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Gonzo: The Life of Hunter S. Thompson

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Few American lives are stranger, more action-packed, or wilder than that of Hunter S. Thompson. Born a rebel in Louisville, Kentucky, Thompson spent a lifetime channeling his energy and insight into such landmark works as Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas - and his singular and provocative style challenged and revolutionized writing. Now, for the first time ever, Jann Wenner Few American lives are stranger, more action-packed, or wilder than that of Hunter S. Thompson. Born a rebel in Louisville, Kentucky, Thompson spent a lifetime channeling his energy and insight into such landmark works as Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas - and his singular and provocative style challenged and revolutionized writing. Now, for the first time ever, Jann Wenner and Corey Seymour have interviewed the Good Doctor's friends, family, acquaintances and colleagues and woven their memories into a brilliant oral biography. From Hell's Angels leader Sonny Barger to Ralph Steadman to Jack Nicholson to Jimmy Buffett to Pat Buchanan to Marilyn Manson and Thompson's two wives, son, and longtime personal assistant, more than 100 members of Thompson's inner circle bring into vivid focus the life of a man who was even more complicated, tormented, and talented than any previous portrait has shown. It's all here in its uncensored glory: the creative frenzies, the love affairs, the drugs and booze and guns and explosives and, ultimately, the tragic suicide. As Thompson was fond of saying, "Buy the ticket, take the ride."


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Few American lives are stranger, more action-packed, or wilder than that of Hunter S. Thompson. Born a rebel in Louisville, Kentucky, Thompson spent a lifetime channeling his energy and insight into such landmark works as Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas - and his singular and provocative style challenged and revolutionized writing. Now, for the first time ever, Jann Wenner Few American lives are stranger, more action-packed, or wilder than that of Hunter S. Thompson. Born a rebel in Louisville, Kentucky, Thompson spent a lifetime channeling his energy and insight into such landmark works as Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas - and his singular and provocative style challenged and revolutionized writing. Now, for the first time ever, Jann Wenner and Corey Seymour have interviewed the Good Doctor's friends, family, acquaintances and colleagues and woven their memories into a brilliant oral biography. From Hell's Angels leader Sonny Barger to Ralph Steadman to Jack Nicholson to Jimmy Buffett to Pat Buchanan to Marilyn Manson and Thompson's two wives, son, and longtime personal assistant, more than 100 members of Thompson's inner circle bring into vivid focus the life of a man who was even more complicated, tormented, and talented than any previous portrait has shown. It's all here in its uncensored glory: the creative frenzies, the love affairs, the drugs and booze and guns and explosives and, ultimately, the tragic suicide. As Thompson was fond of saying, "Buy the ticket, take the ride."

30 review for Gonzo: The Life of Hunter S. Thompson

  1. 5 out of 5

    Greg

    I almost, but not quite, wish I hadn't read this book. You can see from my other reviews that I'm a huge fan of HST's writings, and by the very nature of his gonzo style one gets the sense that one knows him from his work alone. Not so. Or not completely so, of course. This book (which as an oral biography is basically just a collection of quotes from the people who knew HST the best talking about him) reveals HST as a horribly abusive narcissist who lacked the self-discipline to become a truly I almost, but not quite, wish I hadn't read this book. You can see from my other reviews that I'm a huge fan of HST's writings, and by the very nature of his gonzo style one gets the sense that one knows him from his work alone. Not so. Or not completely so, of course. This book (which as an oral biography is basically just a collection of quotes from the people who knew HST the best talking about him) reveals HST as a horribly abusive narcissist who lacked the self-discipline to become a truly great writer. He could have been the next Mark Twain (and some would argue that he still was) but his inability to moderate his substance abuse crippled any chance he had of building on the great work he did as a young writer. It's a tragic story, really. The book also reveals the charming, loving, fun-loving side of HST that won him many lifelong friends. And you can see that he was a true romantic, in many ways -- I think his honest belief in the possibility of the American dream, and his observations of that dream being repeatedly crushed from the 70s on, explain a lot of his disillusionment and failures as a writer. He had the soul of a prankster, but he was also a control freak and an egomaniac. As Modest Mouse sings about another great writer and horrible human being, Bukowski, "Yeah I know he's a pretty good read, but who would want to be such an asshole?"

