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The Great Shark Hunt: Strange Tales from a Strange Time (The Gonzo Papers #1)

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  8,883 ratings  ·  255 reviews
The first volume in Hunter S. Thompson’s bestselling Gonzo Papers offers brilliant commentary and outrageous humor, in his signature style.

Originally published in 1979, the first volume of the bestselling "Gonzo Papers" is now back in print. The Great Shark Hunt is Dr. Hunter S. Thompson's largest and, arguably, most important work, covering Nixon to napalm, Las
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Paperback, 589 pages
Published November 6th 2003 by Simon & Schuster (first published 1979)
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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
5th out of 12 books — 20 voters
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
18th out of 110 books — 89 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Arthur Graham
Gets bogged down with minutiae at points, but then this is where we often find some of HST's keener insights re: sports, politics, and everything else, after all the bullshit has been laboriously shoveled, scraped, and swept away. Quite a lot to wade through, but if you're anything like me, you'd probably rather hear it from a drug-addled maniac with no claim to objectivity than some shill from the New York Times.

HST was a remarkable thinker and writer, not only for pioneering a whole new form o
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Benjamin Church
I came into reading this really long Thompson collection somewhat accidentally, but it shows that he is an extraordiary journalist with a convincing desire to pursue greater truths - an impression that really outshines the whimsical, drug-obsessed icon that he has been reduced to by the culture at large. Most of this book is about his experiences covering Richard Nixon and, given that we are at the height of another excessively arrogant conservative regime on the verge of self-destruction result ...more
Chloe
Mar 17, 2012 Chloe rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Chloe by: Matt Darnell
Readers who only know of Hunter S. Thompson from his acid-washed hunt for the American Dream in one of this countries most deranged metropolitan wastes will find a different sort of Hunter here. Given the man's talent for spectacle, pomposity and grand acts of destruction, it's easy for people to forget that before he was a legend, Hunter S. Thompson was a talented and capable journalist- one of those rare souls who was perfectly able to capture the flavor of the 60s zeitgeist, both its rapturou ...more
Bob
"If I followed my better instincts right now, I would put this typewriter in the Volvo and drive to the home of the nearest politician -- any politician -- and hurl the goddamn machine through his front window ... flush the bugger out with an act of lunatic violence then soak him down with mace and run him naked down Main Street in Aspen with a bell around his neck and black lumps all over his body from the jolts of a high powered "Ball Buster" cattle prod.

But old age has either mellowed me or b
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Asaucier
THE GREAT SHARK HUNT: Gonzo Papers, Volume 1, Strange Tales from a Strange Time by Hunter S. Thompson

One of the best. An absolute must for every American, let alone Thompson fan - or journalist for that matter.

The following are a list of the articles from it that I have read, along with commentary and favorite quotes.

ARTICLES
The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved

A Southern City with Northern Problems

Fear and Loathing at the Super Bowl

Jacket Copy for Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savag
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Matti Karjalainen
Hunter S. Thompsonin "Suuri hainmetsästys" (Sammakko, 2010) sisältää valikoiman gonzo-journalismin isän kirjallisia trippejä 1960- ja 1970-luvulta. Thompsonin persoonallisia tekstejä julkaistiin mm. Rolling Stonessa ja Playboyssa, ja niiden aiheet käsittelevät mm. ammattilaisurheilua, Yhdysvaltain poliittista kuohuntaa, hippiliikettä ja erilaisia päihteitä. Presidentti Richard Nixon joutuu erityisesti Dr. Gonzon hampaisiin, ja Watergate-skandaalin käsittely kattaakin "Suuren hainmetsästyksen" se ...more
Chin Jian xiong
Hunter S. Thompson defines everything good about journalism, despite extreme subjectivity, rampant decadence and pure mania. There's strange power in words, how Hunter seems more trustworthy than any other piece of longform work out there.

The last writer who had this impact on me was David Foster Wallace, due to how his extreme maximalism and constant introspection created the illusion that he was right there talking in your face. Well, while David Foster Wallace manifests himself as that philo
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TheLongWait
This is the true Hunter S Thompson. Building his legend writing about whatever they throw at him and making it his own. It's easy to forget that despite his public persona, Thompson was a tremendous WRITER who could draw many emotions out of his readers. A personal favorite of mine and a book I never tire of.
Dennis
A little tedious. I think I've overdosed on Thompson. I thought some of his usual outrageousness was out of place and read like he was trying to hard to be crazy. A few good essays. I especially liked the one on Jean Claude Killy.
Michael Jr.
This is a must-read collection of Thompson's work from his prime in the mid-60s through late 70s. It collects, as no other volume does, his writing about the Brown Power movement that his friend Oscar Acosta was part of, his trials and tribulations with Richard Nixon (outside of the campaign in '72 and including Watergate), and the various fragments, features, and figments that came together to be Gonzo journalism.

