Kelley Brown
This is the second volume of his personal and professional correspondence, a great read and tough to put down.Published 6 months ago by John T. Galloway
Hunter S. Thompson was an amazing journalist. His views and writing skills were unlike any one even now. Anything by Hunter, or about him is worth my money!Published 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
HST is to the point as usual - HIS point. If you like his work, this is one to add; though some, maybe more than I'm aware, has appeared in other volumes. Rad.Published 18 months ago by rad