  2. 5 out of 5

    Evan

    In life, Hunter S. Thompson was a Tasmanian Devil -- always in motion, always dangerous, and always hungry, for booze, for drugs, for women, for attention. He was hell to live with; a bully, a prankster, an abuser. Also, a walking contradiction who could kill you with kindness. He was sociable, and sociopathic. He lived large, and lived his way, and you either accepted that way or you were anathema. He was not a role model, but a rat bastard bad-boy child-man that every man secretly imagines wan In life, Hunter S. Thompson was a Tasmanian Devil -- always in motion, always dangerous, and always hungry, for booze, for drugs, for women, for attention. He was hell to live with; a bully, a prankster, an abuser. Also, a walking contradiction who could kill you with kindness. He was sociable, and sociopathic. He lived large, and lived his way, and you either accepted that way or you were anathema. He was not a role model, but a rat bastard bad-boy child-man that every man secretly imagines wanting to be. He was a political progressive who loved the elites, mingled and partied with the rich and powerful; a lefty who hated hippies and loved guns. A Louisville, Kentucky, boy who had a sense of Southern gentility and propriety that often surfaced in astonishing acts of selfless generosity. He championed the underdog and minorities but thought nothing of using casual racial slurs. He could be incredibly serious, disciplined and professional about his work, then miss deadlines, appointments and break promises. He would give you the last $100 he had, then turn around and threaten to sue you. He could be sweet but seldom allowed himself to show sentiment and vulnerability. He believed in and practiced monogamy, but cheated like a maniac. He was a terrible father in youth, but a kindly father and grandfather at the end of his life. He was the life of the party and a buzz-kill all in one. He wanted to be the Great American Writer like his hero, F. Scott Fitzgerald, but he also wanted to have fun like Fitzgerald's revelers and drink like his hero; and all too often the fun got in the way of his art. But it was that art that made all of his shit worth the endurance for those who knew and worked with him. Thompson was an American original with an original literary voice; a voice that some called the voice of his generation. Hunter's hybrid style of fiction and fact -- gonzo -- was something new, and once it took hold -- far beyond the edge of the desert in Barstow -- it was imitated freely by countless star-struck wannabes. But the imitators could never pass the fraud test; a passage from an original Thompson could never be mistaken as coming from anyone else. The best single observation in this book that pinpoints what's special and unique in Thompson's literary voice comes from Thompson's friend and journalist, Tim Crouse: "Watching him, I began to realize that he was trying to bypass learned attitudes, received ideas, clichés of every kind, and tap into something that had more to do with his unconscious, his intuitive take on things. He wanted to get the sentence out before any preconception could corrupt it." Similarly, we get this gem from friend and collaborator, Doug Brinkley: "He was a criminal by nature who essentially cased every room he walked into and saw things that nobody else saw." In piecing together this prismatic, chronologically linear biography, told in carefully selected testimonial chunks by an immense cast of people who knew Thompson up close and personal -- those who worked with him, drugged with him, fucked him -- Jann Wenner and colleagues at Rolling Stone have tried to case the room like Hunter, to try to figure out the truth of a man whose contradictions would seem to make him unknowable. It's the Citizen Kane of biographies, with everyone adding puzzle pieces to unlock the mystery of his Rosebud. Gonzo: The Life of Hunter S. Thompson will be a challenge for some readers who feel put off by its constant change of voices, and at first I felt that way. But as it proceeded I was persuaded by the value of the approach. By hearing the events of Thompson's life told from varying eyewitness perspectives, the reader is free to actively participate in the construction of the biography, to consider the contradictions and the biases of the tellers. Considering the logistical feat inherent in compiling this book, the results are highly commendable. One of my favorite anecdotes in the book is by Michael Cleverly, a writer in Aspen, who was drinking with Thompson in a bar when two hippie fans, a boy and girl, approached the writer and offered him some cocaine as a friendly gesture. "[Hunter] took the vial, unscrewed it, poured it out on the broad's boobs, and shoved his face in there and started snorting." After sniffing nearly the entire vial, Thompson gave the rest to Cleverly, gave the vial back to the hippies and turned his back on them. Thompson's tolerance for high doses of drugs was legendary. And it's easy to blame that addiction on his downfall. But another drug --just as addicting -- took hold: celebrity. Sometime between the writing of Hell's Angels in 1966 and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas in 1971, Hunter began to build a new persona. The guy who once was a crew-cut military straight-arrow began to morph into the shades-wearing, cigarette-holder sporting, slurring and mumbling caricature. He was a rebel with a fashion style and bearing to match his "gives-no-shits" prose attitude. He became an icon that people came to worship, and like the conquering hero, he was all too willing to abide. Writing did not become something to do, but to put off. It's probably no exaggeration to say that Thompson was the worst alcoholic and drug addict in the history of literature who managed to live as long as he did. Indeed, Thompson himself predicted his death by age 50, but he made it to 67, by which time the disintegration of his body, the constant pain and helplessness and his total dependence on others affronted his sense of dignity and independence. In his suicide note, he revealed: "67. That is 17 years past 50. 17 more than I needed or wanted." ([email protected] 2016) ------ [Non-correction: AS I read the first sentence of this review, something struck me as not quite right. A few hours later I figured it out. I start off the review with the clause "In life" without later having a corresponding "In death" or "In his art," which is the expected corollary for the phrase to make any sense. I've decided to leave it be because there's a certain elegance to beginning the review this way. Remove "In life" from the sentence and notice how drab it would look. I think Thompson would be with me on this.]

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kelly B

    I give everything I like 5 stars. And 1 if it sucks. It would be zero but then you might just think I forgot to rate how bad it sucks. And anything by and about Hunter S. Thompson is usually something I'm going to dig. I based my review, not on the writing like usual, because this is a chronological book based on interviews from people in his life, (minus his 2nd wife, Anita Thompson, who refused to have her words published, which makes me wonder why because she was in the latest, and best that I give everything I like 5 stars. And 1 if it sucks. It would be zero but then you might just think I forgot to rate how bad it sucks. And anything by and about Hunter S. Thompson is usually something I'm going to dig. I based my review, not on the writing like usual, because this is a chronological book based on interviews from people in his life, (minus his 2nd wife, Anita Thompson, who refused to have her words published, which makes me wonder why because she was in the latest, and best that I've seen, Hunter documentary "Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson" which is still showing in some theatres and if you haven't seen it you need to, even if you haven't a big grasp of any of his stuff other than the Vegas book) by his longtime Rolling Stone editor, Jann Wenner. Here's a condensed transcript of a paper I found in the book I believe I wrote while falling asleep reading after drinking Chivas and water all night: Gonzo: So far it's been all good. A little shit talk here and there but it fit the personalities. And he's dead so their balls grew a little. And then I got to the after-the-pictures part and then there's really a lot of pussy talk. Starting with Angelica Huston and Jack Nicholson. I mean, what a bunch of pussies. Really. Scared of a gun in the same room with them because "guns can go off"? Really? Pussy (JN). "I don't remember a lot of discussion that night. It was pretty much him going around and punching out light bulbs all over the restaurant, which was not really the way for him to endear himself to somebody or to a group at large." (AH). Pretentious pussy. Really. What a couple of Pussies. Pampered Hollywood pussies. Pretentious this-is-how-to-act-according-to-what-the-society-I-fit-into-says. Conformist pussies. At least Angelica Huston anyway. Jack Nicholson just comes off as a pussy. Put him in a house with some of the vatos I grew up with in El Paso behind iron barred windows and their cuetes if you want entertainment. Wow. I am an angry, critical, and defensive about my heroes drunk. But this whole thing with Nicholson and The Joker and Ledger, Nicholson being mad because they didn't ask or consult him on the role, and then saying "I warned him" when he found out about Ledgers accidental death just totally reinforces my current disdain toward that grouchy you-must-acknowledge-and-respect-my-greatness old fart. I used to dig him. Like in The Shining. Okay, he does bring a tiny bit of intelligent insight in the book. But Huston. Ugg. Even looking back sober her words are so lame. And she's in the latest Chuck Palahniuk movie. He's gotta be the worst undeserved overrated contemporary writer I've ever read. But I digress. And I meant to. But if you dig Hunter S. Thompson at all or bios and cultural history read this book. It's not all pussy talk interviews like my drunk rambling review suggests. There is immensely interesting insight into his process of writing which is something I always find interesting. The opinions of people that were there and what they observed. What it took for him to get those words down on the paper. The techniques, the mannerisms, attitudes. Everything from story boards to colored markers to drugs and alcohol. It's scattered in the interviews. And of course there's a lot of respect and beautiful memories of him. My favorite is probably by Jann Wenner's then wife Jane Wenner. She talks about how he brought over crazy presents, including a Bedazzler, for Christmas one year and played with it with the kids all day but she couldn't believe he wouldn't let them keep it. He took it home with him then but wound up mailing it to them years later. She was playing around with her kid and said: ""How did I get such a crazy kid?" and he said, "Well, you know, I'm not as crazy as Uncle Hunter." I said "Really, Theo? What do you think it is that we do with Uncle Hunter?" He said, "I think you stay up late, you eat fire, and you Bedazzle all night." And I looked at Theo and I said, "Yeah, that's about right." Hunter loved that." Staying up late, eating fire, and bedazzling. Sometimes kids have the best lines.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    I'm fond of the "oral biography" format, and I'm a fan of some of Thompson's work (and full disclosure: I used to be ga-ga over his stuff in my youth). I was a little worried that Wenner would make the book sort of self-serving and maybe it is a little, but I thought overall this was very well done. Not surprisingly, Thompson spends a lot of time being appalling to people. And I didn't realize how little productive time there was in his life. The drugs and alcohol really did limit him very quickl I'm fond of the "oral biography" format, and I'm a fan of some of Thompson's work (and full disclosure: I used to be ga-ga over his stuff in my youth). I was a little worried that Wenner would make the book sort of self-serving and maybe it is a little, but I thought overall this was very well done. Not surprisingly, Thompson spends a lot of time being appalling to people. And I didn't realize how little productive time there was in his life. The drugs and alcohol really did limit him very quickly, it seemed to me. One thing that struck me was the sheer number of people needed for him to get any writing finished. Editors and assistants and friends constantly and literally standing by to keep him on track. His first wife Sandy seems to be the only one who is ultimately clear-eyed about his abusiveness. I suppose it's a common-enough story -- a famous person who is surrounded by people who won't stand up to him or are only interested in the hijinks or something. But the thing that stands out here to me is the huge number of people who express genuine affection for Thompson--not only for his genius, but his generosity, warmth, charm--and still go to great lengths to satisfy his every whim. It doesn't seem to occur to any of them to let him fall, that Al-Anon-approved first step to dealing with addiction. The book makes clear over and over how extraordinarily dependent he was on people for every single little mundane aspect of his life. He was, apparently, never alone. And even though it seems like many of those people loved him and worried about him, they never let him hit rock bottom. That's easy to say -- with a beloved famous person, there will probably always be somebody to do the shit work, even if your friends abandon you. And maybe there were tons of people who walked away from him, and they weren't in the book... Anyway, he had obvious gifts, but it's too bad that he never seemed to be able to put aside his legend and his addictions and move on to other things.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ruth

