Hunter S. Thompson's brain on drugs circa 1966 - 1980s Hunter S. Thompson's brain on drugs - 1990s - 2005
I'm going to go out on a limb here and predict that Hunter S. Thompson's reputation won't hold up. In fairness, I did go back and read sections of Hell's Angels
and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
and will acknowledge that he could often write well. Whether he ever wrote well enough to merit the adulation he's been given is questionable.
However, I was stymied by the number of reviewers who gave this Godawful mess of a book 4 or 5 stars. There's nothing here. Thompson provides endless faxes, doodled upon/brainless notes, and unexplained pictures, which pretty much dominate a book long on opinions and short on explanations.
We're told, for example, that Bill Clinton is both dumb and humorless. Those are provocative assertions. Does Thompson provide any examples? No.
We're also told endlessly that Richard Nixon was a monster and Thompson prefaces the obituary he published in the Rolling Stone
with the comment "we have lost our Satan. Richard Nixon has gone home to hell." Again, just telling us Nixon was evil incarnate, a beast, etc. seems to suffice. Ending his wildly organized coverage of the 1992 election with the Nixon obituary seems an odd choice, even if Nixon did conveniently die just as Thompson was throwing this book together.
I am a political junkie. I remember the 1992 election and found the dynamics among George Bush, Ross Perot, and Bill Clinton fascinating. If you're seeking to discover what made that election interesting in Thompson's book, you've gone to the wrong place. Instead, you'll get pages of re-hash from Thompson's book on the 1972 presidential election (Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72
) and zillions of pointless anecdotes, featuring - of course, of course - Thompson, who can't seem to get enough of himself.
Although I read Hell's Angels
many years ago I remember its often vivid description, and Thompson's explanation of how an "Angel" earns his red wings is still seared into my brain. So yes, Thompson can write, but that's not in evidence here.
When you really like an author, it can be hard to remain objective. You/I want to view everything this author writes as genius. ...But it just ain't so.