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Hunter S. Thompson, 1988
Photo by MDCarchives, 1988
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Hunter S. Thompson
Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Hunter S. Thompson is considered the father of "Gonzo journalism", a style of reporting conveyed via a first-person narrative characterized by its lack of neutrality, often due to the reporter's first-hand involvement in the topic being covered to such a degree that the reporter becomes a newsworthy part of the story. Thompson became famous for this irreverent "literary" approach toward journalism, blending fact, fiction, and subjective accounts in an attempt--he claimed--to uncover and illuminate deeper truths that couldn't be reached through a neutral, objective viewpoint. Within his writing, Thompson could often be found strongly expressing his political and social criticisms, as well as describing his unabashed, liberal consumption of recreational drugs.

A troubled youth, following an arrest for robbery in 1956, Thompson enlisted in the Air Force to fulfill part of his sentencing agreement. While at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, he kicked off his profession as a writer by working as a sports reporter. Thompson's writing began to gain attention after he was hired to produce a magazine article based on his experience of having spent a year with the Hells Angels. "The Motorcycle Gang" appeared on May 17, 1956 in The Nation, and a more subjective treatment of the same topic followed in 1967, when Random House published his book, Hells Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs.

Thompson is most well-known for his 1971 book, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream, which has appeared in at least 40 editions and 16 different languages. Over the course of his career, Thompson wrote over a dozen other books and contributed articles to numerous periodicals, including Esquire, The National Observer, Playboy, Rolling Stone, The San Francisco Examiner, and Time Magazine, as well as penning the "Hey Rube" web column for ESPN.

Along with being an avid gun enthusiast, Thompson also had a great love of photography. A posthumous oral history produced in honor of Thompson, featuring many of his photographs, as well as portraits of him taken by others, along with an introduction by his friend Johnny Depp, was published in 2007. Depp played the lead role of Raoul Duke (a character based on Thompson) in director Terry Gilliam's 1998 film version of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

At the age of 67--likely in response to his unhappiness about aging, along with chronic pain from a broken leg and hip replacement--Thompson committed suicide with a gun shot to the head in his Colorado home.

