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The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967 : 1955-67, Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman v. 1 Hardcover – 2 Sep 1997

4.9 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 685 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; First edition (2 Sept. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747537518
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747537519
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 6 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 564,718 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

The Proud Highway is the first in an anticipated three- volume collection of the letters of Hunter S. Thompson. It includes letters spanning a 12-year period, during which time Thompson survived his first incarceration, graduated from high school, was discharged from the Air Force, drank to excess, wrote prolifically in obscurity and finally achieved notoriety with the publication of Hell's Angels, his first successful book. The letters are frantic and comedic, self- righteous and intensely cynical. He writes to friends and family, famous authors he admired and even the president of the United States. As Thompson travels from New York City to Puerto Rico, then on to South America and Northern California, his letters trace the development and refinement of his talent. This collection of Thompson's early writings paints a portrait of the man before words like "Gonzo", "Doctor" and "fear and loathing" were inextricably linked to his name, revealing the unrestrained ego that serves as the foundation for the talent of this popular and important American writer. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

Here, for the first time, is the private and most intimate correspondence of one of America's most influential and incisive journalists--Hunter S. Thompson. In letters to a Who's Who of luminaries from Norman Mailer to Charles Kuralt, Tom Wolfe to Lyndon Johnson, William Styron to Joan Baez--not to mention his mother, the NRA, and a chain of newspaper editors--Thompson vividly catches the tenor of the times in 1960s America and channels it all through his own razor-sharp perspective. Passionate in their admiration, merciless in their scorn, and never anything less than fascinating, the dispatches of The Proud Highway offer an unprecedented and penetrating gaze into the evolution of the most outrageous raconteur/provocateur ever to assault a typewriter. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book, a collection of Thompson's early letters to friends and associates as well as potential (or soon to be ex) employers, is outstanding in every way.
The great selection of the letters together with Thompson's unparralelled ability to express himself via the written word creates an amazing voyage through his early career.
Starting in earnest with his initial career in the Airforce and concluding with him on the cusp of the greatness to come, the book takes us on this journey through his own eyes. I was amazed at how lucid and absorbing a book made up entirely of corresponance could be - only a man of Hunter S's ability to express through language could have succeeded in this achievement. Those who have read the Great Shark Hunt will be transfixed, those who haven't should. An absolute must for anyone with any interest in HST, the sixties, american literature or indeed anyone who just enjoys a damn good book. Outstanding. I just can't wait for Volume 2.
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Format: Hardcover
I have neaver been one for openly laughing in public places. But this cracked me up. This is Hunter at his most human and his most pithy. You get to see the seeds of disillusionment being sown, and growing into the tree of dissatisfaction. An insight into the life of Hunter Thompson, aspiring writer, Hunter the family man, and introduces you to the many facets of the man perhaps not thought of in the drug addled rush of gonzo journalism. This is a cracking book and I can't wait for the next two volumes.
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By A Customer on 21 Feb. 2005
Format: Paperback
I am sad at hearing of the death of this GREAT man today.
Hunter R.I.P. - you have been an inspiration to me ever since I read The Great Shark Hunt about 20 years ago. Since then I have read almost everything you published and everything I can find that has been written about you.... A true Hero.
This collection of HST's early writing is as inspiring as his later works. It helped me to understand more about what made him and what makes him tick. Above all, HST, more than any other writer, has helped me understand more about why the western world is as it is.
I would recommed anyone new to HST starts with The Great Shark Hunt and then on to this wonderful volume.
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By A Customer on 17 Sept. 1997
Format: Hardcover
For those who have mourned Thompson's extended plummet into pathetic self-indulgent schtick, this book is a reminder of what we lost. The central theme of the book turns out to be poverty and desparation as a catalyst for creativity. The letters are stunning. There is something fundamentally reassuring about a guy who hocks his beloved high-powered rifle to feed his writing habit. In retrospect, though, and with the hindsight provided by the hideous crap Thompson has foisted upon us since about 1976 (with the notable exception of Curse of Lono), the letters really become the tale of a tormented artist desparately seeking to escape his muse. Regrettably, Thompson succeeded. The story told by the letters and Thompson's later work is that Thompson was only willing to try to satisfy the demands of his talent for so long as he had to try to survive. Like so much of his recent work, this book is a monument to avoiding more creation. I'm certain that Thompson put these letters together not for the remarkable work that they are, but to keep himself in barbituates and hunting knives -- or whatever he is currently using to distract him from his lost art. For once, though, Thompson's fear has outsmarted him. In his continuing effort to find an easy way to cash -in his reputation without actually writing, he accidently provided something worth reading.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The first volume of HST correspondence follows his faltering steps into journalism but first there is an obsession with becoming a novelist the `great Puerto Rican novel' which in a strange twist of fate was only published posthumously. This volume covers his radicalisation, identification with the wild, poor and disposed but predominantly the struggle against poverty. This explains much of what is to follow the excesses and the counter culturalism. Thankfully there are the feuds, rants against banality, firearms and run ins with authority. He wars with the New York Times, offers his services to LBJ as Governor of American Samoa and gives the back story to the Hells Angels. Surprising perhaps the voice is strong and howling from the outset that makes this early tome worth the effort.
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Format: Hardcover
This chronicle of the great Doctors life during the 60's is both fascinating, and at times terrifying. It is amazing how one man can go through so mcuh, and yet find such lttle reward from those around him. The highlight of the book in my mind is the letter involving Thompson being fired for attacking a candy machine. Pure gonzo journalism that never relinquishes.
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Format: Paperback
I started reading this four or five years ago,got about a fifth of the way through it and put it on the shelf.I guess I was wanting drug addled ranting at the time which is not really what this book is made of.However on picking the book up again recently in a more open and mature state of mind I found it to be a thoroughly good insight into the mans character and sometimes dire (mostly self-inflicated) situations he faced as a young man learning his trade.
The book is well edited with notes between the correspondences regarding the situations at hand and information on the characters involved.
I've read a couple of biographies on HST but this gives a much more in- depth understanding and altogether more complete idea not only of the man in question, but also the workings of the world of journalism and the general political state of the world at the time (which remains depressingly similar to the present).
For me the book started off as a bit of a slog but as progresses it builds into a compelling structure of HST's inner workings thats well worth the ride.
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