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Editor’s Note

“Surrealistic & searing…”

This account of the 1972 presidential election is classic Hunter: surrealistic & searing, littered with tangents & rumors. But the book is a brilliant commentary on the process to become president that still rings true today.
Scribd Editor
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 S. Thompson’s searing account of the battle for the 1972 presidency—from the Democratic primaries to the eventual showdown between George McGovern and Richard Nixon—is infused with the characteristic wit, intensity, and emotional engagement that made Thompson “the flamboyant apostle and avatar of gonzo journalism” (The New York Times). Hilarious, terrifying, insightful, and compulsively readable, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72 is an epic political adventure that captures the feel of the American democratic process better than any other book ever written.

Topics: Presidents

Published: Simon & Schuster on
ISBN: 9781451691580
List price: $14.99
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Having not read Thompson previously, I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but this was an incredible read. Being just old enough to barely remember all of these events, it was a bit of a refresher, but nothing like this ever made the evening news. There are, to me, striking similarities to the 2008 election. I just hope that there is not the backlash in 2012 that we saw in 1980...if so, the Mayans might have been right.more
HST is a hell of a writer, not just for his drugs. Few others make journalism so venomous, and political squabbles so interesting.

It's rather fitting that this is the 40th anniversary edition, re-released in one of the most spectacular train wrecks in years. One wonders, if HST lived, what he would have had to say about this pack of loonies.

HST, as cynical as he wants to be, still has a bit of idealism buried in him somewhere, that a Democrat lesser evil will prevail over the tyranny of Nixon. But his coverage of the convention and the November trouncing is an exercise in despair.

Not dated at all, except for a fee slurs. His style is his own. Makes you feel rage instead of cynicism.more
This is an excellent book, right in there with the best of Hunter S. Thompson’s work. However, strictly because of timing, I found it incredibly depressing. Do yourself a favor; do not read this book during an active presidential campaign. What goes around…the more things change…those who do not learn from history…etc. Ah well, let me pick myself up from my depression and go on to review the book.This is the story of the 1972 presidential election directly from the front lines of the campaign trail – primarily from a front seat of the disaster that was the McGovern campaign. It provides excellent detail on how things came together, how they fell apart, and how the entire year was a sideshow of inexplicable events. It tells the story of how we pick our presidents, and how others pick them for us. (There I go down that spiral again – come on, pick yourself up.) And, of course, it has the twisted take on reality that is the hallmark of gonzo journalism. Of course, to call it reality may be giving Thompson more credit for grasping reality than may be deserved. Okay, let’s lay it out there- Thompson is an unreliable narrator. Meaning, healthy grains of salt must be taken. Yet, in spite of this, it is also obvious there is more truth here than we wish to know.Shy of the last two sections which are primarily Thompson’s meandering thoughts on what went right and wrong (the real low part of the book), this is a fascinating telling of the tale. If you don’t know that much about the 1972 campaign you probably want to start somewhere else. But come back to this one once you have the historical perspective.more
A decent bit of political reportage on the US Presidential election of 1972. There are times when the book is too narrative heavy and you wish there was more analysis but overall the ratio isn't too bad. I'm not sure HST brings something different to political coverage in the way that David Foster Wallace did to his piece "Up Simba / McCain's Promise" on McCain's bid in 2000 for the Republican party nomination. But there are still plenty of good insights in this book, some accurate, some not so accurate predictions for the future, and plenty of crazy stories too.more
Read all 17 reviews

Reviews

Having not read Thompson previously, I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but this was an incredible read. Being just old enough to barely remember all of these events, it was a bit of a refresher, but nothing like this ever made the evening news. There are, to me, striking similarities to the 2008 election. I just hope that there is not the backlash in 2012 that we saw in 1980...if so, the Mayans might have been right.more
HST is a hell of a writer, not just for his drugs. Few others make journalism so venomous, and political squabbles so interesting.

It's rather fitting that this is the 40th anniversary edition, re-released in one of the most spectacular train wrecks in years. One wonders, if HST lived, what he would have had to say about this pack of loonies.

HST, as cynical as he wants to be, still has a bit of idealism buried in him somewhere, that a Democrat lesser evil will prevail over the tyranny of Nixon. But his coverage of the convention and the November trouncing is an exercise in despair.

Not dated at all, except for a fee slurs. His style is his own. Makes you feel rage instead of cynicism.more
This is an excellent book, right in there with the best of Hunter S. Thompson’s work. However, strictly because of timing, I found it incredibly depressing. Do yourself a favor; do not read this book during an active presidential campaign. What goes around…the more things change…those who do not learn from history…etc. Ah well, let me pick myself up from my depression and go on to review the book.This is the story of the 1972 presidential election directly from the front lines of the campaign trail – primarily from a front seat of the disaster that was the McGovern campaign. It provides excellent detail on how things came together, how they fell apart, and how the entire year was a sideshow of inexplicable events. It tells the story of how we pick our presidents, and how others pick them for us. (There I go down that spiral again – come on, pick yourself up.) And, of course, it has the twisted take on reality that is the hallmark of gonzo journalism. Of course, to call it reality may be giving Thompson more credit for grasping reality than may be deserved. Okay, let’s lay it out there- Thompson is an unreliable narrator. Meaning, healthy grains of salt must be taken. Yet, in spite of this, it is also obvious there is more truth here than we wish to know.Shy of the last two sections which are primarily Thompson’s meandering thoughts on what went right and wrong (the real low part of the book), this is a fascinating telling of the tale. If you don’t know that much about the 1972 campaign you probably want to start somewhere else. But come back to this one once you have the historical perspective.more
A decent bit of political reportage on the US Presidential election of 1972. There are times when the book is too narrative heavy and you wish there was more analysis but overall the ratio isn't too bad. I'm not sure HST brings something different to political coverage in the way that David Foster Wallace did to his piece "Up Simba / McCain's Promise" on McCain's bid in 2000 for the Republican party nomination. But there are still plenty of good insights in this book, some accurate, some not so accurate predictions for the future, and plenty of crazy stories too.more
So much of HST's comments on politics in 1972 still hold good nearly 40 years later. Have things changed since then? Yes, of course they have. The Internet has enabled the spread of political memes much faster than was possible then. Public image is even more important now than then, with 24-hour TV, faster news cycles, and the like. But these are quantitative, not qualitative, changes. Basically, politics in the USA today seems to rest on the same foundations as when the good Doctor explored the belly of the best in 1972. I have found this to be one of the best books around to explain the American political psyche to a non-American.more
Personally I found it a waste of paper and ink. Though if you are a Thompson fan, it might float your boat.more
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