Fear and Loathing : On the Campaign Trail '72 by Hunter S. Thompson with illustrations by Ralph Steadman
San Francisco : Straight Arrow Books, 1973. First Edition. Hardcover. 506 pages ; 21 cm. $7.95 dust jacket unclipped but a bit tattered. Very good copy in original dust jacket with unmarked pages and square binding.
"I've seen in some of the ad copy for this book that "only Hunter Thompson could forge such an astounding breakthrough in political realism.** Which is ludicrous bullshit, because anybody could do it—and the reasons why they don't still puzzle me, even after more than a year of total personal and professional involvement in one of the strangest presidential campaigns in American history.
Another chunk of the ad copy says: "Never before has a professional journalist written with such candor, irreverence and humor about the personalities and machinations of our real politic... "Which is probably true, for reasons that puzzle me no less than that gibberish about "astounding breakthrough." This book is nothing more or less than a scrambled account of what it was like for one human being to cover (more or less journalistically) a presidential campaign run by other human beings. It was a king-hell bitch of a year. Some of the things we did worked git very nicely, and others were total disasters—but on balance it was a very special kind of High, and if this book conveys nothing else but that I'll figure it was worth doing.
If not... well... shit; there's always Teddy White. He's a very nice fellow, they say. I never saw him much, because we moved in different circles and I'm sure his account of "Campaign 72" will be as different from mine as it will be from Gary Hart's or Pat Caddell's.
Which hardly matters. This is the way the campaign was for me and for the people it wound me up with— Nixon and even Peter Sheridan, the gin-crazed Boo-Hoo who cracked Muskie's spirit in the critical Florida primary.
In retrospect, it was not a hell of a lot different from that year I spent with the Hell's Angels, or running amok in Las Vegas—or even running for Sheriff on the Freak Power Ticket in Aspen, Colorado. The faces change, but the trip is pretty consistent. Which is fine with me. Every year I feel more and more like a wino turned loose in the tasting room— and if that doesn't come through in this book, try backing off a bit and reading a little tighter between the lines." —HST
"Hunter Thompson is the wild mustang of the New Journalism."—Seymour Krim, Chicago Sun-Times
"Hunter Thompson is this election year's most refreshing phenomenon. His bizarrely irreverent, highly personalized dispatches invariably give off sparks."—Newsweek
"In a May 11 piece—when McGovern still had only 95 of the 1,509 delegates votes he would need in Miami— Hunter Thompson predicted he would win the nomination on the first ballot. ... He also saw very early that McGovern lacked something crucial, which he called 'a dark kinky streak of Mick Jagger in his soul'... and perhaps most important, Hunter perceived very early that despite all the pizazz of the New Politics, 'McGovern is really just another good Democrat.'"—More, the National Journalism Review
"Hunter Thompson is this country's greatest political reporter."— Herb Caen, San Francisco Chronicle
Portrait of the Author as a Mad Dog
Hunter S. Thompson is the author of Hell's Angels and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. He is also the National Correspondent for Rolling Stone, working out of Woody Creek, Colorado—where he is currently building a power base for a U.S. Senate campaign in 1974.
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