The Kitchen Readings: Untold Stories of Hunter S. Thompson

Michael Cleverly, Author, Bob Braudis, Author . Harper Perennial $13.95 (274p) ISBN 978-0-06-115928-2

According to the couple of old Woody Creek buddies of Hunter S. Thompson’s (aka “Doc”) who compiled this ramshackle selection of anecdotes about the gonzo practitioner, the kitchen at Doc’s was the favored place for conversation since the living room had devolved into a “squalid, fetid, pigsty.” Thompson’s legend as a fire-breathing, vituperative hellion had spread far and wide—due in no small part to his own self-promotion of it—but many old-time residents of the Colorado mountain town where he holed up for several decades were fiercely protective of their resident hell-raiser. That attitude is clearly represented by this book’s pair of authors, an artist and a sheriff, who relate numerous tales of paranoid and wanton destruction (often involving cocaine, firearms and too many glasses of Chivas) with the same indulgence one reserves for a dangerously eccentric relative. The book keeps the stargazing to a minimum and mostly presents Thompson the man—one who was fortunate he could write because he comes off here as pretty useless at day-to-day life. The authors recount everything from Thompson’s invention of shotgun golf to the reason he needed all those peacocks around. While Cleverly and Braudis try to puncture the media myth of Thompson the Indestructible (on his aborted attempt at covering Vietnam, they sardonically note that he seemed to “only like danger when he was the most dangerous person in the room”), it’s a gentle ribbing; we should all have friends as generous and forgiving as Thompson clearly did. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 11/26/2007
Release date: 02/01/2008
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