    This book was a pain in my neck. I was hoping we were done with the privileged white guy, and his drunken ways. But Hunter T. makes your standard inadequate male look like a hero. What a crazy asshole. I don’t care how brilliant he was. I do intend to read his books, it is the least I can do for such a shameful, wasteful life. When Amy Winehouse died, Tony Bennet said she sinned against her talent. That is true of H.T., if you want to concede he was that much of a genius--it might work for you. Jan This book was a pain in my neck. I was hoping we were done with the privileged white guy, and his drunken ways. But Hunter T. makes your standard inadequate male look like a hero. What a crazy asshole. I don’t care how brilliant he was. I do intend to read his books, it is the least I can do for such a shameful, wasteful life. When Amy Winehouse died, Tony Bennet said she sinned against her talent. That is true of H.T., if you want to concede he was that much of a genius--it might work for you. Jan Wenner, the Rolling Stone editor, is a fucking enabler and all caught up in the drama and myth, but who wouldn’t be. More than one person says, if you spent time w/ HT, you did drugs. So there you go. But what becomes really untenable is when he gives people doses of LSD w/out their consent. There you go. In some groups, this behavior would be intolerable. Some people would not want to be friends with a man who was abusive to his family. These people did not live in Owl Crack Colorado, fuck them all. In some ways, this book was great. Quotes from Jimmy Carter, and all sorts of political figures. But I hate the jumpy short attention span snippets that “oral histories” beget. I want to get this book out of my house, it irks me more than it should, I think. I don’t know why, I just hate it. Johnny jump street all bonded with him. I guess if he got me drunk, stoned and coked up, I’d hang out a while too. There’s some Kentucky pussy fog that uses manners as an chit for being a selfish prick later in the day. And he has a fling with Sally Quinn (Bradley) in Washington in the 70s. My sister Mary told me. “Well, Sally got around.” That was worth the whole ordeal.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    There's a scene in Desert Solitaire (I think) where Edward Abbey describes two vultures circling the sky above him and he talks about the privilege of having your bones picked clean by them. By the time I finished reading Gonzo, I felt something like that except the privilege of publicly picking the corpse clean did not result in leaving it with any dignity. I didn't need to know anything about the particulars of Thompson's bodily functions or the point of entry/exit of the bullet. The best parts There's a scene in Desert Solitaire (I think) where Edward Abbey describes two vultures circling the sky above him and he talks about the privilege of having your bones picked clean by them. By the time I finished reading Gonzo, I felt something like that except the privilege of publicly picking the corpse clean did not result in leaving it with any dignity. I didn't need to know anything about the particulars of Thompson's bodily functions or the point of entry/exit of the bullet. The best parts of the book are Doug Brinkley's listing of books that Thompson had read and Deborah Fuller's description of his writing process. What started out as a fine tribute in the magazine comes off as exploitive and tasteless in a larger volume. If the goal here was to debunk the Gonzo myth - that's been done. And that's not my complaint. The book denies Thompson the control over his image as a writer: it nullifies his final act by revealing the very real human who struggled to come to terms with the reality of who he had become. The details of that are a private matter between friends and family.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Interzone

    This book has stolen, or borrowed several memories from another book dealing on HST. Also it should be noted that the introduction by Johnny Depp was not written for this book, but rather was used in an article several years ago for Rolling Stone, he had no say in its publication for the text at hand. Keep in mind that Jann Wenner was on terrible terms with HST during his final days. Anita Thompson (HST's widow) also refused to have any of her words used in the publication of this text leading This book has stolen, or borrowed several memories from another book dealing on HST. Also it should be noted that the introduction by Johnny Depp was not written for this book, but rather was used in an article several years ago for Rolling Stone, he had no say in its publication for the text at hand. Keep in mind that Jann Wenner was on terrible terms with HST during his final days. Anita Thompson (HST's widow) also refused to have any of her words used in the publication of this text leading to further speculation as to the true conditions of this series of memoirs. The whole book appears to be a scheme done by Wenner to earn a few extra dollars using the name in the essence of a true heretic of the and only Hunter S. Thompson. Despicable. However if one is not too familiar with Thompson, his past, and his friendships then by all means go to the library and borrow a copy. The stories are still enlightening and humorous showing his dark sides, comical sides, political sides, and finally the essence of LONO and the instinctive nature of gonzo.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Waite

