Hunter Thompson’s focus on detail brings 1972 right back into the crosshairs. George McGovern & George Wallace lined up facing Dick Nixon & Ed Muskie on a line of scrimmage defined by discontent and lack of trust in politicians. The fun, gonzo style is there too, but it is not the main event. Hunter’s insights into national politics are as valuable today as they were in 1972.
Wolfe’s first masterpiece is a trip through trippy times on Ken Kesey’s bus. Essays from Acid Test ground zero, featuring real life characters straight out of Kerouac. Hunter Thompson gives us details in his books and Wolfe gives us the scene, the zeitgeist. Interestingly, Thompson shared his notes with Wolfe at times, particularly for details on a party at Kesey’s house.
Most critics of Hunter Thompson’s books like to throw around the words “Gonzo” and “crazed” and “counterculture.” All of that sort of labeling is true but none of it is meaningful. Thompson presents the clearest vision of a time dominated by uninhibited rebellion. A garish Ektachrome view through an LSD-tinted kaleidoscope, with no detail left unexamined. This book professes to be about bikers, drugs, and sex, but it is much more. Thompson captures the American id on parade.