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Gonzo: The Oral History Of Hunter S. Thompson
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Gonzo: The Oral History Of Hunter S. Thompson

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  8,152 ratings  ·  225 reviews
The star-studded, rollicking, juicy story of Hunter S. Thompson, as told by the friends and family who inhabited his world.
Published (first published October 1st 2007)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Greg
I almost, but not quite, wish I hadn't read this book. You can see from my other reviews that I'm a huge fan of HST's writings, and by the very nature of his gonzo style one gets the sense that one knows him from his work alone. Not so. Or not completely so, of course. This book (which as an oral biography is basically just a collection of quotes from the people who knew HST the best talking about him) reveals HST as a horribly abusive narcissist who lacked the self-discipline to become a truly ...more
Ruth
This book was a pain in my neck. I was hoping we were done with the privileged white guy, and his drunken ways. But Hunter T. makes your standard inadequate male look like a hero.

What a crazy asshole. I don’t care how brilliant he was. I do intend to read his books, it is the least I can do for such a shameful, wasteful life.

When Amy Winehouse died, Tony Bennet said she sinned against her talent. That is true of H.T., if you want to concede he was that much of a genius--it might work for you.

Jan
...more
Interzone
Nov 25, 2007 Interzone rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: gonzos
This book has stolen, or borrowed several memories from another book dealing on HST.

Also it should be noted that the introduction by Johnny Depp was not written for this book, but rather was used in an article several years ago for Rolling Stone, he had no say in its publication for the text at hand.

Keep in mind that Jann Wenner was on terrible terms with HST during his final days. Anita Thompson (HST's widow) also refused to have any of her words used in the publication of this text leading
...more
Kelly B
I give everything I like 5 stars. And 1 if it sucks. It would be zero but then you might just think I forgot to rate how bad it sucks. And anything by and about Hunter S. Thompson is usually something I'm going to dig. I based my review, not on the writing like usual, because this is a chronological book based on interviews from people in his life, (minus his 2nd wife, Anita Thompson, who refused to have her words published, which makes me wonder why because she was in the latest, and best that ...more
Mary
I'm fond of the "oral biography" format, and I'm a fan of some of Thompson's work (and full disclosure: I used to be ga-ga over his stuff in my youth). I was a little worried that Wenner would make the book sort of self-serving and maybe it is a little, but I thought overall this was very well done.

Not surprisingly, Thompson spends a lot of time being appalling to people. And I didn't realize how little productive time there was in his life. The drugs and alcohol really did limit him very quickl
...more
Jennifer Waite
Gonzo was published in 2007, but I guess I was busy. Rolling Stone's Jann Wenner and Corey Seymour (mainly Seymour), gathered insight and anecdotes from those closest to him to compile this biography. It's a great read that goes all the way back to his boyhood in Kentucky. It's a must read for anyone who considers themself a fan and fascinating for aspiring writers (who should be forced to sign a contract pinky-swearing to stop trying to be the next Hunter Thompson). However, one should be posit ...more
J.P.
Aug 04, 2008 J.P. rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: biography fans, Hunter S. Thompson fans
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ken Heard
A comprehensive look at the career of Gonzo journalist Hunter Thompson. The oral narration has everything ..from Hunter's Kentucky Derby and Rhode Island yacht racing essays to Fear and Loating in Las Vegas to his eventual demise due to drug and alchohol addiction.

As a long-time journalist, I became enamored with Thompson in the early 1980s, reading Shark Hunt and the Fear and Loathing books. I drifted away from him as I got older; the drug usage he bragged of was no longer cool and instead wast
...more
Kimmo Sinivuori
I really like oral histories. Legs McNeils Please Kill Me - The Oral History of Punk is a masterpiece. The thing with oral histories is that you get what you read. This applies to HST particularly well as George McGovern once said that the great thing with HST is that you get what you see.
This book has particular credibility as it is compiled by Rolling Stone founder and HST employer Jann Wenner. The variety of characters interviewed is very good. Testimonies by all sorts of people from along HS
...more
Elizabeth
There's a scene in Desert Solitaire (I think) where Edward Abbey describes two vultures circling the sky above him and he talks about the privilege of having your bones picked clean by them.

