Few American lives are stranger, more action-packed, or wilder than that of Hunter S. Thompson. Born a rebel in Louisville, Kentucky, Thompson spent a lifetime channeling his energy and insight into such landmark works as Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas - and his singular and provocative style challenged and revolutionized writing.
Now, for the first time ever, Jann Wenner and Corey Seymour have interviewed the Good Doctor's friends, family, acquaintances and colleagues and woven their memories into a brilliant oral biography. From Hell's Angels leader Sonny Barger to Ralph Steadman to Jack Nicholson to Jimmy Buffett to Pat Buchanan to Marilyn Manson and Thompson's two wives, son, and longtime personal assistant, more than 100 members of Thompson's inner circle bring into vivid focus the life of a man who was even more complicated, tormented, and talented than any previous portrait has shown. It's all here in its uncensored glory: the creative frenzies, the love affairs, the drugs and booze and guns and explosives and, ultimately, the tragic suicide. As Thompson was fond of saying, "Buy the ticket, take the ride."
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Jann S. Wenner is the founder, owner and editor of Rolling Stone magazine. He is also the head of Wenner Media, which includes such magazines as US Weekly and Men's Journal. He lives in Manhattan.
Corey Seymour is a writer and editor who came to know Hunter Thompson while working as his New York-based assistant during his tenure at Rolling Stone in the early nineties. He lives in Brooklyn.
Starred Review. Uproarious and unpredictable, this oral biography is a fitting look at the turbulent life of Gonzo journalism pioneer Hunter S. Thompson (1937-2005), a life surrounded by many but understood by few: "always pushing," Thompson "created a kind of inner circle of people who stood the test." That circle is well represented among the volume's many "voices," including ex-wife Sandy Thompson and their son, Juan, longtime collaborator Ralph Steadman, actors Johnny Depp and Jack Nicholson, and old friends Porter Bibb and Ed Bastian. The story-tellers provide a great number of angles, bringing forth insight that goes well beyond Thompson's famous love for alcohol and drugs-though they don't neglect the intoxicants, nor the eccentric writer's most obvious quirks (such as his indiscriminate verbal outbursts: "he was always yelling at himself, like 'AAHHH!!! CAZART!!!'"). A rich, rollicking vision of Thompson that highlights his outlandish personality and his passion for language ("He started typing out Fitzgerald and Hemingway books word for word... he said, 'I just like to get the feel of how it is to write those words.'"), Wenner and Seymour's work also encompasses the unlikely transition of Gonzo from radical, reactionary style-du-jour to culture-defining literature: "Only a handful of writers in a generation can pull that off, and Hunter transcended his competition." This fine, fond biography amuses, inspires, outrages and haunts at all the right moments-and sometimes all at once.
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