6 Hunter S. Thompson books you have to read 

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream

Almost as famous as Hunter S. Thompson’s dark account of a drug-crazed road trip to Las Vegas is Ralph Steadman, the illustrator responsible for the images which solidified the trip into legend. Known for being mainly a sports writer, Rolling Stone magazine assigned Thompson in 1971 to cover a motercycle race. This is his story of what happened instead and begins ominously, “We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold.”

Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail 72

Following Nixon and George McGovern in what was the most contentious presidential races known up until that point, he takes his brand of Gonzo journalism and applies it to the ultimate form of political reporting.

The Curse of Lono

Hunter S. Thompson and Ralph Steadman team up once again in an attempt to re-create the Las Vegas magic but only this time in Hawaii. Sent to report on the Honolulu Marathon, they vainly attempt to be as Gonzo as before, but age, repetitions and the same old attitude don’t quite work. A great read for fans and a true example of the old saying that lightning does not strike twice.

Hell’s Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga

Thompson spent two years living with the Hell’s Angels in the mid 1960s. He defined what was, and in some minds, what still is, the biker anarchistic culture.

The Great Shark Hunt: Strange Tales from a Strange Time

While Thompson’s books are classics, perhaps his best work were essays and articles written for a host of magazines and newspapers. After all, he is a journalist. Before his death, he wrote a weekly column online for ESPN. The Great Shark Hunt is the first collection of essays and articles.

The Rum Diary

Thompson’s first book written when he was 22 years old in 1959 and attempting to relive the Hemingway mystique by immersing himself in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Drinking all day, being a perfect example of the ugly American full of Caribbean boomtown lust. His first novel foreshadows the crazyness to come.

… and if you don’t read

Two gonzo movies

With an all-star cast including Johnny Depp, Benicio Del Toro, Tobey Maguire, Ellen Barkin, Gary Busey, Christina Ricci, Mark Harmon, Cameron Diaz, Flea and Lyle Lovett it is a phrenetic retelling of the classic book. Directed by Terry Gilliam, who also directed Brazil,Jabberwoky and 15 Monkeys, the visuals will dazzle and sicken. Depp’s performace predates his astounding and rubbery role as a pirate capturing the dizzying, cavalier and sometimes incomprehesnible character of Hunter S. Thompson. One needs a vacation after seeing this movie.

Where the Buffalo Roam (1980)

A young Bill Murray plays Hunter S. Thompson with Peter Boyle as Carl Lazlo, Esquire (aka the attourney). This movie is great for fans of Hunter S. Thompson’s books, but falls short of being a good movie. A young Murray captures the mumbling behavior of a young, energetic and drug-crazed Thompson but it never delves deep into the psyche and raw honesty that his writings convey. It is a 1980s version of a highlight reel of the best of Thompson’s books and is worth it to see a young Bill Murray in a dramatic, albeit dark, role.


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