Before He Was Gonzo

Over at The Atlantic, Brian Kevin has written an interesting appreciation of Hunter Thompson's early career. By "early career," I don't mean "those first four books he wrote before he devolved into self-parody" (*); I mean the dispatches he produced before he had any books to his name at all. A few of these are collected in Thompson's 1979 collection The Great Shark Hunt, but aside from those, Kevin says, "Little of Thompson's pre-gonzo reporting exists outside of microform."

Someone should write an alt-history novel set in a world where he won.

Sounds like we're missing out:

Like a lot of young reporters, Thompson stayed on the move. Between 1960 and 1967, he filed dispatches from California, the Appalachian South, the Caribbean, South America, and the northern Rockies. His output consisted of everything from straightforward reportage and service-y travel pieces to book reviews and the occasional essay. And while he traipsed among several different beats, Thompson's early articles are, viewed collectively, a kind of study in mid-20th-century frontiers: His datelines are the battlefronts of the Cold War, the blurry social boundaries of the counterculture, and the fading frontiers of the American West.

Selections from the stories follow, along with Kevin's comments. Read the whole thing here.

(* Hell's Angels, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72, and The Great Shark Hunt. For my money the first one's the best.)

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  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    "Little of Thompson's pre-gonzo reporting exists outside of microform."

    You'd think some enterprising editor would take the effort to compile them in one-two volumes.

  • RBS||

    The Great Shark Hunt has some of my favorites.

  • ||

    The Pulitzer trial in the Great Shark Hunt is one of my favorite HST pieces.

    Decadent and depraved does not being to cover it.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    "Little of Thompson's pre-gonzo reporting exists outside of microform."

    Somewhere or other, I have a collection of columns Thompson wrote for National Observer. I'm pretty sure it's not The Great Shark Hunt.

    New "format" sucks.


  • RBS||

    This is the new format? I thought my browser was just fucked up.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Testing mobile site.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Formatting seems to have been corrected.

    Who says whining never works?

  • Auric Demonocles||

    But now they took away the ability to comment on the mobile site. More whining!

  • The Late P Brooks||

    But now they took away the ability to comment on the mobile site.

    You're on your own, now, Junior.

    *sticks fingers in ears*



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