    Gonzo was published in 2007, but I guess I was busy. Rolling Stone's Jann Wenner and Corey Seymour (mainly Seymour), gathered insight and anecdotes from those closest to him to compile this biography. It's a great read that goes all the way back to his boyhood in Kentucky. It's a must read for anyone who considers themself a fan and fascinating for aspiring writers (who should be forced to sign a contract pinky-swearing to stop trying to be the next Hunter Thompson). However, one should be posit Gonzo was published in 2007, but I guess I was busy. Rolling Stone's Jann Wenner and Corey Seymour (mainly Seymour), gathered insight and anecdotes from those closest to him to compile this biography. It's a great read that goes all the way back to his boyhood in Kentucky. It's a must read for anyone who considers themself a fan and fascinating for aspiring writers (who should be forced to sign a contract pinky-swearing to stop trying to be the next Hunter Thompson). However, one should be positive they want to know the real HST before reading it. The counter-culture stuff attracted us when we were young, but I've grown to like him more as I get older. It might be because adult social roles are such a clusterfuck that curling up with HST at night reminds me I'm not obligated to pretend things are any different from what they are, do things any other way than as I see fit or apologize for any of it. Fuck 'em. His hijinks aren't surprising, but tender memories like those of his high school sweetheart, a friend recollecting the impact of being left in jail after his accomplices had been bailed out by their daddies and his closeness with his mother are endearing. It's also interesting to read the accounts of how his writing and career developed, and how he saw himself as a writer. More importantly, how badly he wanted to be a prolific writer and recognized for it. Sometimes there's an impression that these great writers just got wasted and rambled and magic appeared. Writing is indeed really hard work, and Thompson worked really hard at it. His first wife, Sandy, has a lot of interesting things to say. Not surprisingly, the gist is that he was a super-fun date, not a great boyfriend, even worse husband. That's no surprise, but it's not in the ways I would have thought. He was very bossy and possessive, yet they were both madly in love. She was an educated, independent woman, but she still followed him around the world just taking care of him. She found out they were getting married when he told her so in the car on the way to the wedding after he decided it was time, likely at the urging of his mother. Sandy also gives her account of the infamous Merry Pranksters/Hell's Angels party, which Thompson helped arrange and ended with him walking in on a gang bang. Sandy attests to how sick it made him. Little anecdotes like this pepper the book and confirm that he wasn't the animal his persona portrayed him to be. The animal many fans still seem to want him to have been. Many fans are selfish and dense. Aside: If someone hasn't made a ridiculous porno entitled "The Cum Diary" they should. The book is littered with stories about Thompson being a deadbeat, taking advantage of friends and generally not seeming appreciative or acknowledging what people did for him. He was really bossy. But Rolling Stone's Tim Ferris tells a story about calling Owl Farm right after being laid off. Sandy answered first and mentioned they were having money problems. They only had $400 and nothing expected to come in. Then he talks to HST, mentions getting canned and HST asks Ferris if he needs to borrow money because he could loan him $400. Jann Wenner gives insight into Thompson's writing process as far as Rolling Stone went. It took a harem of babysitters and asskissers to get him to deadline, but the end product was worth it, at least for a few years. In my opinion, the booze and the coke specifically devoured his talent. On the other hand, who would he have been without the booze and the coke. Doesn't matter. In 1974 Wenner and Thompson held a conference in Elko, Nevada with handpicked liberal members of the media (including Sandy Berger and the guy responsible for Ted Kennedy's absurd Chappaquiddick response) to plan a conspiracy to use their positions to win the next election. Assholes (except for Caddel, everyone loves Caddel). It was a disaster, and Wenner comes off as the pompous yin to Bill O'Reilly's yang in this section. Sally Quinn is a piece of shit feminist. She uses her measly paragraph to outline her affair with him and blather about how well he treated her. She isn't an idiot; she had to know that would bother Sandy. I'm not saying she shouldn't have discussed the affair, but the way she did it stunk. Then she dismisses his defamation allegations against her in a later interview as "bluster". It sounds like after Sandy finally left him things got weird, and not in the fun way. He brought in an a series of female assistants who became his girlfriend until they couldn't take it anymore. He seems to have been a lonely man. I don't have a clever transition, but I feel compelled to mention that in 1984 Margot Kidder got an emergency call from him when he needed to be rescued from someplace where he punched a hole in a wall and called Linda Ellerbee a fascist dyke. That is hilarious. The last couple hundred pages are really sad. He was a chronic alcoholic and drug addict, and he was completely out of control. His writing circled the drain, largely because of all the coke. I'm an absurd comparison, but at this point his friends' anecdotes become a justified bitch fest about babysitting him and all the bullshit he put them through. I had a pretty self-destructive period of my own, and there are a handful of people who are fairly cold to me know, and I completely understand. That part of myself disgusted me too; I'm not sure Thompson was that self-aware. .. but then he must have been. I think his real undoing was trying to live up to his persona. What he had to do to be that caricature people wanted could only end one way. "What happened, of course, was more about the image. And the way it turned out was absolutely not the life he dreamed." -Sandy Thompson When Doug Brinkley writes about helping put together the Gonzo papers he mentions that Thompson was very open about himself as far as which letters would be made public, but he was very protective about the women in his life. Anything that would hurt or humiliate them was held back, especially pertaining to Sandy. Most would say the drugs did him in, but that wasn't really it. Two back surgeries (which did require painful alcohol detox processes) and a broken leg left his body in a state he'd never recover from. My personal adoration of him has a fatherly quality to it, which I've always thought was weird. But this stage of his story helped me figure it out. Both men had bigger hearts and felt things more intensely than they'd ever let on, had a charisma which made them bigger than life to those who loved them and both men deplored how their bodies betrayed them as they slowly withered away in their final days. I knew the circumstances of the day he chose to check out, but reading about his physical and emotional agony leading up to it took me back to watching my dad on his death-bed. Some call his suicide courageous and say he went out on his own terms, as if he swaggered across the room with that smile on his face and blew his brains out as another one of crazy Uncle Hunter's stunts. BULLSHIT. It was an act of desperation, albeit a calculated one, that shouldn't be applauded or condemned. Hunter S. Thompson was a force of nature trapped in a long-suffering body who made a willful decision throughout his life to destroy himself in order to keep up the persona we loved (and to get really high). Any HST fan should read Gonzo if only to love and try to understand the man behind the persona. Afterthoughts: His last wife, who I believe still resides at Owl Farm, didn't contribute to the book. They were only married two years and they were volatile ones. Prison Planet suggests his suicide was an inside job to cover up evidence he had that 9/11 was an inside job. As if Hunter Thompson is gonna let George Bush kill him and make it look like a suicide.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ken Heard