By the time I finished reading Gonzo, I felt something like that except the privilege of publicly picking the corpse clean did not result in leaving it with any dignity. I didn't need to know anything about the particulars of Thompson's bodily functions or the point of entry/exit of the bullet.

The best parts
...more
Steve Kettmann
I have liked oral biographies ever since I read the George Plimpton/Jean Stein volume "Edie," and for dealing with the outsized legacy of Hunter S. Thompson, I think it was a great choice. In the end this book made me no less intrigued by Thompson the writer, even as I came to understand how blowing it on big stories really did seem to be something essential to his writerly DNA. But what really stayed with me is all the unsavory details of just how beastly HST was to the women in his life. It's ...more
Dave
Mar 07, 2009 Dave rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: beginner HST fans
For serious Hunter fans, this book is hard to get through. Written in choppy paragraphs from those who knew him best, the hodge podge makeup paints a picture of HST that most of us already know - and really only serves as a way for Jann and other people in the book to grab onto his celebrity and take a piece of it for themselves.
George Presley
My first complaint, I found the narrative to be choppy. It did not flow. It was OK but not really enjoyable. Reading a biography about Thompson is not nearly as much fun as his own description of himself in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. In Fear and Loathing he became a caricature and a very amusing one at that, but the real Hunter Thompson comes off as a brash, insolent brat with a huge serving of pomposity to drive it home. To read all these accounts from people who worked, lived, and suffere ...more
Jon Paprocki
Independent perspectives on the good doctor's life from other people, but nowhere near as entertaining as his books. It's a stream of anecdotes from people that Thompson knew organized mostly chronologically, which is an interesting way to write a biography, but that also makes it feel unfinished. This feels like something a biographer would put together for personal research purposes in order to write a biography, and I was left just wishing that I had picked a more traditional biography to rea ...more
Jake
A must-read for hunter fans. Probably 3 stars for the uninitiated. The stories rounded out his myth for me.
Raegan Butcher
A collection of anecdotes about one of the most unique americans to have ever stomped on the Terra.
Marian
the man was fantastic, and that's just the truth.
Bmilioto
amazing book! author's not too bad, either.
Jake Losh
This is a pretty terrible book. Let's put away the "problematic" subject (HST, himself) for the moment. An "oral biography" is very lazy way to write a biography. It's almost as if Wenner went to the trouble of transcribing all kinds of recorded interviews with HST's pals, but then instead of writing a real biography just decided to copy and paste them together into a narrative. It's not a multi-dimensional portrait: The stories are overwhelmingly laudatory ("Wow, wasn't that a crazy, kooky stor ...more
Jacquelyn
I finished this book two days ago and it's kind of haunting me. Well, Hunter's life is really. I feel so conflicted in my feelings about him as a person, as he seemed to have sides to his personality that highly conflicted one another. At times, I hated him and thought he was a horrible asshole. Other times, I pitied him. Sometimes, I respected him. Afterall, no one could ever accuse him of not living life on his own terms, and that, in my book, is one of the most respectable things that can be ...more
Austin
If going into this book you knew anything about Hunter S. Thompson, then the revelation I had early on in the text is maybe underwhelming: Hunter S. Thompson was nuts.

This guy lived a life with hardly any rules. I had a somewhat skewed mental judgment of what Thompson's writing style was like previous to this (and not because it reprints a ton of his work - it only reprints three or four pieces), and seeing and hearing of his life gave me a more accurate picture of his work, alongside him as a p
...more
Andrew
Jann Wenner, publisher of Rolling Stone, and Corey Seymour, an editor at Rolling Stone who worked with Hunter Thompson in the 1990s, put together this oral biography by interviewing 100 different people about their experiences with the gonzo journalist.

