Fear and Loathing in America

9 Aug 2004

I’ve finally finished reading Fear and Loathing in America - The Brutal Odyssey of an Outlaw Journalist 1968 - 1976, which is a collection of letters by Hunter S. Thompson through those years. It covers the time he wrote two of his most famous works, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail (you may spot a trend in titles here…), the former I’ve read, the latter I haven’t. Anyway, the letters provide a good insight into the mind who wrote what has to be one of the most bizarre books I’ve ever read. There’s lots on HST’s professional life, dealing with trying (and occasionally failing) to write books, and what seems to have been a complete pain workign with Rolling Stone at the time. It also covers his political attempts, when he tried to get himself and others into various official posts in Aspen’s local government to help prevent it turning into a tourist trap. In fact, between the writing and the political work you can see how he because focused on politics for a good part of his life. Finally it also covers personal aspects from his personal life, including letters to the local TV channel owner complaining about the content. Anyway, worth a read, but it took me almost two months to get through - it’s 750 pages, and that style of book is not something you can absorb in great chunks.