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

4.07  ·  Rating Details ·  10,574 Ratings  ·  303 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 Vegas to W
ebook, 624 pages
Published September 6th 2011 by Simon & Schuster (first published 1979)
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Community Reviews

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Arthur Graham
Mar 04, 2014 Arthur Graham rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 26, 2012 Chloe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Benjamin Church
Aug 03, 2007 Benjamin Church rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 05, 2008 Bob rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"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
Jan 29, 2017 Mike rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
I stayed away from Thompson for a while, due to an impression I'd developed in part from a comic book I read as a kid called Transmetropolitan (which featured an ostensibly Thompson-like protagonist) and in part from the movie Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, that his writing was cartoonish, overly preoccupied with trying to be funny, and basically not serious. I would say there are a few pieces here that really do fit that description ("The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved", supposedly th ...more
Chin Jian xiong
Dec 25, 2012 Chin Jian xiong rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
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
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.

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
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
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.
Mar 03, 2013 Dennis rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jun 01, 2014 Michael Jr. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, nonfiction
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

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.

Rich Meyer
Oct 08, 2011 Rich Meyer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2013
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
Dec 17, 2008 Brett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Chris Bushman
Apr 02, 2013 Chris Bushman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
Kylie Poppen
May 07, 2015 Kylie Poppen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a long-haul to get through...a lot of gonzo for one sitting, but quite a few of the pieces make it well worth it (and hence the 4 stars). Some excellent bits about San Francisco, California, and counterculture along with painstaking political trail journalism and self-deprecation.
Jan 05, 2009 Gordon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Probably the book (collection of essays) that made me want to write.
Ernest Hogan
Jun 01, 2012 Ernest Hogan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Re-read it as the Trump Era got fired up. I'll probably be re-reading more Thompson in the next few years . . .
David Hartzheim
May 03, 2015 David Hartzheim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Doctor is in....sane. More good stuff from the man who should have known better.
Nick Mesha
Oct 03, 2016 Nick Mesha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
By far the best Hunter book I have read. With levity and wit, Hunter cuts right to the nut of societies problems, which mostly all still exist today. This book is split into four parts covering his writing from 1960-1970s. Here are some of my favorite passages.

"Fear and Loathing in the Bunker". The New York Times, 1974

On a need to know basis, the milkman and I understood that I was not among the needy. Nor was he, for that matter. We were both a lot happier just doing what we were told.

George O
Nov 30, 2016 Lavender rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Filled with stories about politics and sports, I really should not have liked this book. (I am not a fan of either sports or politics.) Somehow it was still interesting to me, though. Maybe it's the stream of consciousness style of writing or the absurd drug induced mania often described. Anyway, I will likely seek out the next couple if books in the series.
Gonzon mestarin moninaisia juttuja sisältävä jytäkkä lukupaketti. Ostin Sammakon alueelta parillakympillä kirjamessuilla 2012 ja lueskelin tätä jo kesällä, mutta vasta nyt sain loppuun. Luin tämän oikeastaan kahdella pidemmällä kertarykäisyllä.

Hunterin proosakiihdyttely on hienoimmillaan kirjaan sisällytetyssä, laajassa Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72 -osiossa, joka toivottavasti joskus julkaistaan suomeksi kokonaan. Tässä pitkässä, katastrofaaliseksi osoittautunutta Nixonin uudellee
Jan 01, 2010 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: purged-books
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
Jul 04, 2012 Ugh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I actually read this as part of 'The Gonzo Papers Anthology', but I've just discovered to my enormous disappointment that the two books that make up the second half of the anthology comprise stories of only 2 or 3 pages, which doesn't really give you enough time to wiggle yourself a nice little niche and settle down for some real enjoyment, so I don't think I'm going to work my way through those anything like as quickly as I did The Great Shark Hunt.

Anyway, I loved most of TGSH. Not all of it ad
Aug 27, 2016 Phil rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hunter Thompson got an early start and spent some ten years in low-level journalism jobs and as a novelist manqué before publishing a deeply reported book about the Hells Angels, which led to jobs at higher-profile venues like The New York Times Magazine. In 1970, he found his voice with "The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved" for Scanlan's, a raging, fully shaped comic vision of America coming apart at the seams and one of the funniest nonfiction essays ever written. It established the to ...more
Jonathan Rose
Dec 20, 2016 Jonathan Rose rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you are a fan of the Fear and Loathing books by Hunter Thompson, then many of the essays in this book will excite you just as much. His writing was unique. His writing was him. So if you didn't like him, or the thought of him, or the idea of what he represented then you will not enjoy his writing, simple as that. There is no disassociation here, he IS the stories he wrote, and that was the essence of Gonzo, at least that's how I perceive it. I personally love it, as his work was honest, and, ...more
Willow Redd
Dec 07, 2015 Willow Redd rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What can one say about Hunter S. Thompson that hasn't already been said? He was a madman, a genius, and an excellent writer. Collected here are several of his greatest pieces, such as "The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved," which show his mastery of the written word and his search for an absolute truth in his writing which would be the birth of Gonzo. This same truth, unfortunately, also created the character of "Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, wild man of the ages" that would eventually burn out ...more
Feb 26, 2014 1.1 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 09, 2016 José rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Asombrosa antología periodística a pesar de la traducción de Anagrama, que esta vez deja mucho que desear. Thompson produce una radiografía contracultural que en sus mejores momentos (La crónica sobre el asesinato del reportero Rubén Salazar por parte de la Policía de Los Ángeles, el perfil del esquiador francés Jean-Claude Killy) arranca la yugular de la sociedad estadounidense aburguesada de la posguerra y en sus momentos menos creativos o coherentes (la pesca-protesta de Marlon Brando, la res ...more
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Is this a good read? 11 41 Apr 14, 2016 08:48AM  
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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

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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.” 239 likes
“I have never seen much point in getting heavy with stupid people or Jesus freaks, just as long as they don't bother me. In a world as weird and cruel as this one we have made for ourselves, I figure anybody who can find peace and personal happiness without ripping off somebody else deserves to be left alone. They will not inherit the earth, but then neither will I... And I have learned to live, as it were, with the idea that I will never find peace and happiness, either. But as long as I know there's a pretty good chance I can get my hands on either one of them every once in a while, I do the best I can between high spots.” 200 likes
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