It is organized by stages of his life, so it comes off well as a biography of his adult years, though William McKeen's biography is much more complete on his youth and early working years (including the Air Force) than "Gonzo". However, the peopl
...more
Jon
This book wasn’t an easy read. It was disjointed and as you might expect from a book made up of quotes from different people, kept contradicting itself and confusing stories.

That being said, I think it was an important book to release about Hunter S. Thompson. You still have the numerous accounts that place him into a godlike status, retelling famous tales of his drug-filled exploits. But more importantly, you also get a feel for what he was really like and there were many glimpses of the dark s
...more
James
“But don’t forget – The Scum Also Rises.” – Hunter S. Thompson

There are enough texts examining and illuminating the myth of that great social and literary pyrotechnic Hunter S. Thompson, but an oral biography from the people who were closest to him seemed like a worthwhile read.

Gonzo: The Life of Hunter S. Thompson is a complete biography through Thompson’s zany life that manages to reveal a few intriguing tidbits about the man behind the legend. Hunter’s first wife, Sandy (now Sondi), had two a
...more
Simon
I discovered the works of Hunter S. Thompson my freshman year in college. Although I can’t remember, exactly, how I stumbled across Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, I do recall marveling in the zaniness of it. I subsequently went out and purchased all of Thompson’s books. It’s not so much Thompson’s writing, but more the personality and attitude that comes across on the page that I enjoy. That said, I had been waiting to read the new book Gonzo, an oral history of Thompson’s life, since its publi ...more
Turquoise
Hunter Stockton Thompson. He lived a life that many of us secretly envy and fear. A life filled with excess of alcohol, personal liberty, passion, and drugs. He danced with good and evil, morality and sin. He was brave and he was cowardly. And perhaps it was all worth it and tragic in the end. Who are we to decide as spectators? Sure his life wasn't a bed of roses but it was sheer magic touched with hell for those who knew of him as fans but also intimately. Many lives roll quietly into the dust ...more
M. Milner
Corey Seymour and Jann Wenner's oral biography of Hunter Thompson is a balanced, interesting look behind the curtain, as it were, of one the more interesting literary figures of the 20th century.

The book gets down-and-dirty on Thompson’s life, from his early days in Louisville to his days as a young writer in New York, South America and San Fransisco to his final days in Woody Creek. It sheds light not just on how he wrote his most famous books, but on how everybody else reacted to them; a form
...more
Nicholas
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dan
Oct 11, 2010 Dan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Hunter S Thomspon
Recommended to Dan by: Jonathan
This Oral Biography of Hunter S Thompson is an excellent history of the Man and The legend and how the two were at odds with each other.

Hunter was a horrible drug addict and drunk. But he was a great man, a great author and a person capable of evil and good. This biography shows it all. When Hunter was being a miserable puke and when he was at his greatest as an author and a friend. It told it all, the good and the bad (and in this way it reminded meof the book Speaker for the Dead.)

I think that
...more
Cathy
This book made me think of people with that extra spark. People that believe in themselves so fully that others are magically drawn into their sphere. I can think of only a handful of people I have known that have this power. I admire it - though I see the downside of it, where it can be hard for people like this to empathize with others because they are so centered in their own world. But people in HST's life so wanted to be a part of his world that he could treat them horribly and they'd be ri ...more
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“John Belushi had that aura of someone who doesn't have a lot of time - that's why he was a little frantic about everything. I think Oscar [Acosta] had that too. They were both holding onto the end of the tornado, and somehow I think they knew it just wasn't gonna last.” 0 likes
“Hunter and John [Belushi] both shared a sense of possibility, and they seemed to have no limits. There was no Governor of the night. It was like being off on adventures with Huck and Tom - everything was possible.” 0 likes
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