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Generation of Swine: Tales of Shame and Degradation in the '80's (The Gonzo Papers #2)

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  5,190 ratings  ·  153 reviews
From the bestselling author of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, the legendary Hunter S. Thompson’s second volume of the “Gonzo Papers” is back. Generation of Swine collects hundreds of columns from the infamous journalist’s 1980s tenure at the San Francisco Examiner.

Here, against a backdrop of late-night tattoo sessions and soldier-of
Paperback, 336 pages
Published November 6th 2003 by Simon & Schuster (first published 1988)
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Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. RowlingThe Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsA Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba BrayTwilight by Stephenie MeyerThe Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, #1) by J.R.R. Tolkien
Books Not Drugs
36th out of 108 books — 92 voters
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. ThompsonHell's Angels by Hunter S. ThompsonThe Rum Diary by Hunter S. ThompsonFear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72 by Hunter S. ThompsonThe Great Shark Hunt by Hunter S. Thompson
The Best of Hunter S. Thompson
11th out of 12 books — 20 voters

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Community Reviews

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The fascinating thing about reading Hunter's essays is all the lost episodes of history and the realization that over time events that are so important for a single moment vanish.
This collection focuses mainly on 1984 through 1988 and the fall of Reganism. At the beginning of 1987 Regan was a lame duck president - Gart Hart was the savior of Democracy - and Ollie North and George Bush the First were looking like they had to prepare for 10-20 years behind bars.
Of course the frightening conclusion
A long overdue re-read that was just as entertaining as the first time around, I started Generation of Swine on my birthday as a little treat to myself. The time between then and now has been heavily slanted towards work, but the format of the book - articles written for the San Francisco Examiner between '86 and '88 - made it the perfect reading material to fit into my often very short lunch breaks.

Generation of Swine is a brilliant time capsule, bringing back many of the things that were on ou
I'm still kind of flipping back and forth through this book on subway rides, so I can't really tell you how much of it I've read, but what I have read fucking rules. As far as the actual subject matter goes, this book runs through the mid-80's and made me realize that the only vaguely political writing I've read from that time period are a pile of Doonesbury Treasuries. So yeah, inevitable Raoul Duke/Uncle Duke comparisons are rampant, but honestly I just let most of the specific political refer ...more
Bill Reese
The best thing about this book for me, besides reading HST for the first time, was that it covered the 80's. The 80's were a time in which I was conscious of the goings on about me- but with little knowledge about how the world actually worked. I remember Ollie North before the Iran Contra panel on tv. Many of my relatives thought he was a hero. Most of my friends thought he was a criminal. I was not sure. He is a criminal. It is amaizingly sad to read how Thompson expected Iran Contra to be tre ...more
Matt Williams
Thought this book was great! More a diary than anything, snippets and logs taken from throughout the 80's - The Generation of Swine, from Hunters point of view - the best kind! Lots of shorts, political madness, quotes from The Revelation, gambling, corrupt swine and a whole load of other weirdness. It's obvious that Hunter had deteriorated somewhat at this stage (it was a known fact even then) so anyone who goes into reading this should expect it be, what seems like, anyway, crazed ramblings of ...more
John Gilbert
For all the attention given to his outrageous behavior, HST sure was perceptive about politics. This book focuses on his mid-80's output, and for my money, a lot of this still holds true.
In the 70s, Hunter S. Thompson was the lynchpin of the already dying counter-culture movement. The insanity and manic energy that fueled a generation to believe they could change the world was crashing and nobody gave voice to the fears, anger and frustration better than The Good Doctor Thompson. The hangover had begun and the prescription for what ailed us all was a harsh look at what America had become, and how far from the idealistic Dream we had strayed. His writing for Rolling Stone (then a ...more
Erik Evenson
This is a very bizarre and misleading three stars that I’m giving the book, Generation of Swine by Hunter S. Thompson. It’s misleading for a number of reasons, the biggest being that when you have a little over 100 pieces that were presumably originally written for periodicals of all stripes (the book doesn’t say where they were originally published) taken out of context and thrown together in a book, and when some of them are superb, some average and some terrible, you do the math and somehow, ...more
He wasn't as funny or as biting as I thought he'd be. He seemed to be in love with Washington people far too much to inflict real damage. I bet they made copies of the articles and passed to their friends and loved ones: "HST calls me a swine in this latest one, Mum!", "Oh, I'm so proud! I'm going to frame it."

A tattoo: "I'd Rather See My Sister in a Whorehouse Than See My Brother on a Jap Bike."