Quote #
"I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone...but they've always worked for me."
-- Hunter Thompson, "Voices : Footnotes", LIFE Magazine, p. 68 (Jan 1981)
Author of Books #
  • Fear and Loathing at Rolling Stone: The Essential Writings of Hunter S. Thompson (2011)
  • The Mutineer: Rants, Ravings, and Missives from the Mountaintop 1977-2005 (2008)
  • Gonzo (2006/2007)
  • Happy Birthday, Jack Nicholson (2005)
  • Hey Rube: Blood Sport, the Bush Doctrine, and the Downward Spiral of Dumbness Modern History from the Sports Desk (2004)
  • Kingdom of Fear: Loathsome Secrets of a Star-Crossed Child in the Final Days of the American Century (2003)
  • Fear and Loathing in America: The Brutal Odyssey of an Outlaw Journalist 1968-1976 (2000)
  • Screw-Jack (2000)
  • The Rum Diary (1998)
  • The Fear and Loathing Letters, Vol. 1: The Proud Highway: The Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman 1955-1967 (1997)
  • Mistah Leary--He Dead (1996)
  • Gonzo Papers, Vol. 4: Better Than Sex: Confessions of a Political Junkie (1994)
  • Gonzo Papers, Vol. 3: Songs of the Doomed: More Notes on the Death of the American Dream (1990)
  • Gonzo Papers, Vol. 2: Generation of Swine: Tales of Shame and Degradation in the '80s (1988)
  • The Curse of Lono (1983)
  • Gonzo Papers, Vol. 1: The Great Shark Hunt: Strange Tales from a Strange Time (1979)
  • Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72 (1973)
  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream (1971)
  • Hell's Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (1967)
  • Author of Articles #
  • "Shotgun Golf with Bill Murray" (Thompson's Last ESPN Column, 2005)
  • ESPN's "Hey Rube" Column (2000-2005)
  • Playboy Articles (1973/1974/1976/1983/2004/2005)
  • "Prisoner of Denver" [with Mark Seal], Vanity Fair (Jun 1, 2004)
  • Rolling Stone Articles (1970-1978/1983-1985/1990-1992/1994/1996-1999/2004)
  • Rolling Stone Search for Hunter S. Thompson (1970-2013)
  • "Doomed Love at the Taco Stand", Time Magazine (Nov 10, 1997)
  • "Song of the Sausage Creature", Cycle World (Mar 1995)
  • Esquire Articles (1967/1991/1993)
  • "War Correspondent", War News (Mar 2, 1991)
  • "Another Vicious Attack", Northwest Extra (Summer 1990)
  • "Community of Whores", Northwest Extra (May 1990)
  • "Fear and Loathing in Sacramento", Northwest Extra (Free Newsprint) Magazine (Feb 1989)
  • The San Francisco Examiner Articles (1985-1988)
  • "The Charge of the Weird Brigade", Running Magazine (Apr 1981)
  • "Fear and Loathing in the Bunker", The New York Times (Jan 1, 1974)
  • Scanlan's Magazine Articles (1970-1971)
  • "County Sheriff Advertisement", Aspen Times (Oct 8 & 22, 1970)
  • "Those Daring Young Men in Their Flying Machines", Pageant (Sept 1969)
  • "Memoirs of a Wretched Weekend in Washington", The Boston Sunday Globe (Feb 23, 1969)
  • "Presenting: The Richard Nixon Doll (Overhauled 1968 Model)" Pageant (Jul 1968)
  • "The Distant Drummer--The Ultimate Free Lancer", Pageant (Nov 1967)
  • "Nights In The Rustic", Cavilier (Aug 1967)
  • "Why Boys Will Be Girls", Pageant (Aug 1967)
  • "The 'Hashbury' Is the Capital of the Hippies", The New York Times Magazine (May 1967)
  • "The 450-Square Mile Parking Lot", Pageant (Dec. 1965)
  • "Collect Telegram from a Mad Dog", Spider Magazine (Oct 13, 1965)
  • "The Nonstudent Left", The Nation (Sept 1965)
  • "It Ain't Hardly That Way No More", Pageant (Sept 1965)
  • "The Motorcycle Gangs: Losers and Outsiders", The Nation (May 17, 1965)
  • The National Observer Articles (1962-1964)
  • "A Southern City With Northern Problems", The Reporter (Dec 19, 1963)
  • "Renfro Valley", Chicago Sunday Tribune (Feb 18, 1962)
  • "Burial at Sea", Rogue Magazine (Dec 1961)
  • "Big Sur, The Tropic of Henry Miller", Rogue Magazine (Oct 1961)
  • Interviews #
  • "All Aboard The Hell-Bound Train--An Interview With Hunter S. Thompson", interviewed by Jess Hopsicker, College Crier (pre-Nov. 2004)
  • "The Gonzo King: An Interview With Hunter S. Thompson", interviewed by Matt Higgins, High Times (Sept 2, 2003)
  • "The Hunter S. Thompson Interview", interviewed by Adam Bulger, Freezerbox Magazine (Mar 2003)
  • "My Chat with Hunter S. Thompson, Gonzo Journalism Legend", interviewed by Marty Beckerman (Feb 3, 2003)
  • "Hunter S. Thompson Interview", interviewed by John Glassie, (Feb 3, 2003)
  • "KDNK Interview: Hunter S. Thompson (1937-2005) on the Iraq War & the Bush Presidency", by Amy Goodman; interviewed by Mary Suma, Democracy Now (Jan 2003)
  • "Hunter S. Thompson Interview", interviewed by Tony Jenkins (1998)
  • "The Questionnaire: Hunter S. Thompson", interviewed by Rosanna Greenstreet, The Guardian (Dec 27, 1997)
  • "Writing On The Wall--An Interview With Hunter S. Thompson", interviewed by Matthew Hahn, Atlantic Unbound (Aug 26, 1997)
  • "Transcript of Hunter S. Thompson Interview", interviewed by Sara Nelson & Sean Dooley, The Book Report (circa 1997)
  • Remembrances
  • "Hunter S Thompson Was My Brother In Arms", by Jann Wenner, The Blog: (Oct 24 2011)
  • "Remembering Hunter S. Thompson", The Generalist (Nov 23, 2005)
  • "Hunter's Friends Say Hollywood Hijacked His Huneral", by Sterling Greenwood, Aspen Free Press (Aug 19, 2005)
  • "Hunter S. Thompson's Ashes to be Sent High on Fireworks", by Kevin Jarnot via Rocky Mountain News (Aug 18, 2005)
  • "ESSAY; Gonzo Nights", by Rich Cohen, The New York Times (April 17, 2005)
  • "Dr. Hunter S. Thompson Remembered", Thrasher's Blog (Mar 11, 2005)
  • "Dr. Hunter S. Thompson: Tales from a Weird & Righteous American Saga", Rolling Stone (Mar 10, 2005)
  • "Fear and Earning", by Lucian K. Truscott IV, The New York Times (Feb 25, 2005)
  • "Appreciation: Thompson Went His Own Way", by Michael A. Stusser, The Seattle Times (Feb 24, 2005)
  • "Gonzo In His Life As In His Work", by Tom Wolfe in The Wall Street Journal (Feb 22, 2005)
  • "Hunter Thompson: The Minuteman of the Rockies", by Christopher Hitchens, Slate (Feb. 22, 2005)
  • "Hunter S. Thompson Dies at 67: 'Fear and Loathing' Writer Apparently Committed Suicide", by Martin Weil and Allan Lengel, The Washington Post (Feb 21, 2005)
  • "EULOGY: Hunter's Fear", by D.A. Blyler, The Raw Story (2005)
  • "Hunter S. Thompson Rolling Stone Tributes" (2005)