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Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72 [Mass Market Paperback]

Dr. Hunter S. Thompson
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 22 1985
With the same drug-addled alacrity and jaundiced wit that made Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas a hilarious hit, Hunter S. Thompson turns his savage eye and gonzo heart to the repellent and seductive race for President.He deconstructs the 1972 campaigns of idealist George McGovern and political hack Richard Nixon, ending up with a political vision that is eerily prophetic.A classic!

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With the same drug-addled alacrity and jaundiced wit that made Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas a hilarious hit, Hunter S. Thompson turns his savage eye and gonzo heart to the repellent and seductive race for President. He deconstructs the 1972 campaigns of idealist George McGovern and political hack Richard Nixon, ending up with a political vision that is eerily prophetic. A classic!

Review

'The best stuff on the campaign I've read anywhere.' Nicholas Von Hoffman, Washington Post 'Obscene, horrid, repellent ... driving, urgent, candid, searing ... a fascinating, compelling book!' New York Post 'Hunter S. Thompson is the most creatively crazy and vulnerable of the New Journalists. His books are brilliant and honorable and valuable ... the literary equivalent of Cubism: all rules are broken.' Kurt Vonnegut Jr 'Gaze in awe ... Hunter Thompson does in his own mad way betray a profound democratic concern for the polity. And in its own mad way, it's darned refreshing.' New York Times 'Shocks you into laughter.' Detroit Free Press 'Unnerving!' Newsweek --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MAYBE THE BEST POLITICAL BOOK EVER WRITTEN June 11 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Hunter Thompson would despise me. I am a conservative Reaganite. I thought Dick Nixon a brilliant President. I think the Lord Jesus Christ saves my soul. Whereas I despise Michael Moore and do not think he speaks the truth, I admire Hunter Thompson, who is probably a lot closer to Moore's politics than mine. It is not just the passage of time that heals divisions, it is more than that. If I were to analyze Hunter's political nostrums, I would probably find much that I know to be wrong, and that Hunter had enough education and knowledge available to him to know it was wrong but he wrote it anyway. Still, whatever visceral reaction I have to Moore I do not have for Hunter.
I guess humnor must be why. Hunter is absolutely inconoclastic. He is side-splitting. He never smiles, and his writing has no funniness in it. I picture him writing out of dread and hate, yet it magically transforms itself into laughs when my eyes meet his words and transfer to my brain. Forgive my bad attempt to get into his head and "explain" Hunter. It's all I can do to try.
This book is phenomenal. It contains events that are different from any descriptions ever. Others have novelized reality, but nobody splits the difference like Hunter. Hunter's supposed on-scene reportage of Edmund Muskie coming unglued in the New Hampshire snow, Frank Mankiewiczs' furious (drug induced?) ramblings, the one-on-one with Nixon himelf, leaves the reader exhausted in an effort to separate reality from fantasy. Hunter is like the great con man who uses Truth to augment his lies. This is not calling Hunter a liar, it is just an example.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Plus ca change... Oct. 29 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Hunter S. Thompson has always been a great writer, with his breathless prose and over-the-top commentary he could never be accused of pulling his punches or shying away from speaking his mind - but a book on the 1972 presidential campaign? How could anyone make that even vaguely interesting?
Thompson not only makes it interesting, he makes it gripping, despite the fact the end result is given in the foreword! The book is a compelling look at the presidential year the saw Nixon's re-election, viewed by a drug-crazed loon with no respect for the incumbent candidate ("the dingbat"), or the rules of being a Washington reporter. HST tears them down and clearly loves every minute of it.
While the book isn't as flat-out entertaining as "...Las Vegas", it can also be read in much the same way as "1984" and "Animal Farm" by Orwell. Basically the story takes on another level of meaning and another sense of urgency when viewed an an allegory for today. It's sad, but we're in the same situation today as we were 31 years ago:
A Republican incumbent who doesn't care about ordinary people.
American soldiers dying every day for no good reason.
An apathetic public.
A huge number of Democratic hopefuls that are more content on tearing each other apart than in actually appearing electable.
A Democratic Party Leadership that wants to be centrist, "Republican Lite".
A Democratic rank-and-file that wants a huge swing to the left.
For George McGovern read Howard Dean - the parallels are uncanny.
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
Most political science texts are pedantic, dry, and boring. This one is not. The author is known for gonzo journalism; an essentially free association form of writing aided by copious intakes of drugs, hallucinogenics, alcohol, and God knows what else. It is a form of free-for-all frenzy that Thompson has elevated to a fine art. Initiates to this style of writing may be inclined to dismiss it as drug-crazed nonsense, but bear with the book, even though sections of it are marked with coarse, but funny, insults, tales of escapades under the influence, and frightful poems by the author.
Admixed in this collage is the background story of the McGovern campaign of 1972, and a remarkable journey it is. Thompson closely examines the dynamics of groundroots politics, including issue formation, organization, campaign tactics, conventioneering, and the like. He shows you the Eagleton debacle, the abdication of labor's role in the Democratic Party, why Muskie failed miserably, the use of drugs by candidates, and a thousand other things you would never have thought about unless you are active in political campaigns.
Overall, the book is a scintillating picture of America at the closing of the Vietnam era, and the effect this had on politics. I recommend the book very highly to anyone interested in the political process, INCLUDING professors, students, political operatives, and the person in the street. Thompson was out there. He saw the campaign in action and reports his views with great passion and by never being dull. I loved the book.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Gritty insightful insiders view of the '72 campaign
Mostly an absorbing narrative about the cast of characters and the behind the scenes maneuverings. Perfectly evokes the culture and the politics of the period. Read more
Published 7 months ago by cleo
2.0 out of 5 stars The Driest of the HST
I don't really like american politics and I'm not sure what I was expecting with this one but its just Hunter talking politics. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Pete
5.0 out of 5 stars THANKS!
The item was shipped off twice due to the negligence of the postal service, and it STILL arrived faster than most books I had ordered.

THANKS!
Published on Feb. 13 2011 by Sharbies
5.0 out of 5 stars The Finest Political Journalism Ever Printed
This is probably my favorite example of political journalism, in that it is informative, insightful, but never dull. Read more
Published on July 5 2004 by drew
5.0 out of 5 stars On the trail of McGovern
For all his gonzo journalism, Thompson has a very keen eye for politics, even if he backed McGovern in '72. Read more
Published on April 13 2004 by James Ferguson
5.0 out of 5 stars Greatness
This book is so interesting. It was really detailed which made it nearly impossible to stop reading. I like how weird and satirical this book was. Read more
Published on March 24 2004 by Olive
5.0 out of 5 stars George W. Bush is our Richard Nixon
Does history repeat its self? All I can say is that Hunter wrote this book coming out of the liberal 60's which rounded out in a big bummer with Richard Nixon winning. Read more
Published on Feb. 22 2004 by Hippie Smell
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh so relevant
This is a must read! The comparisons this book draws to the current political climate of the USA and the upcoming 2004 presidential elections to the 1972 campaign and election is... Read more
Published on Jan. 30 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars Great political education
Hunter s. Thompson defies all normal journalism precedents and presents the campaigning process in the most straightforward style possible. Read more
Published on Nov. 11 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible book
There are very few books about political campaigns that show passion - for the manic process, for the evil media handicapping that occurs, and ultimately for a candidate that the... Read more
Published on July 26 2003 by C Peters
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