Unlike Generation of Swine, Kingdom of Fear, Songs of the Doomed, and Hey Rube, th
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Stop
May 21, 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.


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Rich Meyer
This book of Hunter S. Thompson essays and articles covers most of his early career, especially the time period when he was writing Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Hell's Angels and the Watergate scandal. Many of these articles were incorporated into those other books, but a good portion of it hasn't been printed before outside of the original, now very-hard-to-find, periodicals.

This is vintage Thompson. He covers pop icons (Jean Claude Killy, Muhammad Ali) in a way that you wish even E! News co
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Adam
Jul 09, 2014 Adam rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: square journalists, punks, electoral junkies
The most extraordinary thing I've ever read. I inhaled this book. It would keep me up way too late at night, drinking whiskey and chamomile tea. Truly hilarious. I would laugh aloud like an old man. Gonzo's writing consumed my thoughts for the two months it took me to finish the almost 700-page monster. Aside from Lester Bangs and various punk histories (to be reviewed soon), really the only thing I had read about America in the 70s. And the first thing I had read about electoral politics in the ...more
Brett
While this book is a collection of other writings, it is like a best of Hunter S Thompson. I have never read anything in my life where there was so few lulls and yet so many memorable stories of the shark hunt as the title says, going through customs with a ton of drugs, going to the Kentucky Derby, writing on the culture of the 70's change from the spirit of the 60's. Hunter was truly a wild journalist whose kind may never be witnessed again but whose writing is undeniably a spirit of great Ame ...more
Nick
What the sub-title means by the "Gonzo Papers" is that this book is a Thompson sampler; It collects dozens and dozens of articles and book exceprts on subjects from covering the Kentucky Derby to race tension in LA following the slaying of a prominent Latino TV reporter to Muhammed Ali's loss to Leon Spinks to Nixon's impeachment and resulting fallout. I really liked this book - I was never bored, which is no easy feat considering the wide breadth of material covered and the sheer length (almost ...more
1.1
I will preface this review by stating that I thoroughly enjoyed Songs of the Doomed and loved Generation of Swine, which might not be salient to the average reader, but I have read a bunch of Hunter's stuff and this volume gave me a serious case of deja vu. Notwithstanding, it was enjoyable stuff to reread, but I was hoping for a repeat of the incredibly engrossing sense I got reading Songs for the first time... an impossible wish to fulfill, for any writer, let alone a dead one who prompted a n ...more
Chris Bushman
I know Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is the "Great Work" for which he will be forever remembered and deservedly so. However, Shark Hunt is a kind of Penguin Reader of the Essential HST and as such is the indispensable survey of the glory years.

I read this six or eight times between the ages of 19 and 22. If you have a brain ripe for warping, crack this one some time.
Kris Ashton
Few things are more enjoyable than reading an author at the height of his or her powers. Stephen King’s work in the early to mid-1980s comes immediately to mind – it seems to thrum with an energy that his newer stuff, while undoubtedly better crafted, just can’t match. The Great Shark Hunt exhibits Hunter S. Thompson at the peak of his writing prowess.

It’s a collection of political essays, the bulk of them from the early to mid-1970s and focusing on Richard Nixon’s campaign for a second term (f
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Greg Strandberg
This is a good book. I'm not going to pretend it's anything real special. I think it's more someone trying to milk it for all it's worth, actually. And that's just fine by me. Still, going back to Hell's Angels might be a better use of your time.
Bob
The anthology format is very helpful for you to see his development from an ordinary chemical-abusing foreign freelancer into the writer through whose eyes I saw some of the most important images of the '72 presidential campaign,Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72 riots in hispanic Los Angeles, the Hell's Angels Hell's Angelsand the Freak Power campaign for Aspen Colorado local offices.
Gordon
Probably the book (collection of essays) that made me want to write.
Aaron Dome
An excellent compilation of Thompson's work.