    A comprehensive look at the career of Gonzo journalist Hunter Thompson. The oral narration has everything ..from Hunter's Kentucky Derby and Rhode Island yacht racing essays to Fear and Loating in Las Vegas to his eventual demise due to drug and alchohol addiction. As a long-time journalist, I became enamored with Thompson in the early 1980s, reading Shark Hunt and the Fear and Loathing books. I drifted away from him as I got older; the drug usage he bragged of was no longer cool and instead wast A comprehensive look at the career of Gonzo journalist Hunter Thompson. The oral narration has everything ..from Hunter's Kentucky Derby and Rhode Island yacht racing essays to Fear and Loating in Las Vegas to his eventual demise due to drug and alchohol addiction. As a long-time journalist, I became enamored with Thompson in the early 1980s, reading Shark Hunt and the Fear and Loathing books. I drifted away from him as I got older; the drug usage he bragged of was no longer cool and instead wasteful. And Jann Werner indicates this in the book's last chapter. Hunter, who attempted to portray a macho Hemmingwayesque personna, became a stumbling, shambling, crying old man in the end. The stories are funny and poignant and present an unblinking look at a fixture in American writing.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ylenia

    #NonFictionNovember 2016: FASCINATING. My interested for Hunter S. Thompson was born when I was watching Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. At that point, I was only a fan of Depp and even if I fully understood only half of the things that happened in the movie I was captivated by his character. I had this super glamorized version of him in my head. After reading this book it turned out he was definitely more of a piece of shit that I was expecting him to be. But that's fine. I think I knew that but #NonFictionNovember 2016: FASCINATING. My interested for Hunter S. Thompson was born when I was watching Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. At that point, I was only a fan of Depp and even if I fully understood only half of the things that happened in the movie I was captivated by his character. I had this super glamorized version of him in my head. After reading this book it turned out he was definitely more of a piece of shit that I was expecting him to be. But that's fine. I think I knew that but didn't want to admit it to myself. I definitely learned a lot about Thompson from this book and that's the important thing. It helped me understand his works and why and how he wrote certain stuff. It helped me understand him as a person. The format of the book was interesting, kind of like an oral history in book form. Overall, this didn't need to be 500+ pages, but because I was liking reading about him I didn't really care that much.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Gahermi class 5-12

    This book is definitely great.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    A very good oral history of the famed author and journalist.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Hildey

    I cannot imagine the amount of effort that went into interviewing everybody for this. Superb job.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jake Losh

    This is a pretty terrible book. Let's put away the "problematic" subject (HST, himself) for the moment. An "oral biography" is very lazy way to write a biography. It's almost as if Wenner went to the trouble of transcribing all kinds of recorded interviews with HST's pals, but then instead of writing a real biography just decided to copy and paste them together into a narrative. It's not a multi-dimensional portrait: The stories are overwhelmingly laudatory ("Wow, wasn't that a crazy, kooky stor This is a pretty terrible book. Let's put away the "problematic" subject (HST, himself) for the moment. An "oral biography" is very lazy way to write a biography. It's almost as if Wenner went to the trouble of transcribing all kinds of recorded interviews with HST's pals, but then instead of writing a real biography just decided to copy and paste them together into a narrative. It's not a multi-dimensional portrait: The stories are overwhelmingly laudatory ("Wow, wasn't that a crazy, kooky story, you guys?! I wish I could that many drugs!") and we never really get inside of HST's head. Only darkly do we glean what motivated him as a writer, as an artist and as a person. What demons, what unfulfilled aspirations, drove him to drugs and alcohol in the first place? Where did he learn to be so abusive? So charismatic? Sure, it was the '60s. Sure, he had daddy issues. Sure, he had a chip on his shoulder because he ran with the rich kids but he could never be a rich kid. We never really get enough information to know, though. So, those are demerits one and two, in my book: It's a lazy book and it's uninsightful. The book is sexist, both in the wink-and-a-nod way that it glosses over HST's physical, verbal and emotional abuse of the women in his life and in the way that it pays only lip service to the way these women surely contributed to the "genius" of HST (although, there's plenty of ink spilled by women saying he was, "such a gentleman"). HST, remorseless until the end of his life, physically and emotionally abused his wives and girlfriends, the women he putatively loved. Full stop. There's no sweeping that under the rug. That, by definition, makes you a monster. The way the book treats this topic is unconscionable. One interviewee takes pains to avoid saying anything bad about HST, but the subtext is there that HST was beating his first wife. There's a telling testimony from one of those interviewed (I forgot to mark the page) which basically says, "Well, yeah, of course he abused people. What did you expect if you got involved with him? It's your own fault you put yourself in the circumstances." Sorry, but no. That's not ok. But wait, here's another lighthearted story about how Hunter tricks somebody into dropping acid! Now he's doing blow off this lady's tits! That rascal! To the second point, though, the book alludes to the myriad ways the women in HST's life handle his affairs, edit his work, wipe his nose, get him movie and book deals, etc. etc. It also explicitly notes that HST was basically incapable of finishing his own work without extensive hand-holding and nannying. But Wenner never goes that second step to say, "Hey, maybe it was actually the women in his life who polished the excrement he vomited onto a page into something actually worth reading." I think it's worth at least discussing. I'd bet good money these women are more than half of his artistic secret sauce. So that's demerit three: It's sexist on multiple levels. Lastly, I feel like this biography never explains why HST is relevant. Who did he inspire, artistically (besides Johnny Depp)? Who did he inspire journalistically? Who bears the gonzo banner today (Sasha Baron Cohen? Stephen Colbert? John Stewart?)? The book is replete of examples where HST turned and ran because he was a coward, but the book just chalks them up to bad luck (his failed story on the "Rumble in the Jungle"; his failed story in Vietnam; raising his son, who calls him "Hunter", by the way). Why should I admire that? Sure, several of the stories made me laugh out loud: He gets a guy to take 'shrooms and then convinces him it's a good idea to spray paint "fuck the pope" on a yacht; he lets a snake loose in Rolling Stones' offices. Ultimately, though the blow-up dolls and blow wore thin after a while, especially when it was so obvious that he was destroying himself and the lives of those around him. Why honor this man? I have a hard time taking life advice from anybody who ends their lives with a gun in their mouth: His life couldn't have been that awesome if that was the best way for him to go out, I don't care how rosy a picture this book paints. That's the final straw: it fails to make a case for why the man is worth remembering.