"A tugboat captain from Pittsburgh tried to put a harpoon in the animal and drag it backward down the
I'm not sure I'd say this is Thompson at his very best, but if you enjoy his peculiar style it's still here in spades. The book contains many good examples of his writing in short essay format. I picked it up because I wanted something interesting and easily readable ("literary popcorn," in my mind). His prose is explosive, bizarre, and shrewd, as he castigates the American political figures of the time with outlandish visions of violence and public disgrace.

Here Thompson is writing at the time
There are two problems with this collection.

First, they all should be arranged chronologically, as they provide a running commentary on the political events unfolding in the mid-'80s. But the first few columns in the book jump around in time. A column on the fallout from Gary Hart's sexual mischief is out of place among columns from 1985.

Second, the columns are too short. Thompson's method is to wade deep into the pigshit of politics and society and emerge with a handful of pearls. In these col
Rónán Ó'guaire
A look at a more astute and less excess driven HST. In a very one-sided way, this helped me to catch up on 80's life in the US. The man comes across as puritanical and willfully vicious most of the time, but you can also see that he is shockingly well read and as he says many times himself, morbidly addicted to news.

HST mentions once or twice that the Book of Revelations is one of his main inspirations for writing. He definitely revels in punishing and fiery language. There is also a man who ad
Jul 06, 2007 Dana rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of the Good Doctor.
While Hunter remains one of my all time favorite king-hell madman writer's, Generation of Swine is not his best work. I've never made any systematic study of his writing, but it's my impression that he dropped off substantially somewhere around 1980. Drugs eventually take their toll- even on a professional user such as HST.

All of which is not to say that he doesn't still crank out some good lines and graphs; "The heavy hand of The Law has caught up with almost everybody, and even the innocent a
The key word being "Degradation." As a man who belonged to a certain generation of Americans who actually seemed to care, the 1980's iteration of Dr. Thompson was confused about, and not yet in touch with, a new generation of pig-like humans that was marked primarily by apathy. The pigs are roughly the same as they ever were. It's just that in the 80's, they're no longer fenced in. Not by officials of justice, political leaders, or journalists. A new generation of Woodwards and Bernsteins are re ...more
I read this as the second in the three-part, 1200-page behemoth that is The Gonzo Papers Anthology.

Although it's half the size of part 1, The Great Shark Hunt, it took me longer to read. Partly that's because it's less varied and focuses almost entirely on a motley crew of 1980s American politicians and crooks whose names are all-but meaningless to a Brit reading about them in the 20teens. But mostly it's because Gonzo Papers has become something I turn to each year at the first sign of summer,
Erik Graff
Sep 27, 2009 Erik Graff rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Thompson fans
Recommended to Erik by: Wayne Torp
I believe Wayne brought this up to the Michigan cottage during one of his visits the summer my brother Fin was living there. In any case, that's where I found and read the thing. "The thing" is a collection of satirical pieces, most of them political, some more cultural, by the author of Fear and Loathing in... Most amusing to me was his straight-faced description of Richard M. Nixon's Vietnamese houseboat mistress.
Reagan was headed for the dustbin of history, Bush I readying for jail, televangelists were self immolating, and Gary Hart was packing to move into the White House.

Reagan is considered one of the greatest presidents, Ollie North is a hero, Joel Osteen fills a basketball arena every Sunday, and Hart set the stage for our love of political scandal.

The swine won.
Matt Sides
As far as HST goes, this collection is kind of weak. It's less like the savage HST seen in The Great Shark Hunt or Kingdrom of Fear and more like classic Thompson encased in murky lucite.

Unless you simply must read as much HST as you can, you're better off re-reading The Great Shark Hunt, pausing occasionally to quote Coleridge or state that someone "stomped the terra"
Good but not great, disappointing compared to his other work. Instead of collecting Thompson's best writing from the 80's, this book simply catalogues all the columns he wrote over a set period. Because of this, Generation of Swine isn't as good as The Great Shark Hunt, the first book in the Gonzo Papers series.
Ah, if only he were here now to share a few words on Sarah Palin, the "Bush Victory Tour" and Bernie Madow. I miss him.
Lame rants about Ollie North and Iran/Contra that fail to disclose North's defense of his Mai Lai Massacre peeps in Vietnam and/or Reagan's conniving with the Ayatollah to keep our embassy hostages until after Carter was defeated just like Nixon did with the Paris Peace Accords offering the NVA better terms than they could get from Johnson, if they would hold out until after Nixon was elected. None dare say traitor when its the right wing working against America, but I was hoping that the doctor ...more
I don't like it when Thompson gets political.
Politics is ugly stuff, and turns a man that you could find interesting or enjoyable to read into an opinionated far left ass with little actual conception of politics at all.
This reality is ever so noticeable, because whenever he actually wants to talk about politics, he normally rings up one of his buddies, normally a McGovern style left winger with a good hatred for the GOP on the back burner to ask what is going on.
If someone tells you at great
Jun 08, 2009 Stop added it

The STOP SMILING Downfall of American Publishing Issue dedicates 40 pages to an oral history of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, which includes interviews with collaborators and friends such as Ralph Steadman, Craig Vetter, wife Anita Thompson, PJ O'Rourke, and more.

