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The Fear and Loathing Letters
     

The Fear and Loathing Letters

by Hunter S. Thompson, Douglas Brinkley (Editor)
 

Before there was Gonzo, there was just plain Hunter — a precocious, earnest, and occasionally troublesome honor student in Louisville, Kentucky.

Before there was Doctor Thompson, there was Airman Thompson — the military's answer to Grantland Rice, protecting America by covering sports for his Florida base's newspaper.

Before there was Fear and

Overview

Before there was Gonzo, there was just plain Hunter — a precocious, earnest, and occasionally troublesome honor student in Louisville, Kentucky.

Before there was Doctor Thompson, there was Airman Thompson — the military's answer to Grantland Rice, protecting America by covering sports for his Florida base's newspaper.

Before there was Fear and Loathing,there was Dow Jones — that is, Thompson's early reportage for that company's National Observer, which raised the standard for hip and provocative foreign coverage.

Before there was Rolling Stone, there were job applications everywhere — in hopes of being hired by a paper, pretty much any paper, an obsession for the starving writer with expensive tastes in alcohol, nicotine, and room service.

In The Proud Highway, readers will find a Hunter S. Thompson they've imagined but never known. With the publication of these extraordinary letters, written from the time of his high school graduation in 1955 through the triumph of his first book, Hell's Angels, in 1966, critics and fans can finally trace the development and maturation of a singular talent, one of our era's most important voices. How Thompson changed the face of contemporary nonfiction — and of America itself — is the mesmerizing story of The Proud Highway.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
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. (June)
Library Journal
"I'm already the new Fitzgerald," Thompson declares gamely at age 19, in 1957, as his cracking lifelong correspondence gets under way. "I just haven't been recognized yet." The original gonzo journalist, who struck the big time with his book on the Hell's Angels ten years later (when this first volume of correspondence terminates), amply displays his talent for braggingand barkingin these self-consciously irreverent, wordy, and often tender letters he was fond of banging out impulsively to friends like William J. Kennedy (Ironweed); magazine editors from whom he hoped to scare up work; youths who asked for career advice; Lyndon Johnson, when asking for the job of governor of American Samoa; and writers whose work he read with violent pleasure or loathing (Norman Mailer, William Styron, Nelson Algren). Thompson enjoyed messing up wherever he could but he never lost a grip on his desire to become a damn good writer. This is a shot in the liver for struggling writers and a searing testimony to an important moment in American journalism. Highly recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/1/97.]Amy Boaz, "Library Journal"

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780679406952
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/06/1997
Series:
Fear and Loathing Letters Series
Pages:
683
Product dimensions:
6.64(w) x 9.58(h) x 1.79(d)

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
July 18, 1937
Date of Death:
February 20, 2005
Place of Birth:
Louisville, Kentucky
Place of Death:
Woody Creek, Colorado
Education:
U.S. Air Force, honorably discharged in 1957

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