  15. 5 out of 5

    J.P.

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Short of hiring a spiritual medium, for insights into the raging ball of contradictions that was Hunter S. Thompson, this is as good as it will get. Unless you're already a fan of the Gonzo journalist, though, the painfully-detailed portrait that emerges here might just turn you off of Thompson forever. As the man himself once said, "Buy the ticket, take the ride." GONZO: the LIFE OF HUNTER S. THOMPSON is an oral biography. That is, it consists of the recollections of Thompson relatives, lovers, Short of hiring a spiritual medium, for insights into the raging ball of contradictions that was Hunter S. Thompson, this is as good as it will get. Unless you're already a fan of the Gonzo journalist, though, the painfully-detailed portrait that emerges here might just turn you off of Thompson forever. As the man himself once said, "Buy the ticket, take the ride." GONZO: the LIFE OF HUNTER S. THOMPSON is an oral biography. That is, it consists of the recollections of Thompson relatives, lovers, friends and associates spanning the course of the writer's 67 years on Earth. The book is edited by Rolling Stone founder Jann S. Wenner and former HST assistant Corey Seymour. Contributors include: Thompson's first wife, Sandy, his son Juan, Gonzo illustrator Ralph Steadman, novelist William Kennedy, Jack Nicholson, Johnny Depp, Don Johnson and George McGovern. A more eclectic and insightful group you're not likely to find. So who was Hunter S. Thompson? A passionate romancer of women. . .who was also a wife-beater. A generous and loyal friend. . .who could shut people out of his life in an instant. A ground-breaking writer, tossing genius prose seemingly off the top of his head. . .who then willingly destroyed his muse in an unabashed pursuit of celebrity. A true believer in the idealistic vision of the 1960s. . .who dumped those high ideals to wallow in the excesses (booze, drugs, sex) of the 1970s and beyond. And at last, a heart-breaking suicide. Chock full of anecdotes which run the gamut from funny to eye-opening to sad, GONZO is a real page-turner. This is one of those books that unspools in your mind like a film---so much so, that you look up only to realize that you've read 75-100 pages or so in one sitting. I would recommend putting it on the nightstand for bedtime reading. . .but then, you'd never get any sleep. If biography can be an art, this is an example of it. GONZO is one ride that is well worth the price of its ticket. Do yourselves a favor and take it.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Cathy

    This book made me think of people with that extra spark. People that believe in themselves so fully that others are magically drawn into their sphere. I can think of only a handful of people I have known that have this power. I admire it - though I see the downside of it, where it can be hard for people like this to empathize with others because they are so centered in their own world. But people in HST's life so wanted to be a part of his world that he could treat them horribly and they'd be ri This book made me think of people with that extra spark. People that believe in themselves so fully that others are magically drawn into their sphere. I can think of only a handful of people I have known that have this power. I admire it - though I see the downside of it, where it can be hard for people like this to empathize with others because they are so centered in their own world. But people in HST's life so wanted to be a part of his world that he could treat them horribly and they'd be right back for more. I'd love to cultivate that leadership quality in myself, but it's a mystery to me how people balance such strong belief in themselves with an equally intense respect for others. The book is fun to read, written from a cross-section of people who were a part of HST's life. In reading HST's books, it seems as if the words came easily - but this biography shows how hard he had to work to say things exactly the way he wanted. Some of the stories make me want to run wild in the country with guns (and THAT is VERY unlike me). Everyone in the book said that HST was always concerned with freedom. Freedom to do whatever he wanted as long as it wasn't hurting others, freedom to live his life to the fullest, and freedom to take his life when he was finished. I value freedom as well, but for me this comes from taking care of myself so that I am free of needing drugs, doctors and "assistants" and freeing my spirit to take real risks and let them lead me to beautiful places.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Bruce

    I had read a couple of books by Hunter S Thompson (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Songs of the Doomed) but knew only a few details of his life. This account is a cleverly edited collection of first-person anecdotes from people who knew Thompson at various stages in his life. Definitely one of the more extreme cases of a troubled genius. There's plenty of stories that don't reflect too well on him but also huge admiration for his creativity and bizarre humor. Highly recommended, and I'm inspired I had read a couple of books by Hunter S Thompson (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Songs of the Doomed) but knew only a few details of his life. This account is a cleverly edited collection of first-person anecdotes from people who knew Thompson at various stages in his life. Definitely one of the more extreme cases of a troubled genius. There's plenty of stories that don't reflect too well on him but also huge admiration for his creativity and bizarre humor. Highly recommended, and I'm inspired to go read a lot more of his writing now.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Steve Kettmann

    I have liked oral biographies ever since I read the George Plimpton/Jean Stein volume "Edie," and for dealing with the outsized legacy of Hunter S. Thompson, I think it was a great choice. In the end this book made me no less intrigued by Thompson the writer, even as I came to understand how blowing it on big stories really did seem to be something essential to his writerly DNA. But what really stayed with me is all the unsavory details of just how beastly HST was to the women in his life. It's I have liked oral biographies ever since I read the George Plimpton/Jean Stein volume "Edie," and for dealing with the outsized legacy of Hunter S. Thompson, I think it was a great choice. In the end this book made me no less intrigued by Thompson the writer, even as I came to understand how blowing it on big stories really did seem to be something essential to his writerly DNA. But what really stayed with me is all the unsavory details of just how beastly HST was to the women in his life. It's always hard to know about these things, since to really get it you have to be there, see for yourself, but there were just too, too many stories of antics that left the women in Thompson's life terrorized and demoralized not to have it leave a kind of stain.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kimmo Sinivuori

