From the king of “Gonzo” journalism and bestselling author who brought you Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas comes another astonishing volume of letters by Hunter S. Thompson.
Brazen, incisive, and outrageous as ever, this second volume of Thompson’s private correspondence is the highly anticipated follow-up to The Proud Highway. When that first book of letters appeared in 1997, Time pronounced it "deliriously entertaining"; Rolling Stone called it "brilliant beyond description"; and The New York Times celebrated its "wicked humor and bracing political conviction."
Spanning the years between 1968 and 1976, these never-before-published letters show Thompson building his legend: running for sheriff in Aspen, Colorado; creating the seminal road book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas; twisting political reporting to new heights for Rolling Stone; and making sense of it all in the landmark Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72. To read Thompson's dispatches from these years—addressed to the author's friends, enemies, editors, and creditors, and such notables as Jimmy Carter, Tom Wolfe, and Kurt Vonnegut—is to read a raw, revolutionary eyewitness account of one of the most exciting and pivotal eras in American history.
"The years that were covered in these letters," says Thompson, "were like riding on a bullet train... with no sleep and no wires to hang on to." Apparently he hung onto his typewriter, though, churning out not only his drugged-up, wigged-out road book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and similarly outrageous articles for Rolling Stone but also for letter after lengthy letter, in the same white-hot, turbo-charged style. Thompson altered permanently the nature of political journalism by injecting into his reportage the personal and the pathological, and this second volume of letters reads like rehearsals for his more public utterances, almost every page ringing with the sound of gunfire, revving motorcycle engines and partying that began at a level where most partying ends. What may surprise readers is the sweetness of much of the writing. While Thompson's correspondents include a virtual who's who of the era, from Tom Wolfe and Kurt Vonnegut to Jimmy Carter and George McGovern, he wrote to his fans like a kind if slightly deranged uncle, trying to convince one not to join the Hell's Angels, offering a second help with her term paper. Despite the occasional lollipop, however, Thompson's strong suit is still invective, of which he remains the unsurpassed master. It's been 30 years since his series of sulfurous missives to a local Colorado TV station for showing only "the cheapest, meanest swill" and to mail-order companies that dared send the journalist from hell what he deemed shabby merchandise, but surely Thompson's name still provokes shudders at the Alaska Sleeping Bag Company and elsewhere. B&w photos.