Austin's Reviews > Gonzo: The Life of Hunter S. Thompson

Gonzo by Jann S. Wenner
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's review
Dec 17, 2008

liked it

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 person.

"Gonzo" is an oral biography, the life of Thompson taking shape through the memories of others, including Jann Wenner (owner and publisher of Rolling Stone), as well as fellow writers like Thom Wolfe, and actors such as Johnny Depp, Anjelica Huston, and Jack Nicholson. Most of the tale is formed through those who were closest to Thompson, such as his various wives, assistants, and friends.

There is an element of sadness behind the tales of joy and madness in here, as Thompson was constantly battling his own demons, and was never willing to attempt leaving them behind completely. The end of his life was a sudden thing to me when I read of it originally, but moving through these tales it is somewhat easier to see (although hindsight makes it easier to predict).

"Gonzo" gives a glimpse into the days of a great writer.

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