    I really like oral histories. Legs McNeils Please Kill Me - The Oral History of Punk is a masterpiece. The thing with oral histories is that you get what you read. This applies to HST particularly well as George McGovern once said that the great thing with HST is that you get what you see. This book has particular credibility as it is compiled by Rolling Stone founder and HST employer Jann Wenner. The variety of characters interviewed is very good. Testimonies by all sorts of people from along HS I really like oral histories. Legs McNeils Please Kill Me - The Oral History of Punk is a masterpiece. The thing with oral histories is that you get what you read. This applies to HST particularly well as George McGovern once said that the great thing with HST is that you get what you see. This book has particular credibility as it is compiled by Rolling Stone founder and HST employer Jann Wenner. The variety of characters interviewed is very good. Testimonies by all sorts of people from along HST's career give a balanced picture of his life. I've read many books about HST and this is along with Ralph Steadman's memoir the best. For new comers and for those who had followed HST's mad career longer alike, this is a very enjoyable read.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    For serious Hunter fans, this book is hard to get through. Written in choppy paragraphs from those who knew him best, the hodge podge makeup paints a picture of HST that most of us already know - and really only serves as a way for Jann and other people in the book to grab onto his celebrity and take a piece of it for themselves.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Bmilioto

    amazing book! author's not too bad, either. amazing book! author's not too bad, either.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Raegan Butcher

    A collection of anecdotes about one of the most unique americans to have ever stomped on the Terra.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Marian

    the man was fantastic, and that's just the truth. the man was fantastic, and that's just the truth.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jake

    A must-read for hunter fans. Probably 3 stars for the uninitiated. The stories rounded out his myth for me.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Zachary

    An individual whose spirit sticks with you long after you've laid down his words. An individual whose spirit sticks with you long after you've laid down his words.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Charlotte

    52 books: A nonfiction book

  27. 5 out of 5

    Eve Kay

    Since my emotional rollercoaster cart went all the way from I HATE IT! I FCKING HATE IT!! to AHAHAHA THAT IS OUTRAGEOUSLY FUNNY! I feel it's only fair to give Gonzo heaps of stars on the rating scale. Any book that does that deserves it. However, I did not find this book well put together, the recollections sometimes either overlapping or just not flowing nicely from one to another and 400 pages of not flowing text, well, it just doesn't work. I have to point out alot of other things as well, an Since my emotional rollercoaster cart went all the way from I HATE IT! I FCKING HATE IT!! to AHAHAHA THAT IS OUTRAGEOUSLY FUNNY! I feel it's only fair to give Gonzo heaps of stars on the rating scale. Any book that does that deserves it. However, I did not find this book well put together, the recollections sometimes either overlapping or just not flowing nicely from one to another and 400 pages of not flowing text, well, it just doesn't work. I have to point out alot of other things as well, and all of them are listed below: Initially I simply wanted to know about events in Thompson's life and about all his trips and journeys. I wanted to read all the crazy stories about what he did and who with. How he got into journalism, writing, how he came up with gonzo, and so on. I don't care much for Johnny Depp. Both Murray and Depp did a great job portraying Thompson in my view. The introduction in itself, though, was already very informative on Thompson's life, so it did promise a good ride. That being said, it doesn't make a difference to me who wrote the introduction. The beginning, Thompson's beginning, doesn't seem to interest me. He's childhood is too far away, too vague and distant. His air force years start to bring his character out and I got a feel for him. Reading about for ex. how he had the balls to f off alot of people but still ran away like a coward. It was funny to read about but at the same time a let down. I started to hope that there comes a time in his life when he faces consequences for his actions. The part in Puerto Rico I feel I already know thanks to reading The Rum Diary. I found it interesting at the time I read it but now reading about it in the form of reality, I found I don't care. On top of it, Bermuda was an idiotic, stupid mishap and I want to facepalm my face to the wall when reading about it. It surprised me how Sandy truly bares all in the book. At least compared to others. And just the whole abusiveness of Thompson, the abortions, the cheating. Tough subjects. Not that I didn't think Thompson was like that, just that she really tells it all to the world. I was only at the beginning and could see what an ahole Thompson truly was. No regard for others. He's the sort of person I don't stand. I can't stand people who manipulate and are overly hyper. Also, he makes himself sound more important than he really is, he puts himself on a pedestal. He doesn't necessarily annoy me, he's just the sort of person who would cause, just by walking into the same room, me to get up and leave the room. Clifford Ridley wrote the most interesting piece, I guess it's because he told about journalism at the time in comparison to now and Thompson's work rather than his personal life. I came to realize early on that I'd rather read about Thompson's work rather than Sandy's opening up about all the babies she miscarried. I came to the conclusion that the oral biographies of the separate people were either way too detailed (Sandy) or mundane and seemingly irrelevant (to me, because at this point I have seemed to lose interest). Reading about Thompson's time with the Hell's Angels was an eyeopener on Thompson as a person. That's when he seems to have started to get into his character and it makes sense since A. it was the means to sell the book and B. he was a coward like Sonny Barger said and he needed a cameo to be somebody, anybody. That's not to take away from his work but I think he needed in his mind something to be in order to be somebody. I understand him but I didn't like the execution. Now, feeling a lot of hate for his way of life. He couldn't even make his own freakin breakfast! Good ole wifey makes brekkie for the hubbie at freakin 5 p.m. My guess is he would've died long before if it weren't for her babying. The political activism in Aspen peaked my interest, I thought to myself "Now we're talking!" But then they all tell about the idiotic Meat Possum Press and their childish antics and I just want to facepalm all over again. Nevertheless, I wanted to know more about his political views and their campaign. At this point I started to yearn these people to tell me Thompsons views and ideas. It seemed though that I wasn't going to get a straight answer out of anybody. Then, there it was, his own writing on his own campaign. Oh no. That's it?! Well, it was cute in a way...and thought provoking... The first time I laughed out loud was on page 127 at Ralph Steadman's account of what happened at a dock once. Just when I had thrown hope out the window for this book, they pulled me right back in! As I went on, I did came to realize Thompson really was a good journalist, I didn't have the same kind of a look into his life before this book. I trusted these oral biographies since I don't have any other source right now. That's why it's so utterly disturbing, so uncomprehendable to read how Sandy saw him as a genius and freakin slaved around him like some concubine. I know I know everybody did drugs back then, and without them saying it out loud, the biographers keep telling me that over and over again. I would guess it helps their conscience. What I'm actually reading through their words is they all had an excuse (drugs) and none of them seriously loved each other, they enabled each other. Most importantly, being as selfish as they were, enabled themselves. No, Thompson wasn't a genius, yes he was good at what he did and obviously had the right drugs to enrich his crazy but he wasn't a genius. So for the love of satan, stop trying desperately to convince me! The more I read extracts of Thompson's texts, I am inclined on believing he is great! But it is just too sad how he needed all those people to get it out of him. Any of it. That he couldn't even work without "lackies" working 24h just for him. It's an illness in itself, not being able to get things done by yourself and those people were just basically whipping it out of him. I'm not even half way and this train wreck waiting to happen has not only crawled under my skin but made a nest and laid eggs! Thompson was the kind of person I wouldn't get along with and don't want to either. When Angelica Hudson described him I could sense she was trying her best to be polite. Obnoxious is the correct term to describe him and she doesn't use it. If I'd see him in a bar and he'd be making noise and drawing attention, I'd just walk out and wouldn't even bother to get to know him. I just can't stand all that need for attention in people, it sickens me. And that's just what the match in Zaire represents. He was left out of something great, something others around him got to experience, and he sat at the freakin pool. That's what happens to people like that, if he's not where it happens he's alone and making excuses all through it "Oh the match didn't matter, it wasn't the point." Whatever dude, you're what's not the point. The time after Sandy left with Juan is boring to read about. The stuff about and conserning Belushi and Murray is interesting because I'm interested in both of them and their careers. But Thompson...well he's just and idiot who didn't learn anything from driving his wife away. And what the fudge, people?! There is a movie being made about the guy you're all telling tales about but everyone seems to greatly dismiss the movie and the making of it. It just kind of baffles me. It's the first movie being made about him so you'd think it was a bigger deal...It's one of those things you could tell more about in a book written about him instead of what he was wearing on a particular day. Started to think 400 pages about his life isn't worth it... Laila happened way too late in Thompson's life. The whole Sandy affair was just a heap of shared sense of shame. Laila could have been something great in his life. All the talk about the guns was way too detailed for a biography, someone could have cut some of the parts out. Also, this part, if any, really proves that some of these people aren't really good story tellers so it might have helped if someone else had done a little bit of work on these recollections. Sometime when I started to read this book, I read somewhere that this book was Wenner's way of making money off of Thompson. I read also that one of his wives didn't even give an interview. As I read this book on and on I got confused. He had so many wives (in my mind) but at the end, when they all discuss his death, I see it, there is no account from Anita. In a way that made me sad. Because if this book really was a meaningful piece of work wouldn't she want to be a part of it? Wouldn't she have something to say. I don't blame Anita. It just proves the point about the book. When it gets to the end and his death, it is all so repetitive that I had to skip some of the parts. Everyone has something to say, yes, but they all have the same thing to say. I'm not surprised he had a lot of connections, that he had a lot of friends and followers. I knew he had connections, friends, followers before starting to read. I knew what he was like and what I was getting into with this book. I knew what I was about to do to myself. And I jumped right in.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Don Gillette

