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The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967 (The Fear and Loathing Letters, Vol. 1) Paperback – April 7, 1998
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From Library Journal
-?Amy Boaz, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Hunter S. Thompson may have only been thirty when the book comes to a close, but he does so much living in the 12 years detailed that one can't help but feel envious. From his stint in the Air Force to his various travels cross-country and to South America, Thompson remains a fiercely independent creature throughout his letters, heaping scorn and praise upon those he corresponds with as he sees fit. The bulk of the first part concerns Thompson's unfruitful look for a steady writing assignment early on, and one feels the sense of desperation and (dare I say) fear and loathing he builds up for the workaday world. Thompson's muse carries him far and wide, to outposts both remote (the heart of deepest South America) and wellknown (New York, San Francisco). Through it all, Thompson never loses sight of his original passion for the written word.
Some of the letters are to family or friends, with some fiery dispatches to entities Thompson felt had hurt him or America in some way (imagine writing a letter to Dubya like the ones Thompson wrote to LBJ without getting the Secret Service breathing down your neck). The friends that Thompson collects range from obvious (Hells Angels, other struggling literati), to the baffling (I had no idea Charles Kuralt and Thompson knew one another). Throughout, Thompson's savage wit and fiery temper burn through even the most customary notes to landlords or editors.Read more ›
The letters written during Thompson's service in the Air Force evidence a young person literary to his finger tips. The editor uses notes to orient the reader by saying, for instance, now he is reading F. Scott FitzGerald, or John Dos Passos. Like many young people suffering from maladjustment, he was also reading with great interest THE OUTSIDER and THE FOUNTAINHEAD. Thompson worked as a copy boy at TIME. Henry Luce set up a free bar for the employees on Sunday evenings. Hunter details in one of the letters how he took some of Henry Luce's things.
After being fired by TIME for insubordination, Thompson went to work at the MIDDLETOWN DAILY RECORD. He lost that job when he abused the candy machine. He thought LIE DOWN IN DARKNESS was great and wrote a letter to William Styron. (Actually, by reading this collection I learned to take a more charitable view of the journalistic posturing and strutting engaged in by Ernest Hemingway as his way of overcoming the terrible resistance of the blank white page to literary production.)
Thompson moved to San Juan to write for a bowling newspaper. Photographs show Thompson the Outlaw of Big Sur and Joan Baez, his neighbor. It was 1961 and he was 33. Thompson had a piece on Big Sur accepted by ROGUE. When his piece was published he was evicted for spreading gossip in a smutty magazine.Read more ›
If you end up in the latter category, then buy this book. It will immediately give you a sense of how this man grew into his profession and how he became the person he is. However, that is not to say it's an easy read. Like any treasure hunt, you'll have to do some digging to find the gems -- some passages are a bit slow / depressing. But every chapter contains stories or commentaries which are truly priceless (unlike Mastercard). I started reading this book on a long flight across country; I laughed out loud so many times my fellow passengers probably wanted to strangle me. Hell, I wanted to strangle me ... but I couldn't help it. Thompson's commentaries on the powers that be, relationships, and a host of other subjects are so brutally funny it's impossible not to laugh aloud at times. Not if you have a pulse.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
"As a competent journalist, I do, of necessity, 'dig facts.' I also dig money, Jack Daniels, and a fast-breaking job." ~ Hunter S. Read morePublished 3 months ago by JJohns
The likelihood of enjoying this book depends largely on how much someone is a fan of Hunter S. If someone is reading reviews that means they are probably big fans, in which case I... Read morePublished 9 months ago by raul
I was so impressed with his prose as a young man, so mature and clever with youthful imagination. As he matured and got knocked around a bit his style became jaded and bitter. Read morePublished 11 months ago by good dog
It's good to see how Hunter developed his style of writing. it's also very interesting to learn about the events in his life.Published 16 months ago by eric mathis