Better than Sex: Confessions of a Political Junkie

Overview

"Hunter S. Thompson is to drug-addled, stream-of-consciousness, psycho-political black humor what Forrest Gump is to idiot savants."
--The Philadelphia Inquirer
Since his 1972 trailblazing opus, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, Hunter S. Thompson has reported the election story in his truly inimitable, just-short-of-libel style. In Better than Sex, Thompson hits the dusty trail again--without leaving home--yet manages to deliver a mind-bending view of the 1992 presidential campaign--in all of its horror, ...
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Overview

"Hunter S. Thompson is to drug-addled, stream-of-consciousness, psycho-political black humor what Forrest Gump is to idiot savants."
--The Philadelphia Inquirer
Since his 1972 trailblazing opus, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, Hunter S. Thompson has reported the election story in his truly inimitable, just-short-of-libel style. In Better than Sex, Thompson hits the dusty trail again--without leaving home--yet manages to deliver a mind-bending view of the 1992 presidential campaign--in all of its horror, sacrifice, lust, and dubious glory. Complete with faxes sent to and received by candidate Clinton's top aides, and 100 percent pure gonzo screeds on Richard Nixon, George Bush, and Oliver North, here is the most true-blue campaign tell-all ever penned by man or beast.
"[Thompson] delivers yet another of his trademark cocktail mixes of unbelievable tales and dark observations about the sausage grind that is the U.S. presidential sweepstakes. Packed with egocentric anecdotes, musings and reprints of memos, faxes and scrawled handwritten notes (Memorable."
--Los Angeles Daily News
"What endears Hunter Thompson to anyone who reads him is that he will say what others are afraid to (.[He] is a master at the unlikely but invariably telling line that sums up a political figure (.In a year when all politics is--to much of the public--a tendentious and pompous bore, it is time to read Hunter Thompson."
--Richmond Times-Dispatch
"While Tom Wolfe mastered the technique of being a fly on the wall, Thompson mastered the art of being a fly in the ointment. He made himself a part of every story, made no apologies for it and thus produced far more honest reporting than any crusading member of the Fourth Estate (. Thompson isn't afraid to take the hard medicine, nor is he bashful about dishing it out (.He is still king of beasts, and his apocalyptic prophecies seldom miss their target."
--Tulsa World
"This is a very, very funny book. No one can ever match Thompson in the vitriol department, and virtually nobody escapes his wrath."
--The Flint Journal

America's greatest gonzo hits the hustings in this hilarious and timely report on last year's hideous race for the White House. The inimitable Thompson takes us on his special brand of a surreal campaign swing--and relives the lowlights, oddities, screwups, and the peculiarly telling moments that define a man and his longings. Thompson is the bestselling author of Generation of Swine.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345396358
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/28/1995
  • Series: Gonzo Papers , #4
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 446,798
  • Product dimensions: 6.05 (w) x 9.15 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Hunter S. Thompson
Hunter S. Thompson
To summarize Hunter S. Thompson’s career is nearly impossible. His writing covered sports, politics, personal letters, social commentary, and Gonzo Journalism -- his own brand of hyper-subjective observation of nearly everything that crosses his path. A welcomed troublemaker, the name Hunter S. Thompson conjures the image of a man bearing firearms and whiskey, daring his readers to question their realities.

Biography

Hunter S. Thompson has always had taste for starting trouble. As an ornery Kentucky kid, he was the undisputed leader of the pack, getting himself and his willing followers into trouble. Not much has changed -- Thompson still has throngs of supporters and fans and is now an icon of outspoken, unapologetic social commentary.

Thompson realized in high school that he didn't fit in with society at large. Seeking direction, he joined the Air Force after graduation, determined to be a pilot. While on the long waiting list for pilot training, Thompson was offered a position as an editor and sportswriter for Elgin Air Force Base's The Command Courier. He jumped at the chance, quickly excelled as a journalist, and even began moonlighting at a local paper. Despite his numerous offenses against military protocol, he was given an honorable discharge in 1957.

Thompson knew that writing was going to be a fixture in his life. He was an avid letter writer, often mixing fact and fantasy. After allegedly stealing a box of carbon paper when he left the Air Force, he began keeping copies every letter he sent. Eventually, his letters would be published in The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman 1955-1967 (The Fear and Loathing Letters), three books of love letters, correspondence with his family, and scathing complaint letters to companies Thompson deemed bad for society. The collection is considered a must-read for the glimpse it gives of how desperately Thompson wanted to be a writer.

After the Air Force, Thompson bounced through newspaper jobs, barely making ends meet and working on his first novel, the still unpublished Prince Jellyfish. In 1960 Thompson moved to Puerto Rico. It was less than ideal -- paychecks bounced regularly -- but his time in the Caribbean yielded The Rum Diary. Thompson tried to sell the novel to Random House in the 1960s, but they declined (it was eventually published in 1998).

Thompson's first novel, Hell's Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga, came out in 1966, catapulting him to fame and intriguing readers with his fast-paced writing and mischievous, wicked sense of humor. With the success of Hell's Angels, Random House finally purchased The Rum Diary. However, as legend has it, Hunter felt that it needed more work, so he convinced a Random House secretary to steal his manuscript back for him.

