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Outlaw Journalist: The Life and Times of Hunter S. Thompson
     

Outlaw Journalist: The Life and Times of Hunter S. Thompson

5.0 1
by William McKeen
 

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“Gets it all in: the boozing and drugging . . . but also the intelligence, the loyalty, the inherent decency.” —Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post
Hunter S. Thompson detonated a two-ton bomb under the staid field of journalism with his magazine pieces and revelatory Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. In Outlaw Journalist, the famous inventor of

Overview

“Gets it all in: the boozing and drugging . . . but also the intelligence, the loyalty, the inherent decency.” —Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post
Hunter S. Thompson detonated a two-ton bomb under the staid field of journalism with his magazine pieces and revelatory Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. In Outlaw Journalist, the famous inventor of Gonzo journalism is portrayed as never before. Through in-depth interviews with Thompson’s associates, William McKeen gets behind the drinking and the drugs to show the man and the writer—one who was happy to be considered an outlaw and for whom the calling of journalism was life.

Editorial Reviews

Louisville Courier-Journal
“A definitive biography. . . . [McKeen] presents the life of this gifted yet troubled artist, warts and all, and he also takes the full measure of Thompson’s journalistic accomplishment . . . a comprehensive portrait.”
New York Observer
“The best record to date of Thompson’s life.”
Miami Herald
“Essential.”
Greg Palast
“Read it or die.”
Jonathan Yardley
A professor of journalism at the University of Florida, [McKeen] is susceptible to moments of Hunter-worship…but manages to tell Thompson's story in a straightforward way. Certainly, he gets it all in: the boozing and drugging, the histrionics, the womanizing, the violence, but also the intelligence, the loyalty, the inherent decency. Over the long haul, Thompson won't be much more than a footnote in American literary history, but in his day he set off plenty of explosions, and he was a lot of fun to watch. At his best, he was even more fun to read.
—The Washington Post
Kirkus Reviews
McKeen (Journalism/Univ. of Florida; Highway 61: A Father-and-Son Journey Through the Middle of America, 2003) resurrects the Good Doctor with a solid treatment of his life and work. Since Thompson's suicide more than three years ago, there have been countless memorials and appraisals of his career, including longtime artistic collaborator Ralph Steadman's meandering The Joke's Over (2006). McKeen stays on task, maintaining a well-paced narrative as he works his way through Thompson's life, the details of which are by now quite well-known: athletics-filled but troublemaking childhood in Louisville ("I look back on my youth with great fondness," the author once wrote, "but I would not recommend it as a working model for others"); brief stint in the Air Force; frequent rejections of his first two novels, Prince Jellyfish and The Rum Diary (which was eventually published in 1998); long, up-and-down relationship with the editors at Playboy and Jann Wenner at Rolling Stone; redemptive success with Hell's Angels (1966) and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1972); increasingly erratic behavior, embodied by his alter-ego, Raoul Duke, and spurred on by his relationship with Mexican-American activist and attorney Oscar Zeta Acosta; seclusion on his ranch in Woody Creek, Colo.; calculated suicide in 2005. Thompson's unrivaled substance abuse and explosive personality were the stuff of legend, but McKeen, employing readable, lively prose, does a fine job excavating other aspects of his character, digging deeper than most of his previous biographers to reveal a vital component of Thompson's genius: "Part of Hunter's art was collecting the right people, putting them all together, and seeing whathappened." Carefully avoiding hagiography, however, the author gamely explores the darker side of Thompson's nature as well. Throughout, Thompson's slavish devotion to his search for the American Dream provides the narrative's binding thread: "The Dream obsessed him . . . but what was it? Was it Horatio Alger, rags to riches, the idea that you could start with nothing and end up rolling naked in stacks of hundreds? Or was it a dream of freedom? Personal freedom . . . or the concept of freedom that the founders brought into the world?"A welcome addition to the Gonzo library and one of the best starting points for HST novices-at least until Douglas Brinkley decides to publish his eagerly awaited version of events. Agent: Jane Dystel/Dystel & Goderich Literary Management

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393335453
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
07/13/2009
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
464
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.20(d)

Meet the Author

William McKeen is the author of Highway 61 and editor of Rock and Roll Is Here to Stay. A journalism professor at the University of Florida, he lives with his family near Wacahoota, Florida.

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Outlaw Journalist: The Life and Times of Hunter S. Thompson 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
StuIsLegend More than 1 year ago
HST Lives on in this book!!!
hunterfan More than 1 year ago
This a great bio of the most revolutionary journalist of our times. William McKeen gives a fair but honest portrayal of his life, using passages from some of his works. It was the first biographical read for me that I was unable to put down. After I finished, it was hard for me to get Hunter out of my mind. It was a feeling not unlike seeing a movie that stays with you. I've already bought an extra copy as a gift.