Hunter S. Thompson’s first two books were classics. HELL’S ANGEL’S and FEAR & LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS. This was his third book. And it has some very interesting elements. Thompson hadn’t yet been overwhelmed by his persona and by drugs. And it was damn interesting that he could take his counterculture underground slant and interject that into the mainstream of American politics. In 1972.
But it was pretty much Thompson’s last gasp as an artist.
When I was a 17 year old kid in 1974 I read this book several times with fascination. I was a budding hippie wannabe at the time. And I felt guys like Hunter S. Thompson were psychedelic sages who were delivering insights that were way more profound than the mainstream consensus reality.
A lot of his political “insights” today seem a bit stale and dated by today’s standards. But there you go.
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A favorite Hunter S. Thompson story that George McGovern often told.
Hunter Thompson, George McGovern and his wife went out to dinner at this swanky restaurant. When the waitress showed up Hunter Thompson said.
“I’d like to order four beers.”
The waitress said:
“Why do you want four beers. There’s only three of you.”
Hunter Thompson said:
“I could care less what those bastards are drinking. I want four beers for me.”
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All the other reporters on the campaign trail avidly read Thompson’s accounts every two weeks when they came out in ROLLING STONE. They were envious. He was writing about all the things they said in private but were afraid to actually publish.