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Songs of the Doomed: More Notes on the Death of the American Dream

(The Gonzo Papers #3)

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  3,456 ratings  ·  98 reviews
The prince of Gonzo journalism, the bestselling author of Generation of Swine, The Great Shark Hunt, and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and one of the most astute political and social commentators of our time, Hunter S. Thompson has done it again with his third volume of Gonzo Papers. He recalls the significant moments in his life and in the life of the country as he reli ...more
Hardcover, 315 pages
Published November 1st 1990 by Summit Books (first published 1990)
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3.85  · 
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 ·  3,456 ratings  ·  98 reviews

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Mar 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not a good introduction to HST if you don't already know something about his personal history and his writing. But if you're already acquainted with the good doctor, this collection is fun because it includes a little bit of everything.
Glenn Van
Oct 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A high speed read, no soft twists and turns -- all wheel ripping maneuvers at a furious speed. Essays, letters and notes by the late GREAT Hunter S. Thompson !
Jul 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essays, literature
In one sense, Hunter S. Thompson was a poseur. In another, he was a canny participant over a period of a half century that saw Viet Nam, the Kennedy Assassination, Rock and Roll, Nixon and Reagan, the Hell's Angels, Ed Muskie, the Mariel Boat Lift, and a failed attempt to convict him on trumped-up charges.

It's rather odd to be at the same time a participant in all this madness, and also a critical intelligence seeing all the craziness for what it was. There is a certain exhilaration to reading
Apr 25, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gonzo
I L.O.V.E Hunter and I will basically read anything written by him, but this is never going to be something I'd recommend to a friend wanting to try out Dr. Thompson. This is the third instalment in the Gonzo papers, a collection of letters, articles, and excerpts from his other books. Some you can't read elsewhere (e.g. Prince Jellyfish which to my knowledge was never published), others you can - it seems weird to publish a few chapters from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and The Rum Diary when ...more
Jan 11, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Thompson writes in a letter to Ralph Steadman,"I was not eager to publish a lightweight collection of half-connected vignettes that would have left me wide open for a savage beating from the critics." Cut to a decade later, and the man couldn't have seemed eager enough. This was my first - and will be my last - foray into Thompson.

Songs of the Doomed was shrugged off by Thompson himself. He called it "left-handed," a slur he applied to bad writing throughout the forty years of ramblings collecte
If you are interested in American history and in political machinations then this book would be interesting. I read it only because I have been reading about the beat writers and poets and so many spoke of Hunter Thompson as being someone they admired and who influenced their writing. His writing style is definitely effective, very journalistic, and alive. I didn't finish it because I got bored. I don't often not finish books as I prefer wait to the end before I make a final decision about wheth ...more
Rich Meyer
Nov 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2013
An enjoyable romp into the world of Gonzo Journalism. Once again, I am saddened by realizing that America's last great political writer is no longer with us. At least his work remains; this volume features articles from throughout his career, but concentrates on the Bush presidency. The final section elaborates on a series of trumped up charges that had been brought against Dr. Thompson by an overzealous prosecutor; unlike Lenny Bruce, he came out of it with himself still intact.

