Fear and Loathing: The Strange and Terrible Saga of Hunter S. Thompson

Paul Perry, Author
Paul Perry, Author Thunder's Mouth Press $22.95 (274p) ISBN 978-1-56025-012-8
Reviewed on: 11/02/1992
Release date: 11/01/1992
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This unauthorized biography takes off only when Perry, a former editor of Running magazine, describes the wacky/scary experience of engaging legendary gonzo journalist Thompson to report on the Honolulu Marathon in 1980, and when Thompson's illustrator sidekick Ralph Steadman tells of Thompson's paranoid trip to cover a heavyweight title bout in Zaire. Otherwise, Perry ( On the Bus ) interweaves insights from Thompson's associates with excerpts from Thompson's writings to produce a straightforward portrait far less manic than its subject is purported to be. The author describes the young Hunter as a wild drinker and voracious reader like his mother, and a poor kid who was an outsider among the Louisville elite. He traces Thompson's career from military sportswriter to gonzo glory in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas to his covering of the 1972 presidential campaign. Thompson acknowledged that only 75% of what he wrote was accurate. Nor does Perry ignore Thompson's prodigious use of drugs and alcohol, violence toward women, attempts at writing fiction and his bizarre race for sheriff of Aspen in 1970. By the 1970s, the author writes, Thompson became a prisoner of his image, and perhaps because of this Perry's account of Thompson's last decade is thin. Photos not seen by PW. 50,000 first printing; author tour. (Jan.)
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