This collection may be a bit frustrating for fans who have already read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, FAL On the Campaign Trail '72, and Hell's Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga, because it includes large portions of those works.

Most important (and most interesting) is the inclusion of some of Thompson's early work from first half of the 1960s, proving that Thompson could play it relatively "straight" with results just as engrossing as his later "
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James
Thompson was the quintessential voice of the American counter-culture during the 1960's and 70's. Thompson along with Wolfe engineered a new brand of journalism, one that Thompson would refer to as "Gonzo". Rather than just reporting on the story Thompson aimed at reporting on the story of getting the story.

Thompson is often mistaken for a drug addled, violent maniac, but he was so much more than that, as he also drank prodigiously. But, in fairness how else could a reporter capture the feel of
...more
Kane
Lots of variety here. Hunter S Thompson got put on a lot of great journalistic assignments and I really enjoyed getting a longer term perspective of how he fit into American culture from the 60s to the 70s. There are great portraits here of Muhammad Ali, Richard Nixon, and Jimmy Carter in particular. Thompson's style was a real boon when it comes to getting the real story, and it's really something just picturing how such an outlandish character could get so close to some of our nation's greates ...more
David
Some of the best writing ever published by Doctor Gonzo can be found in Volume 1 of his Gonzo Papers, The Great Shark Hunt. This volume of work contains a wide variety of snippets from Thompson’s writing career, from the span of 1962 to 1978.

Let me begin by saying that Thompson is one of my favorite authors, and I have read nearly all of his books, including one of the other volumes in the Gonzo Papers collection. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is a great piece of work, and is probably the most
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Vikram
Aug 02, 2011 Vikram added it
Hunter S Thompson pioneered 'gonzo' journalism, where the journalist is never a passive observer in the story, but indeed appears in the thick of it, oftentimes as a provocateur. The Great Shark Hunt is a collection of such 'gonzo' stories, from the early 1960's to the late 1970's. Included in this volume is 'The Kentucky Derby is decadent and depraved', the first story where the term made its first appearance.
Chronologically, the earlier writings in the book deal predominantly with cultures we
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Phil
The book is a collection of his essays from the 70's. Thompson's writing style has changed the way I look at things now. He doesn't have a filter between his brain and fingers and that's where he shines. Yeah, although he uses caricatures to describe the filth, drunkenness and debauchery that happens on the infield of the Kentucky Derby (and thereby ruins the whole air of the event), it's a new way (back in the 70's) of journalism. so deal. Thompson hated Dick Nixon and he let the president and ...more
Leslie  Golden
A collection of Hunter's Best work that stands on its own. It includes excerpts from some of HST's longer works (Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, The Hell's Angels, etc.) and reprints of some of his incredible essays. Hunter Thompson's view of the world always contained a combination of moral outrage, amazement and sardonic humor but his eloquence and integrity made each essay a treasure.

It seems strange to associate integrity with this writer considering his reputation but Thompson alw
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Trevor
From his adventures South of the Border, to his mind-numbing dealings with politics in the 60s and 70s, Thompson offers a viewpoint not often revisited in historical textbooks, biographies or journals. Hunter S. has a brilliant tendency to completely remove the reader from her time and place, and bring her along, right next to him, bumping and grinding through these historical events. You can almost taste the cigarette smoke and hear his teeth rattling.

My favorite article, by far, was about the
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Adam
Here we have a crash-course in Thompson from the 1960s and '70s, including:
--The first "Gonzo Journalism" article, a piece on the Kentucky Derby that introduces the collaboration with Ralph Steadman and seems to hold the origins of the "Fear and Loathing" moniker.
--Excerpts from his famous books "Hell's Angels," "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," and "Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72."
--The article recounting the events leading up to "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," explaining Thompso
...more
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Is this a good read? 9 34 May 06, 2013 07:53PM  
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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)
  • Generation of Swine: Tales of Shame and Degradation in the '80's
  • 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 Kingdom of Fear: Loathsome Secrets of a Star-Crossed Child in the Final Days of the American Century

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“I've always considered writing the most hateful kind of work. I suspect it's a bit like fucking, which is only fun for amateurs. Old whores don't do much giggling.” 219 likes
“In a nation run by swine, all pigs are upward-mobile and the rest of us are fucked until we can put our acts together: not necessarily to win, but mainly to keep from losing completely.” 167 likes
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