    Probably the best "oral history" I've read of Hunter Thompson even though it's not easy to acknowledge that one of your idols in the journalism field was a narcissistic prick most of the time. This book is a collection of mini-interviews, often only one or two lines, from dozens of people who knew him personally and that set it apart from the rest. Not better than an actual biography, not worse--just apart. Not meaning the following to be a spoiler, it may be: What I discovered in this book that Probably the best "oral history" I've read of Hunter Thompson even though it's not easy to acknowledge that one of your idols in the journalism field was a narcissistic prick most of the time. This book is a collection of mini-interviews, often only one or two lines, from dozens of people who knew him personally and that set it apart from the rest. Not better than an actual biography, not worse--just apart. Not meaning the following to be a spoiler, it may be: What I discovered in this book that others have failed to mention is that although Thompson was wildly funny in print and in person, the "in person" humor was always at somebody's expense; his treatment of wives, girlfriends, and "underlings" was eye-opening even though he seemed to try and mellow in his final years; and his drug and alcohol use wasn't just "for fun" or effect--he was a drug addict and a raging alcoholic. It was interesting to read the back stories on his books and some of his more well-known articles, too, even though it made it more difficult to decide what to believe and what not to believe; what was fact and what was gonzo fiction. Overall, if you're a fan, it's worth the read, but you stand the chance of wishing you hadn't. Sometimes it's better not to know.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kalle Wescott

    I read /Gonzo: The Life of Hunter S. Thompson/, by Jenn Wenner and a cast of dozens, which is a book in print comprised of various people telling Gonzo's history and life story through their perspective: https://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/18/bo... The best part of the book was Hunter's standard rejection letter (he copied it and sent it in response to writing submissions in the 1970s sent to him care of Rolling Stone magazine): "You worthless, acid-sucking piece of illiterate shit! Don’t ever send thi I read /Gonzo: The Life of Hunter S. Thompson/, by Jenn Wenner and a cast of dozens, which is a book in print comprised of various people telling Gonzo's history and life story through their perspective: https://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/18/bo... The best part of the book was Hunter's standard rejection letter (he copied it and sent it in response to writing submissions in the 1970s sent to him care of Rolling Stone magazine): "You worthless, acid-sucking piece of illiterate shit! Don’t ever send this kind of brain-damaged swill in here again! If I had the time, I’d come out there and drive a fucking wooden stake into your skull. Why don’t you get a job, wino? Like maybe as a night watchman, or delivering the Shopping News. You [insert name of city] cocksuckers are all alike—just like those dopeaddled dingbats at Rolling Stone. I could kill those bedwetting bastards for sending me these tedious and embarrassing tissues of delusions… and I wouldn’t mind killing you, too. Stick this manuscript where it belongs: up your ass. Cordially, Yail Bloor Minister of Manuscripts"

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ville Verkkapuro

    This was just what I expected – perfect. Hunter S. Thompsons is such a marvel, a horrible addict and a little child in a man's body. Or as he himself puts it: a teenage girls heart in the body of an aging drug addict. Racist tendencies, bad behavior, unrespectable manners, violent behaviour... and at the same time a gentlemanly softness and buddhist vision and more than meets the eye. I got a great picture of the life of Dr. Thompson as a whole – from childhood until the very last seconds. I loved ev This was just what I expected – perfect. Hunter S. Thompsons is such a marvel, a horrible addict and a little child in a man's body. Or as he himself puts it: a teenage girls heart in the body of an aging drug addict. Racist tendencies, bad behavior, unrespectable manners, violent behaviour... and at the same time a gentlemanly softness and buddhist vision and more than meets the eye. I got a great picture of the life of Dr. Thompson as a whole – from childhood until the very last seconds. I loved every moment. I loved how the biography was constructed: of tiny fragments of interviews of his friends and colleagues. This is how every biography should be done. Hunter was an interesting character and an übermensch in all ways. I love his writing and admire his braveness. It would've been nice to see him be a bit less fucked-up all the time and do a bit more work, maybe his Great Gatsby would've seen the light of day. But hey, fuck it, he was on a path. The path always had him doing all the drugs every day and blowing his brains out at the end of the line.

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