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Fear and Loathing in America: The Brutal Odyssey of an Outlaw Journalist (Gonzo Letters) Hardcover – 1 Nov 2000


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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 784 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall & IBD (1 Nov 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 068487315X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684873152
  • Product Dimensions: 24.3 x 16.8 x 4.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,424,302 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Louisville's finest returns with another huge batch of his private correspondence, hammered out from Woody Creek on his typewriter with the frenzied rat-tat-tat report of shots from the hip. Covering the Wonder Years, from the election of Nixon (which first fired his invective), Vietnam, the 1972 campaign, publication of the instantly notorious Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, to Watergate, the walking pharmacy reveals himself to be a surprisingly dedicated librarian, having dutifully filed carbons of all his correspondence for such an eventuality. By 1968, the success of Hell's Angels had seen his stock, if not his income, rise, and on the magazine Scanlan Monthly was born Gonzo journalism, dismissing objectivity for furious spontaneity fired from both barrels. However, the hidden image on the Polaroid was a bleary-eyed moralist in deadly earnest, uncontrollably seized by the free-associative rantings of a Tourette's sufferer.

The good doctor sees himself, the sub-title suggests, as an outlaw journalist. He certainly wants to resettle his country, and in many ways these 750 pages read as a "Dear John" from an estranged and bitterly spurned lover, the offending suitor being the American Dream. It's no coincidence that Gatsby, that symbol of its empty heart, is a recurrent reference. In fact, a book about the Death of the Dream was the white elephant that stalked these years, the Big Work that never happened. At least this volume contains much invention, not least of the self, and, if not always sober, then certainly incisive thinking, whether he's addressing fellow Gonzoid Ralph Steadman, Tom Wolfe or the Alaska Sleeping Bag Company. He claims his business is "defusing bombs and disarming landmines", a disingenuous reversal of how he often seems to be acting. An iconic reputation became his ball and chain, and he grew into a love/hate figure, particularly to himself, resembling an outrageous uncle at a family party. He was to become worshipped beyond his means, but for this period, while he huffed and puffed to blow Nixon's White House down, he remained a legend in his own overblown inkdom, something these letters vividly capture. --David Vincent --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Hunter S. Thompson's books include Hell's Angels, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72, The Proud Highway, Better Than Sex, and the Rum Diary. A regular contributor to various national and international publications, Thompson now lives in a fortified compound near Aspen, Colorado --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By C. Bale on 17 Mar 2004
Format: Paperback
Although at times this collected volume of letters drags in places, there's more than enough to keep your interest. The self obsessed, angry and thoroughly unlikable Dr. Gonzo takes us on a tour of his life by means of personal correspondence. Learn the truth behind "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas". See how his relationship with Oscar Acosta grew and fell apart. Not an autobiography, and one wishes by the end a comprehensive, unsensationalised biography of the Dr. would be written. Alongside this, I'd recommend "Hunter" by E. Jean Carrol. Not a perfect biography, but you get to see Hunter S. Thompson through eyes other than his own, domestic violence and all. Inspite of his many flaws, Dr. Gonzo demands a sort of crazed respect. Just don't try to base your own life on his. Believe me, it ain't fun.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 7 Jan 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is a great book altogether. It's full of the usual Thompson ranting and raving and railing against everything and everybody, and provides you with more than you would possibly want to know about the man. But that's also the problem here: Thompson is such a crazed, ultimately unlikeable individual (his solution to his wife's depression at a miscarriage? Why, a two-day mescaline binge for the two of them, of course!) that any view you previously had of him is seriously compromised. There is some great writing here, and it fills in a lot of blanks about the creation of Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas, but Fear And Loathing In America will ultimately leave a bad taste in your mouth. Next move's yours.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Harry Fish on 22 April 2001
Format: Hardcover
This substantial collection takes the reader through the deranged Doctors finest years. Through his raw correspondence the reader gets a glimpse at the force that drives the King of Gonzo. The book covers the years during which 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas' and 'Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail' were written and published. The wierd ride that is Thompsons life rushes along at pace and you fast become addicted to his style. There is a much greater concentration of letters from the more intense periods of his life such as the run for Aspen Sheriff in 1970. The insights that the letters provide could be a manual for any aspiring writer, politician or dealer. Such is the breadth of his undeniable genius. Buy this book, you will be glad.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By prkdobb@hotmail.com on 19 Feb 2001
Format: Hardcover
I eagerly awaited this new volume of Hunter S Thompson's letters and was of course not dissapointed by the contents. Like all of his writing it is full of humour, anger and violence that will amuse and terrify the reader. however, just as The Proud Highway did, this book offers us another perspective. It deals with the constant struggle of trying to make your mark as a writer and not sinking into poverty at the same time. Having built such a savage reputation of being seemingly untouchable by both nature and the law, it is interesting to see from some of the letters that Thompson is human after all and does suffer like the rest of us. Fans and new readers of the great gonzo journalist should enjoy this immensely.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Being a disciple of all Hunter's works (even the less popular e.g.better than sex, Hey Rube...) I wasn't sure what to expect from another collection of private letters & papers, yet I considered this an essential purchase rather than not!
Well I hadn't expected such a weight of paperback for the price (doorstop sized & attractively bound) so I dived in & was in Gonzo heaven straight from Hunter's introductory thoughts on speed, the vile Nixon & good ole Bob Dylan...

The letters range from personal, playful, desperate to damn right hilarious & smattered with customary bile stains where the recipitent required it! If you're not used to Hunter's style of writing & familiar with his compilations, eclectic as they are bizarre & adventurous then you may find Fear & Loathing in America a little daunting but if you can empathise with what was after all in Hunter's own words 'A brutal age of Nixon & Tet fuelled by speed & bad debt!', then it might all seem a little confusing or irrelevant. The sense of social & historic detail that is under discussion is nicely explained in a brief keynote at the start of every letter which is most helpful indeed.

Personally I'd submit full 5 marks overall as for the price paid & the quality of these most intimate pearls & I hope there are more to come. Gonzo never died, he only left the building!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Rich Ward on 10 Sep 2004
Format: Paperback
This 2nd volume of collected letters covers probably the most fertile period of HST's professional life to date, that gave rise to his best known works: Fear and loathing in Las Vegas and Fear and loathing on the campaign trail. A common thread running throughout is Thompson's plans to write a book on the death of the american dream, a project he has yet to fully realise, but that has been a recurrent theme in his work. you also get a good insight into how F&L in Las Vegas was written (basically it's two 'assignments' stuck together) and how Thompson worked during that time.
There is also a whole series of letters covering his failed run for the office of Sheriff, which makes for interesting reading.
However, most importantly of all, what you get here is the picture of a man who, despite his cartoonish public persona, is actually a thoroughly decent person, who,though harsh with his enemies,is gentle and generous with his friends and family.
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