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The Proud Highway is a literary milestone. The first volume in Hunter S. Thompson's intimate letters begins with a high school essay written in 1955, and takes us through 1967, when the publication of Hell's Angels made the author an international celebrity. Thompson's prolific and often profound correspondence gives us an unforgettable insight into the world during the Cold War era, as well as an authoritative introduction to the cultural revolution of the sixties. With a vicious eye for detail and rude wit he writes to such luminaries as Norman Mailer, Tom Wolfe, Lyndon Johnson and Joan Baez. These letters represent the evolution of the original, a singular voice defying an era of banality, and cements Thompson's reputation as one of the great romantic journalistic figures of our time.
Thompson (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas), according to editor Brinkley, has written more than 20,000 letters. For bile and outrageousness, this first volume in a collection of those letters to friends, editors, agents and others is peerless. When literary agent Sterling Lord declined to represent him, Thompson threatened to "cave in your face and scatter your teeth all over Fifth Avenue." Struggling to earn a living by freelancing, the author wrote President Johnson (addressed as "Dear Lyndon"), requesting he appoint Thompson governor of American Samoa to afford him a "pacific place" in which to write a novel "of overwhelming importance." Railing against corruption and stupidity, temperamentally unable to suffer the authority of fools, Thompson cannot keep regular jobs and roams the world, forever struggling for money and desperate for recognition of his considerable talent. But he doesn't hesitate to address the few writers and editors he admires with requests for help, comments on their work or generous praise. By turns exasperating and entertaining, this is also a devastating portrait of the writer as an incorrigible outsider.