Top critical review
Fear and Loathing overload?...
on 4 November 2015
Fear and Loathing in the bunker, at the super bowl, at the Watergate, in Washington. These are just some of the titles of the stories here, so good to see that they got their monies worth out of that idea. I haven’t read Thompson since the 90s so I was interested to see what it would be like reading him now. At his best he is a passionate, gritty, bold and amusing scribe, who can get under the skin, but he is far from a great writer and I’m not sure it stands up so well now.
This is very much a mixed bag. The coverage of Richard Nixon’s campaigns are a little overdone and the all pervading mood of excess and anarchy that informs almost every story definitely grows a little weary, monotonous and predictable after over 600 pages. At worst the Nixon section grows bloated, repetitive and dated, considering it largely refers to an election campaign from over 40 years ago, many of the players are unknown and obscure today so this involves a bit of research from the reader if you want to get a better, informed flavour.
He does a really interesting job of tackling the Carter 76 campaign and he also paints some very interesting portraits of Muhammad Ali, Jean Claude Killy, Oscar Acosta and Ralph Steadman amongst others. Overall this is a decent enough read to dip in and out of over time, but there are no shortage of dry, monotonous passages and stories that don’t really go anywhere and will leave you cold.