About the issue, Slate media critic Jack Shafer wrote, "Stop Smiling's oral history of Hunter S. Thompson bested Rolling Stone's similarly constructed special issue about the Doctor in every way.

Drew Barth
The Great Gonzo Slump. That's what the 80s were, even Hunter admitted it was a horrid time for writing and nearly everything else. But still, he was able to put out some fine articles in that decade, even if many were a bit lac-luster.
I can't even begin to describe how long it originally took me to get though this volume, not due to it being a bad read, of course not, it wasn't even a boring one, but it's one of those books that has a spot where to bookmark stays. It was somewhere around 2/3 of
George Leach
Generation of Swine is compromised of various magazine piece's written by Hunter during the 1980s spanning from late 1985 to early 1988. The vast bulk of the articles are political, predominately focusing on the 'story of the week' and the 88' US Presidental elections with a lot of coverage of the Iran/Contra affair and subsequent fall out from that. There are some stand-alone pieces from Hunter's own bizarre life but most are political commentaries centered around the goings-on in the White Hou ...more
Ryan Milbrath
Like The Great Shark Hunt, A Generation of Swine by Hunter S. Thompson is a collection of articles and essays written by the master of satirical observation. This time around, Thompson’s collections of essays surround his analysis of the culture and political climate of the 1980’s. It’s interesting to note that in The Great Shark Hunt, and Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72, Thompson figures that it couldn’t get much worse with the re-election of Nixon. With the advent of Reagan, the ev ...more
Dan S
I still think the trademark HST is there to be found, it just takes a little more digging to find it at this point in his career (and it takes some legit literary excavation by the time you get to Hey Rube).

Jann Wenner's assertion that Thompson just couldn't put it together after the Rumble in the Jungle debacle doesn't check out, and I think it's safe to chalk part of that up to a rumored falling out between the two.

Because he does put it together at times. There are multiple columns in this c
A bunch of snippets relating to political events of the 1980s. Not well meshed, but sometimes entertaining.

Earth receive an honored guest;
William Yeats is laid to rest:
Let the Irish vessel lie
Emptied of its poetry.

Time that is intolerant
Of the brave and innocent,
And indifferent in a week
To a beautiful physique,

Worships language and forgives
Everyone by whom it lives;
Pardons cowardice, conceit,
Lays its honors at their feet.

Time that with this strange excuse
Pardoned Kipling and his views,
And will
HST has yet to let me down, even though he is the tragic central figure of some type of hype vortex and anyone who claims to like him these days is either a mindless wimp tricked into fandom by the Depp movie or a bigoted 'Gonzo revivalist' who never left graduate school.

Though he repeats himself, HST's love of language comes through, and his repetition is likely his reaction to emphatic phrases and words. The book is a joy to read, and his ringing indictment of the 80's is still quite relevant
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Hunter Stockton Thompson was an American journalist and author, famous for his book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. He is credited as the creator of Gonzo journalism, a style of reporting where reporters involve themselves in the action to such a degree that they become the central figures of their stories. He is also known for his promotion and use of psychedelics and other mind-altering substanc ...more
More about Hunter S. Thompson...

Other Books in the Series

The Gonzo Papers (4 books)
  • The Great Shark Hunt: Strange Tales from a Strange Time (The Gonzo Papers, #1)
  • Songs of the Doomed: More Notes on the Death of the American Dream
  • Better Than Sex: Confessions of a Political Junkie
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas The Rum Diary Hell's Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72 The Great Shark Hunt: Strange Tales from a Strange Time (The Gonzo Papers, #1)

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“There are times, however, and this is one of them, when even being right feels wrong. What do you say, for instance, about a generation that has been taught that rain is poison and sex is death? If making love might be fatal and if a cool spring breeze on any summer afternoon can turn a crystal blue lake into a puddle of black poison right in front of your eyes, there is not much left except TV and relentless masturbation. It's a strange world. Some people get rich and others eat shit and die.” 597 likes
“Maybe there is no Heaven. Or maybe this is all pure gibberish—a product of the demented imagination of a lazy drunken hillbilly with a heart full of hate who has found a way to live out where the real winds blow—to sleep late, have fun, get wild, drink whisky, and drive fast on empty streets with nothing in mind except falling in love and not getting arrested . . . Res ipsa loquitur. Let the good times roll.” 460 likes
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