Hunter Thompson Hunter Stockton Thompson) Biography
(1939–2005), Hunter Stockton Thompson), The Reporter, The National Observer, The Nation
American journalist, writer, and novelist, exponent of the New Journalism, born in Louisville, Kentucky. Thompson began as a sportswriter and freelance reporter with The Reporter and The National Observer. He made his mark in the mid-1960s with an assignment for The Nation, covering a Hell's Angel motorcycle group, later published as Hell's Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga (1967), in which he developed what he called ‘gonzo journalism’. Thompson's journalistic works are closely linked to the post-modern experiments in fiction of such writers as Kurt Vonnegut, Thomas Pynchon, Robert Coover, and Donald Barthelme. In Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream (1971), Thompson creates disorientating effects when fact becomes indistinguishable from fantasy. The persona Raoul Duke relates his failure to cover two events in Las Vegas, the Fourth Annual ‘Mint 400’ motorcycle desert race and the National Conference of District Attorneys Seminar on Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. The novel is a narrative of his hallucinations and fantastic adventures, and the exploration of his chaotic mind becomes a metaphor for the state of the American nation. Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72 (1973) appeared while he was working for the magazine Rolling Stone; it is a loosely episodic account of the presidential campaign and the attempt to remove Nixon from the White House in 1972. Other works are the retrospective collection of articles The Great Shark Hunt: Strange Tales from a Strange Time (1979); The Curse of Lono (1983), which recounts his antics during a visit to Hawaii with his longtime illustrator Ralph Steadman; Generation of Swine: Tales of Shame and Degradation in the Eighties, Gonzo Papers Vol. II (1988); Songs of the Doomed: More Notes on the Death of the American Dream, Gonzo Papers, Vol. III (1990); and Better Than Sex: Confessions of a Political Junkie (1994). Hunter's self-parody has itself been famously parodied by Garry Trudeau as the figure of ‘Uncle Duke’ in the ‘Doonesbury’ cartoon.