Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72” as Want to Read:
Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72

by
4.12  ·  Rating details ·  18,953 ratings  ·  802 reviews
From the legendary journalist and creator of “Gonzo” journalism Hunter S. Thompson comes the bestselling critical look at Nixon and McGovern’s 1972 presidential election.

Forty years after its original publication, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72 remains a cornerstone of American political journalism and one of the bestselling campaign books of all time. Hunter
...more
Paperback, 40th Anniversary Edition, 481 pages
Published June 26th 2012 by Simon & Schuster Paperbacks (first published 1973)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.12  · 
Rating details
 ·  18,953 ratings  ·  802 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72
Melki
Jan 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, politics
Jesus! Where will it end? How low do you have to stoop in this country to be President?

As Thompson's reputation precedes him, I had no clue what to expect from this book. The drug-addled ramblings of a drunken madman, perhaps? Imagine my surprise to find his writing to be sharp, clear, keenly observant, and funny as hell.

Oh, the madman pops up now and then with lines like - ...I was bored from bad noise on the radio and half-drunk from doing off a quart of Wild Turkey between the Chicago and
...more
Joe Soltzberg
Nov 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72 is a high-speed drive through the world of politics with none other than Hunter S. Thompson in the driver's seat (with a glass of Wild Turkey in his lap and a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers, and laughers in the trunk). For readers familiar with his earlier works, F&L on the Campaign Trail reads like Hell's Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga mixed with Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. The blended style is great and makes ...more
Mike

Ed: Any kind of campaign that taps that energy would...

HST: Would generate a tremendous high for everybody involved in it.

Ed: And would ultimately for you be another paramount experience- out there on the Edge?

HST: Oh, absolutely. But you know you'd be killed, of course, and that would add to it considerably- never knowing when the bullet was coming.


It's a wet and windy late January morning, with what looks like a squall outside, and it just occurred to me that Thompson would really have been
...more
Sean Blake
Jan 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics, non-fiction
Hunter S. Thompson's political epic Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72 is a spiritual sequel to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Thompson continues his scathing and satirical, as well as retrospective, critique of the sixties and early seventies. No other writer has written so well on those years.

Campaign Trail... is a scathing account of American politics and presidential campaigns. Thompson's journey centers on the McGovern-Nixon '72 election. Like a massive drug trip, the book
...more
William
Jul 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nixon was the beginning of the end of the Golden Age of America, the subversion of the working class, the abuse of minorities, the testament to pure greed for money and power, that has led the Republican Party from the sensible charity and honesty of Eisenhower, to the depths of the terrifying clown, Trump, and his obscenely evil opportunists in the wreckage of the GOP.

Hunter was here, at this moment of Nixon's criminal grab for power, close to the center of the obscenity, but only allowed to
...more
Richard
Feb 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ever since first seeing Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas and hearing more about Hunter S Thompson and his journalistic work I made it a mission in life to read as much of his material as possible and this is possibly his crowning jewel in my opinion, followed closely by his account of living with the Hell's Angels in the aptly titled Hell's Angels.

There's no way of truly pinning down what makes this such a great read, although if you are familiar with Thompson you know you will enjoy his
...more
Tom Quinn
I re-read this in early 2016 out of a dim memory and a curious urge to compare the present-day Presidential campaign circus to the 1972 Presidential campaign zoo.

The more things change, the more they stay the same, eh?

The first time I read this I was young, in my mid-twenties. I didn't recognize the names. I laughed some and moved on. I didn't appreciate its savagery, or its brutal honesty. I just dismissed it as a longer version of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas in a different city. My eyes
...more
Alexander
Aug 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Hunter Thompson brings the same weird wit, fragmented headspace, and undeniable charm to this account of the 1972 presidential race. He's a man with political views after my own heart.
Ivonne Rovira
Jan 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who think they don't care about politics
Forget Primary Colors: A Novel of Politics. Even forget All the President's Men and The Selling of the President. Especially forget the overrated Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime. The greatest book on a political campaign of all time is Hunter Thompson's Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail.

Any author can look back at a campaign, but Thompson, despite being drunk or high or hung over for the duration of the election, predicted the future. He
...more
Yair Ben-Zvi
May 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
There's something to reading the words of an addict who both hates and can't live without his vices. And no, this has little to do with drugs. Hunter S. Thompson's truly tragic obsession was with the American Dream, and achieving it, in this work, through politics. And it's an utter balls up. For HST, for America, and for history as well.