As much of a mus
Curt Rude
Feb 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Man can I relate with Dr. Thompson. He's hammered by the Criminal Justice System, as in nine felonies and three misdemeanor charges. Really, the System, the game is played against him in all its sanctimonious style. All the holier than thou types bantering in public about Thompson facing 16 years! The media has a field day selling stories. Then he stood up up and prevailed. I would argue his actions benefited us all. The brilliant and outrageous writing style doesn't hurt either. I was so excite ...more
basically a collection of odds and ends, abandoning the chronological approach to the other two gonzo papers volumes and giving a broader view with various recollections of the time period written by Thompson in the early 1990s. while the great shark hunt and generation swine was almost exclusively journalism, this book includes excerpts from thompson's fiction, including his abandoned first novel Prince Jellyfish, and the to-be-published much later The Rum Diary. At his best, Thompson could be ...more
Michael Friedman
Apr 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hey, it's Doctor Thompson. It starts unevenly with some fairly incomprehensible meandering thoughts from his unpublished Jellyfish and Rum Diaries. But when he gets to politics and news, he's just about the best. His thoughts as a reporter in Saigon at the end of the war, his musings with a parolee in a library at night, his coverage of Rozanne Pulitzer divorce trial and observations of the wealthy of Palm Beach, Florida and his musings on the 1972 presidential race are brilliant and show Thomps ...more
Ryan Huff
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book offered a far deeper look into the mind and soul of HST beyond his Fear and Loathing inspired reputation. This selection of gonzo works includes bites from Curse of Lono and The Rum Diary which I ended up seeking out. I thought they were wonderful so I could say this book kept giving even beyond reading it.
Roxy Reno
Sep 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Funny as shit, brilliant, and of course, barely controlled madness. I forgot how fun it was spending time with the good doctor.
Clint Banjo
Mar 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Maybe this only deserves a four...some filler material in my opinion...however there’s nothing like Gonzo...!
Oct 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Wild, Weird and Wonderful Wordsmith strikes again!
Gimme more!!
Rod Rhimes
Sep 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A nice cross section of Hunter's articles, short stories, excerpts, and rants arranged in chronological order by decade. Some of the excerpts are recognized as being from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Rum Diaries, and Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail.

Thompson has a uniquely clean writing style, even though some of the subject matter might as first glace seem maniacal. Most remarkable given his reputation as a heavy drinker and his healthy interest in hallucinogens, is how insightfu
Mark Wilkerson
Having never read Hunter S. Thompson before, I was told that this book, a collection of previous works (some published and, seemingly, some not) would be a good start. In many ways, it was. In reading this, I was introduced to the background and backdrop to many of his many popular novels, like "The Rum Diary," "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," and "Hell's Angels."

Even more important than reading about the background to these popular novels, I enjoyed getting to experience the evolution of his q
Michael Smith
May 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
“Songs of the Doomed: The Gonzo Papers Volume III” is another off the chain collection of musings and rants and deep undercover investigative journalism from Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, one of the most entertaining writers of our lifetime. Speaking of lifetimes, I’m still pissed that he decided one day to shoot himself in the head. It’s my own greed. I wanted him to write more, so that I don’t have to keep re-reading every screed he ever typed. But who knows why he made that decision? Maybe the ghos ...more
Nov 20, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The subtitle is More Notes on the Death of the American Dream. Maybe if it’s dead he can stop loading up on dangerous drugs and going out looking for it, settle down and raise a nice family in Woody Creek? Fat chance, though he certainly has tamed since his Fear and Loathing days. He even ends up explaining himself in understandable terms:

I’d go mad if I had to live in all the weird shit I write about. A typical Washington dinner party, for instance, is just part of the daily routine for most po
Jul 29, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of several of these collections of short stories, magazine articles and what have you, this one put together in 1990 and spanning the course of Hunter S. Thompson's career up until that point, Songs of the Doomed is decidedly hit and miss -- and probably more miss than hit. Some of it's surprisingly bad, especially for being the work of such a legendary writer. In particular, the excerpts from a couple of novels he tried to write back in the 1950s are excruciating, and I wouldn't have bother ...more
Mark Johnson
In the form of an edited collection of letters, correspondences, notes, short stories, and articles, this work was probably not the best first look into the works of HST. I had the one advantage of having seen Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas so that I knew a little bit about the man, but most of his work was done before I was born and while definitely still relevant was not so prevalent a topic of discussion.

I liked it, though I found it hard to push through in a healthy pace. The short sections
Steve Guttman
I'm a huge Hunter Thompson fan. From Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas, to his coverage of the 1972(?) presidential election, to his columns for the SF Examiner, he blended a mix of astute insight with a borderline psychopathic writing style. In other words--funny stuff that makes you think.

