Hunter S Thompson's Biography
As a young man Hunter S Thompson got into trouble for drinking and vandalism. In 1956 he enlisted in the US Air Force and whilst on the waiting list to be a pilot he became a sports journalist on Elgin Air Force Base's The Command Courier.
In the Foreword of The Great Shark Hunt, there is a report on Hunter S Thompson from Colonel W.S. Evans:
"A/2C Hunter S. Thompson AF 15546879 has done some outstanding sports writing, but ... this Airman, although talented, will not be guided by policy .... He has little consideration for military bearing or dress and seems to dislike the service and want out as soon as possible ..."
After only a year Thompson left the airforce with an honourable discharge and Hunter S. Thompson continued writing sports pieces for newspapers in Puerto Rico and South America.
A proponent of 'new journalism' Hunter S. Thompson cast aside objectivity and wrote from his intensely personal perspective. He spent a year with the Hells Angels before writing his first book, 'Hell's Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gang', which was published in 1966.
The epitome of Hunter S. Thompson's gonzo journalism, where the writer is an essential part of the story, was his 1971 account of a drug-addled Nevada trip, 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream'. The core of the book was originally published in articles in The Rolling Stone under the pseudonym Raoul Duke.
Hunter S. Thompson described gonzo journalism as "a style of 'reporting' based on William Faulkner's idea that the best fiction is far more true than any kind of journalism ..."
In his review of The Joke's Over by Ralph Steadman in which he recounts his collaboration with Hunter S Thompson, Christopher Hitchens wrote:
"Steadman catches Thompson's motive accurately, by describing it as 'a last-ditch attempt to live up to the wild freedom of the 1960s before convention and 'common sense' closed it down for ever'."
Thompson followed up with 'Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72', which was published in 1973.
Hunter S Thompson's first ever novel, 'The Rum Diary', though published in 1988, was actually written in 1959.
Thompson was married to his first wife, Sandy Conklin, for 18 years. They had one son, Juan.
He married his second wife Anita Beymunk, a couple of years before he committed suicide on 20 February 2005.
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