Friday, November 16, 2007

Klein on Wenner and Seymour on Thompson

This weekend's New York Times Book Review has Joe Klein's assessment of Jann Wenner and Corey Seymour's new oral history, Gonzo: The Life of Hunter S. Thompson. I discovered and devoured Thompson's ouvre when most people do: in high school and college. He was a force of nature, the sine qua non of Gonzo journalism. But unlike a lot of the work of many of his colleagues, and unlike most of the Beat movement that led the way to The New Journalism, the high falutin' term for Gonzo, Thompson's best work has aged pretty well.

As for the book, Klein writes:

“Gonzo” is a wonderfully entertaining chronicle of Hunter’s wild ride, but it is also a detailed, painful account of his self-destructive immersions; the brutality he visited upon his wife, Sandy; and the anguish of a life that veered from inspired performance art to ruinous solipsism.
I'll certainly read Wenner and Seymour's book at some point, but even before I do, I'm sure I'll revisit some of Thompson's work. With the election coming up, I may well go back to Thompson's tour de force, Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail, 72, which reveals Thompson not only as the doyen of Gonzo journalists, but also as an acerbic, uproarious, and astute political observer.

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