It has been a very very long time since I've read Thompson. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was my only other exposure to him and that was way back in that
...more
B
So first off: this book is important. Thompson captures a volatile time in history, both politically and socially. He covers McGovern v. Nixon well but, more importantly, he speaks to the layman's outlook on politics: the corruption, the greed, the confusion, the madness. In his drug and alcohol stupors, Thompson manages to be more honest about the American political process than anyone else. It begs the question: if it takes being that strung out to accurately describe our system, isn't it time ...more
Brian
Oct 22, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The year was 1972 but it could be 2012--heck, it could be nearly ANY year! Hunter S. Thompson covers the "truth" behind the 1972 campaign to either reelect the very divisive and seemingly unpopular President Richard Nixon, or elect one of a slew of potential Democratic candidates. In 1972 Nixon was seen as weak, with the VERY unpopular Vietnam War winding down, but far from over and only dim hope that the troops would be home soon. An economy that was increasingly under the grips of what could ...more
Edward
That public men publish falsehoods
Is nothing new. That America must accept
Like the historical republics corruption and empire
Has been known for years.
Be angry at the sun for setting
If these things anger you.
-Robinson Jeffers


Reading Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72 during the 2016 primary season really drives home the point that the cynical view of politics is in fact the most accurate. The inner workings and machinations of a well-run campaign have so little to do with what the
...more
Bart Schaneman
May 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Of all the possible books one can read, I picked up Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ‘72 this year for two reasons. I wanted to know:

1. Are there parallels in Thompson’s coverage to what we’re experiencing in the era of Donald Trump? Was the Nixon campaign, and was Nixon as a candidate, as depraved and absurd as what we’re seeing today?

2. Should I regret not going on the campaign trail? Is following a campaign a desirable pursuit for a journalist? Or do you just
...more
gaby
Jun 14, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: junkies of all types; historians
Shelves: new-journalism
I have a longstanding affection for reading books in the locations at which the books take place. I developed this interest during an apoplectic fit of maudlin sophomoricism when, at 18, I spent the summer in Paris reading everything possible connected to 20th century literature in that city (the collected volumes of Anais Nin's diaries, Henry Miller's Parisian fantasies, even that Hemingway book that only starts in Paris (The Sun Also Rises?), all those surrealist manifestos, Andre Breton's ...more
Rebecca
Nov 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The vision was to read this book during the 2012 Presidential Campaign to remind myself of the craziness that is politics. My timing was a bit off, but I was reading it during the general election. Hunter S. Thompson wrote this 40 years ago, and the tragedy is that its themes indeed are timeless: greed, power, conviction, failure, etc. etc. etc. He follows the campaign from the very early primary elections, all the way through the end of the general election. I think what keeps it so compelling ...more
Amanda Webb
I miss Hunter S Thompson. He may have been a mad drug crazed writer, but his turn of phrase and his descriptions of decadence have always appealed to me. Any time I see Wild Turkey in a bar I order a shot as a secret tribute to him, even though whiskey isn't usually my thing.


Reading Fear and Loathing on The Campaign Trail seems like more of an insight into what it must have been like to prize work out of Hunter S Thompson than anything else. I didn't really learn anything about American Politics
...more
Brian
Jun 17, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the political horse-race set
The most striking aspect of Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ’72 to a reader in the summer of 2008 (me) is the parallel between 1972 and 2008. As an unpopular war rages, the anointed establishment candidate, replete with a massive lead in endorsements from the major players, loses the inevitable Democratic nomination to an insurgent change candidate, in part because the former has to explain away earlier support for the war the latter opposed from the start. And the Democratic nominee ...more
Al Young
Jan 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a political (and HST) junkie, I knew I had to eventually tackle this famous work. One thing that stands out is that HST is a pretty pragmatic guy. He is pretty liberal, but he’s not nutty liberal, and he has a pretty well-reasoned stance. On top of that, he had keen political insight. Obviously, he was an outsider, but there’s no doubt he knew his stuff. Four decades removed, we may think of HST as a self-parody, or more exactly, we’ve been fed shadows of HST parody and influence (HST’s book ...more
Annie
Mar 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this a lot, but in a kind of disgusted way. It was really interesting (I learned a lot about politics). It was also pretty depressing (I learned a lot about politics). I do really enjoy Hunter S. Thompson's crazed writing style, and the fact that he doesn't really mind offending people and will tell it like it is regardless makes it probably more of an informative book on this election than you might find elsewhere. I probably wouldn't recommend it if you're a Republican, but in that ...more
Erik Graff
Apr 09, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Hunter Thompson fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: biography
How does one classify a book which is ostensibly a journalistic account of the 1972 presidential campaign but is actually more about its author, both essayist about (Thompson is loose, very loose, with the facts) and participant in the events he describes? With misgivings, I classify this as autobiography--albeit, again, loose, very loose, with the facts.

