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Essential Hunter S. Thompson Reads


On July 18, 1937, Hunter S. Thompson shot out into the world. Were he alive today, no doubt he'd celebrate with roguish delinquency somewhere between fun and terrifying. We'll indulge in the closest revelry possible. In honor of the Gonzo journalist dressed in sleeves full of tricks and outlandishly trumpeting prose, we're looking back at some of Thompson's finest nonfiction.

Motorcycle rider. Image ID: 5147207

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"The Motorcycle Gang" by Hunter S. Thompson
The Nation May 17, 1965
Before Sons of Anarchy, there was Hunter S. Thompson's take on The Hell's Angels. Far better crafted and less lurid than SOA, Thompson's article is perhaps more interested in the Attorney General's hit job on the motorcycle club than the MC's alleged crimes. 

"He was a Crook" by Hunter S. Thompson
Rolling Stone June 16, 1994 (via EBSCOhost)
You know that aphorism, "Don't pour salt on a wound"? Well you could say, "He was a Crook" is pouring salt on a dead man, one Richard Nixon. "Nixon's spirit will be with us for the rest of our lives—whether you're me or Bill Clinton or you or Kurt Cobain or Bishop Tutu or Keith Richards or Amy Fisher or Boris Yeltsin's daughter or your fiancee's 16-year-old beer-drunk brother with his braided goatee and his whole life like a thundercloud out in front of him," Thompson writes. "This is not a generational thing. You don't even have to know who Richard Nixon was to be a victim of his ugly, Nazi spirit." 

"Fear and Loathing in Hollywood" by Hunter S. Thompson
Time November 10, 1997 (via EBSCOhost)
Before Hunter S. Thompson was a writer, he was a copyboy. And then one day, he was a writer who published in that very magazine. Take heed, aspiring young (and un-young except at heart) writers! But that is digression. The point: in '97 Thompson wrote about taking Johnny Depp's car for a spin. "You bet, bubba, I was taking care of business," he writes. "It  was  like  the  Too  Much  Fun  Club."

"The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved" by Hunter S. Thompson
Scanlan's Monthly 1970
Some call "The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved" the seminal work of Gonzo journalism. When Thompson goes to the Derby, he spends a good deal of time lying through his teeth, drinking, and getting into trouble. In other words, this is classic Thompson. 

"Hey Rube! I love you." by Hunter S. Thompson
Rolling Stone May 13, 1999 (via EBSCOhost)
It's Sunday night, and Hunter S. Thompson writes a love letter. Naturally, there are plenty of loops through gun-toting, arrests, and hallucination. With rascally turns throughout, Thompson approximates something like an impressionistic biography or self-made character sketch. 

Palm Tree -- Cienfuegos, Cuba. Image ID: 1657386


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