By the time Thompson released Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream in 1971, he had perfected his signature style, Gonzo Journalism: wild and erratic, capturing events as they happen, stripped of motive yet decidedly fictionalized. Thompson isn't a passive observer but is instead another one of his freaked-out characters. In the voice of Thompson's alter ego, Raoul Duke, he and his attorney, Oscar Acosta (Dr. Gonzo), go on a destructive drug binge while traveling to Las Vegas to report on a motorcycle race and crash a district attorneys' convention. Thompson found an artistic counterpart in illustrator Ralph Steadman, who designed this cover and others. It's classic Thompson and in 1998 was made into a movie staring Johnny Depp.

A self-proclaimed political junkie, Thompson gave his readers a glaring testimony of the truth and lies found while following the 1972 presidential race in Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72. In fact, one of Thompson's grand, recurring themes is the myth of the American Dream. The four-volume Gonzo Papers consists of articles, essays, and fiction. They are a massive attempt to expose the failure of the American Dream and show where hope is still possible. The four volumes, in order, are The Great Shark Hunt: Strange Tales from a Strange Time (1979), Generation of Swine:Tales of Decadence and Degradation in the Eighties (1988), Songs of the Doomed: More Notes on the Death of the American Dream (1990) and Better than Sex: Trapped like a Rat in Mr. Bill's Neighborhood (1994).

In 1980, Running magazine sent Thompson to Hawaii to cover the Honolulu Marathon. Friend and illustrator Ralph Steadman joined Thompson for the trip, and the result was The Curse of Lono, a fully illustrated, colorful, and strange mix of fiction and travelogue. Another oddity in Thompson's collection of works is his notorious 1991 release, Screwjack, a limited-print novella containing three short stories, ostensibly written by alter ego Raoul Duke.

In Thompson's 2003 release, Kingdom of Fear, he seems to have broken the rules one more time and written his own biography. The book tracks the life of a rebel -- the formative experiences of a wisecracking southern boy questioning authority and the unorthodox journalist who came to personify genre-bending, mind-bending outlaw stories.

Thompson's final book, Hey Rube (2004) brings him full circle; it's a sample of his columns from his stint as a sportswriter for ESPN.com. Thompson doles out searing indictments and uproarious rants while providing brilliant commentary on politics, sex, and sports -- at times all in the same column. Proving once again that he's on top of his game, his keen eye for corruption is as sharp and unforgiving as ever.

Fans and friends were shocked and saddened to learn of Thompson's death in February, 2005. While his narratives are often weird and ugly, he will always be respected and hailed as a professional risk taker, legendary agitator, and literary genius.

Good To Know

True to form, Hunter S. Thompson missed his high school graduation because he was in jail at the time, serving a six-week sentence for robbery.

Thompson once ran for sheriff of Aspen, Colorado, under his own Freak Party, whose platform included changing the city's name to Fat City in hopes of scaring off corporate investors.

Thompson was the original inspiration for Uncle Duke, a larger-than-life controlled substances buff created by Doonesbury cartoonist Gary Trudeau.

Mötley Crüe named their Generation Swine album after Volume Two of Thompson's Gonzo Papers. The book dealt with the debauchery and decadence of the era, and they found it perfect for their sleazy, irreverent brand of rock 'n' roll.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Hunter Stockton Thompson (full name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      July 18, 1937
    2. Place of Birth:
      Louisville, Kentucky
    1. Date of Death:
      February 20, 2005
    2. Place of Death:
      Woody Creek, Colorado

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 17, 2012

    Got to love sex

    Best said in the opening page, “when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro,” in Better than Sex: Confessions of a Political Junkie by Hunter S. Thompson delves into the most perverse scene of all politics.
    The book is like a collection of random thoughts, journals, and scrap book materials. The subject revolves around politics but in Gonzo journalism style Hunter does not limit his continuous stream of consciousness.
    Thompson shares his unsavory view of the comeback kid, Bill Clinton but does include correspondence from the Prez. He developed some interesting relationships including George Stephanopoulos and the raging cajun’ James Carville.
    He ends in chapter 666, an appropriate tribute to his muse and nemesis Richard Nixon.
    Better than Sex: Confessions of a Political Junkie by Hunter S. Thompson is another stab of understanding politics through Dr.Gonzo himself.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2007

    Some glipses of old HST, but not quite the same

    At certain points in the book I felt as if I was reading some of his earlier writing from the 60s and 70s. His witty and twisted remarks made me laugh out loud on many occasions, not to mention the light he shed on certain obvious yet unnoticeable issues until just the right comments articulated them. Sadly, this was not common throughout majority of the book. Many times the topics and letters that were covered really shed no insight into anything and didn't lead anywhere. And through most of the text, that niche that made him so entertaining and interesting just wasn't there. I would recommend this book to only his bigger fans, but if you were looking for some of his truly best stuff the earliest works are probably probably what you are looking for.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted October 25, 2008

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    Posted July 12, 2012

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    Posted December 27, 2008

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    Posted February 12, 2011

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