This is not Thompson's best book. Hell's Angels and Fear and Loathing in LasVegas are both better. Indeed, it is pretty clear that this was a
...more
Evan
The P.E. teacher, S.S. Gruppenführer Mr. Martin, in my view, was a sick bastard.

If I'd known the word fascist at the time, I'd have called him that, too, but I was only 10 years old and not well informed. It was inimical to the power structure of Sanders Elementary School to undermine their own authority by telling us, and certainly, therefore, not their inclination to yank from his neck the lanyard that held the whistle that was always perched between his lips for constant blowing, which he
...more
Doc
Apr 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics, classics
while this book doesn't carry the same cultural cache as Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, it is a fascinating look into the cesspool that is the political machine. Thompson's disdain of Richard Nixon is both funny and quaint by today's standards given the current United States president. if you are into the counterculture, and HST fan, a political junkie, or just want to learn more about the era and zeitgeist of the early 1970s, then check this out. it is written in the typical Gonzo Style. just ...more
Dave Geyer
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don’t know that I’ve ever read a book so simultaneously enjoyable and frightening.
Marvin
Dec 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
My second favorite novel of Thompson's after Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Campaign Trail '72 is the epitome of the gonzo journalism experience. The author has just the right amount of straight journalism and personal experience which of course includes some of his own outrageous reactions and opinions. The amazing thing is how much he got right. His predictions were pretty much correct. We now know that the Democrat Party really did sabotage the McGovern campaign and were fine with four years ...more
Mack Simpson
Jul 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are a few books-- very few-- I read that, after I've finished and if they've left an impression on me, I track down and purchase an original 1st edition printing of it to put up on my shelf (perhaps my daughter will read them one day and have a better understanding of who I am; maybe I just like to collect beautiful things). This is one of those books. It's a rare feat to be both timely and classic, and regardless of when you pick this one up, you'll find Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign ...more
L.
Apr 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
thompson, you glorious fucker.
David Sarkies
Feb 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
It Wasn’t the End
5 February 2019

One of the things that I kept wandering as I read this book was how did people perceive Nixon prior to the Watergate Scandal blowing up in his face. I wonder whether he was as much of a polarising President as a certain one today, and did people view the ascension of Nixon in the same way that they viewed the ascension of Trump, that is whether it would be the end of the United States as they knew it. Well, they have lasted at least another fifty years, but I
...more
Patrick Peterson
6 Jan 2019 - I read this when I was in college - between 1973 and 77.
Hunter Thompson was booked as a speaker at my college, so I was preparing for him, or something like that. He did not show up. There were very confirmed rumors that he was often unpredictable and had a big problem with the booze.

I don't remember much about this book except it was kinda fun to read but the perspective on the candidates' positions on various issues was pretty shallow and did not really resonate much.

I do remember
...more
Greg D'Avis
Feb 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Re-read. HST is an acquired taste, I get that, and he was never this good again. It’s my all-time favorite book on U.S. politics, and nice and timely right now. Underneath all the gonzo stuff, this is an unflinching and unsentimental book about America.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Madison Mega-Mara...: # 6 Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72 1 6 Apr 20, 2016 11:19AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Gonzo: The Life of Hunter S. Thompson
  • The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test
  • The Boys on the Bus
  • The Place of Dead Roads
  • Hate Inc.: Why Today's Media Makes Us Despise One Another
  • Memoirs of a Beatnik
  • Freak Kingdom: Hunter S. Thompson's Manic Ten-Year Crusade Against American Fascism
  • The Wild Storm, Vol. 4
  • The Business of Fancydancing
  • Roadmarks
  • Naked Lunch
  • The Joke's Over: Ralph Steadman on Hunter S. Thompson
  • On the Road
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Vol. 4: The Tempest
  • Exterminator!
  • The Western Lands
  • Mad About the Sixties: The Best of the Decade (Mad)
  • Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media
See similar books…
9,389 followers
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 ...more
“When the going gets weird, the weird turn professional.” 1043 likes
“With the truth so dull and depressing, the only working alternative is wild bursts of madness and filigree.” 296 likes
More quotes…