If you're looking for entertainment, this book is inconsistent. Some of it is gonzo, a lot of it is self indulgent and retrospective. It feels like a collection of miscellany that represents a largely disconne
Dec 04, 2012 rated it did not like it
Having read a few of Thompson's books I always find myself exhausted from the experience. He's more coherent than Joyce lets say but it still seems to ramble a lot. The one section of this book that I did enjoy was his personal experience in Vietnam during the process of the pullout. I was not aware of just how left he could be and it made me wonder how that didn't do in his tough guy crazy man image.There were other bits to that grabbed me and had there been more of this he would stand a lot ta ...more
Feb 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good collection of fiction and non-fiction spanning Thompson's career. I most enjoyed the 60's and 70's era writings - especially the excerpts from The Rum Diary and some of his pre-Bush political writings (like the hilarious ibogaine story). It started to lose steam in the 80's, and frankly the 90's stuff about his trial should have been left out entirely. It's a shame the book had to end with some of the weakest stuff. Overall, I would highly recommend reading at least the first 75% of this ...more
Dax Dan
Aug 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Strange days in the mind of a great writer. Partially a reflection on previous adventures and at times a documentation of current mishaps, Hunter. S. Thompson retreats into flights of fantasy more freely than before, making it impossible to tell wether or not what he's writing is true, or just one of the beginnings to his countless list of unfinished projects. An exhilarating read for anyone interested in journalism, friendly physical abuse, politics, wild pig hunting, and the lifestyle of the l ...more
Jeremy Hunter
The third collection of the Gonzo Papers are a collection of essays and stories dating from the 50s through the 80s. Overall, this collection feels uneven. Some of the essays are great, while others lack focus. My favorite sections of the book are Hunter S. Thompson recollections of the 60s and 70s. I feel that Thompson ' s stronger works are the ones with a linear narrative ( Hell's Angels, Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas, and Fear And Loathing On The Campaign Trail.) Songs Of The Doomed is a co ...more
Don Inman
Jun 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quintessential Gonzo. If your a fan of Fox News you will hate this book. It is Dr. Thompson poking holes in everything. He was always out on the fringe making outrageous claims always pushing the envelope for free speech. You will read some of the essays and decide he is full of shit and others you will think he's point on. But that's Gonzo Journalism. Like he says, "When the going gets weird the weird turn pro."
This was solid if uneven. It was nearly an exercise in time-travel, as the narrator is sometimes speaking from the time of the book being printed, sometimes from "way back when", sometimes from other printed work published since/before this collection was printed, and sometimes a new voice emerges due to the author being dead. What I mean by that is that writers are recontextualized due to existence in the total library.

The colletion as a whole is solid.
Mar 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Gonzo Papers have lose themes by definition, but I've always been the most fond of Songs Of The Doomed. We get Thompson's usual brilliant essays and letters mixed in with fanastic short stories like Let The Trials Begin and excerpts from novels such as Prince Jellyfish, an almost Salinger-esque tale of lost youth and social anxiety. It's consistent, and as disgustingly beautiful as the rest of Thompson's work.
Sep 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Hunter S. Thompson is one of my favorite authors and this is one of my favorite collections of his, the tale from the beginning with him in the library with the degenerate still stays with me, specifically the imagery of him walking alone on the streets while the rain padded softly down, the only sounds were his white converse smacking against the wet pavement. This never boring author is at the top of his game in these essays. Perfection.
Sep 24, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Buy the ticket, take the ride" Every HST book has numerous laugh out loud moments, and Volume 3 of the Gonzo Papers certainly delivers. From the hilarious adventure of Welburn Kemp in "Prince Jellyfish" to his somber contemplation of of the attack on the U.S. Marine barracks in Lebanon; HST keeps the reader entralled with his razor sharp wit and his astute grasp and analysis of American politics.
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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

Other books in the series

The Gonzo Papers (4 books)
  • The Great Shark Hunt: Strange Tales from a Strange Time (The Gonzo Papers, #1)
  • Generation of Swine: Tales of Shame and Degradation in the '80's
  • Better Than Sex: Confessions of a Political Junkie
“These are bad times for people who like to sit outside the library at dawn on a rainy morning and get ripped to the tits on crank and powerful music.” 7 likes
“I remember being stunned at the New York skyline as I drove over this big freeway, coming across the flats in Seacaucus. All of a sudden it was looming up in front of me and I almost lost control of the car. I thought it was a vision.” 4 likes
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