Corey Seymour

Teoksen Gonzo : Hunter S. Thompsonin elämä tekijä

1 Work 607 jäsentä 9 arvostelua

Tekijän teokset

Gonzo : Hunter S. Thompsonin elämä (2007) 607 kappaletta, 9 arvostelua

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This is a depressing biography of someone I knew very little about. I was reading this to prepare for reading Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Fear and Loathing was a major fiction work by Thompson whereby he made a literary name for himself. He had written a journalistic piece on the Hells Angels which also started his fandom and reputation among Rolling Stone Magazine readers. I have not read that either. Apparently, the Hell’s Angels serial piece was also much admired by the East Coast literati.
This “Life-of” take from various personalities who give short monologues about Thompson chronologically sequenced before his suicidal death by self-inflicted gunshot blast. He was said, perhaps unsurprisingly now, to be writing a piece for ESPN at the time. There was a time when ESPN was very good on sports commentary, especially for the NFL and NBA.
This book has stayed with me even though Thompson apparently wasn’t a very likeable person. In writing he’s off-putting as well. Gonzo has a few excepts from his works for illustration. His writing is earnest and entertaining but not uplifting nor seeking any depth. That is not a criticism it just seems to be what he was trying to set as a goal. Overall, to me, Thompson just wanted to be a conversationalist. A conversationalist on an infinite number of topics. There is nothing wrong with that, especially if that desire allows someone to network many people at the apex of their professional fields or pop culture. Thompson seemed to want to be accepted on any level but to also still reserve the prerogative of being contrarian when it suited him. Thompson wanted to be Kerouac, Dylan, William S Burroughs, and Fitzgerald all at once. This aspect of Thompson is very normal for most American men and Gonzo readers would be sympathetic to Thompson at least in this respect.
Thompson’s career as a journalist was new to me. His style was out of the ordinary but not revolutionary. Injecting himself into the story was not journalism but fiction as get noted early in Gonzo. This was not even rare during the 60s and 70s. There were many Vietnam memoirs which did this, melded Vietnam War events with personal experience but with changed names and places. Some of the best books, for my taste, were Vietnam tales, some fictional while others non-fiction but heavily edited and redacted. This was one of the more satisfying innovations that came of the soldiers who returned home to use their GI Bill for school. This also happened after the Iraq and Afghan wars. Although Thompson served in the military he did not go to Vietnam as a soldier or combat reporter. Thompson later left a Vietnam War news reporting assignment, being unable to deal with the widescale threat of immediate death and maiming. When it came to real guns Thompson didn’t like them in other people’s hands. Especially the Vietcong or NVA.
Much of the book laments the waste of talent by Thompson by friends in the business. Thompson thought he had achieved much (popular celebrity) but couldn’t continue it on his own later in life resulting from his alcoholism and drug use.
Stylistically, and fallaciously, Thompson felt that no journalist was perfectly objective (no one can be). And since no journalist can ever be objective then it is not just plausible but necessary to inject oneself into the reported account of all events. Therefore, in this line of thinking, “Gonzo reporting” is an actual fact which everyone else must publicly deny ever occurs while simultaneously employing it in practice. Thompson then took the thesis further and began to conjure up nonexistent things and add them for the desired effect to Thompson’s own hidden agenda. As noted earlier, others had done this as well yet felt fiction was the best way to categorize their work. Thompson instead chose to call his slanted point of view ‘journalism’.
One thing I gleaned from Gonzo was that Thompson seemed the prototype for the modern limousine liberal. Thompson apparently thought Bill Clinton wasn’t liberal enough. Thus, paving the way for George W. Bush. I found this to be insightful about the democrat political party. Thompson’s death was not preordained as some in the book claim including his own son. As someone who has dealt with crisis management situations for depressed and the drug addicted, when someone’s last typed word on paper is “counseling” they most likely did not want to die, they wanted help to survive the current moment.
Johnny Depp himself seems to have personally morphed into a high flying and well-heeled version of Thompson. This book is a good synopsis of the 1960s and how counter cultural ideas played themselves out in the new Millenia. Terry Gilliam (12 Monkeys, Brazil) did Thompson a great service by directing the film version of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and making sense of its chaotic vision. This book helps to appreciate what occurred in that film adaptation.
Index, Contributor Glossary, B&W Photos, No Bibliography. Introduction by Johnny Depp (played lead role in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas while Thompson was still living).
… (lisätietoja)
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sacredheart25 | 8 muuta kirja-arvostelua | May 6, 2023 |
Compiled from interviews with the people that knew him the best from the beginning of his life to the end, Gonzo is a fascinating portrait of the complex, immensely talented, and extremely flawed writer, Hunter S. Thompson. The format, basically an oral biography, ensures an authenticity and immediacy that a single biographer couldn’t duplicate.
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Hagelstein | 8 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jul 28, 2010 |
I have only read The Gonzo Papers Volume 3 so far of his actual works. And having now read this book, I wish I had just stuck to reading some more of his original works. But there is nothing wrong with this book as oral biographies go. It is quite well done. Some of the other reviewers on LibraryThing have commented justly on some of the concerns about this genre of type of biography and about some of the the lacunae of this example of the genre. I almost wish I didn't know about all the examples of vile behaviour that he engaged in. I would have liked to have just stuck to the journalism itself. Oh, well, too late. Today I just bought Volume 1 of The Gonzo Papers and that will be my next book. I will try to link all the biographical sequence I remember from the book under review to the date stamp of the articles that I will see in The Gonzo Papers.… (lisätietoja)
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libraryhermit | 8 muuta kirja-arvostelua | May 20, 2010 |
As a biography, I loved this book for its format. So many impressions from so many people close to Thompson were documented, I did feel like I got to know him in as a balanced a way as you can achieve with a biography.
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harrisfi | 8 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jun 15, 2009 |


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Associated Authors

Johnny Depp Introduction, Contributor
Hunter S. Thompson Contributor
Tom Benton Contributor
Miriam Good Contributor
Gerry Goldstein Contributor
Bob Geiger Contributor
Deborah Fuller Contributor
Ben Fee Contributor
Jeanette Etheridge Contributor
Al Eisele Contributor
Tim Crouse Contributor
Pat Caddell Contributor
Judy Belushi Contributor
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James Silberman Contributor
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George Stranahan Contributor
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Gaylord Guenin Contributor
Hal Haddon Contributor
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Bill Stankey Contributor
Jane Wenner Contributor
Tex Weaver Contributor
Kallen von Renkl Contributor
Gerald Tyrrell Contributor
Sari Tuschman Contributor
George Tobia Contributor
Sondi Wright Contributor
Juan Thompson Contributor
Jack Thibeau Contributor
Patti Stranahan Contributor
Anna Steadman Contributor
Michael Solheim Contributor
Roger Hawke Contributor
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Paul Pascarella Contributor
Ann Owlsley Contributor
Lynn Nesbit Contributor
Gene McGarr Contributor
Semmes Luckett Contributor
Sarah Lazin Contributor
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Lou Ann Iler Contributor
Pat Buchanan Contributor
Bob Bone Contributor
Joe Eszterhas Contributor
Steve Ayers Contributor
Frank Mankiewicz Contributor
Warren Hinckle Contributor
Paul Scanlon Contributor
Roxanne Pulitzer Contributor
Jack Germond Contributor
Sally Quinn Contributor
George S. McGovern Contributor
Charles Perry Contributor
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