I am very very happy to introduce a friend of mine, Mathew Timms. It looks like he will be joining Baby Got Stacks Review team to provide reviews on something other than Romance and YA. I really appreciate his views and his variety. So please give a good look and a share or two for him and his review.
Author: Hunter S. Thompson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (November 6, 2003 edition)
Pages: 336 Pages
Genre: Non-Fiction/ Journalism
Source: Amazon, GoodReads
Rating: 3 Stars
From the bestselling author of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, the legendary Hunter S. Thompson’s second volume of the “Gonzo Papers” is back. Generation of Swine collects hundreds of columns from the infamous journalist’s 1980s tenure at the San Francisco Examiner.
Here, against a backdrop of late-night tattoo sessions and soldier-of-fortune trade shows, Dr. Thompson is at his apocalyptic best―covering emblematic events such as the 1987-88 presidential campaign, with Vice President George Bush, Sr., fighting for his life against Republican competitors like Alexander Haig, Pat Buchanan, and Pat Robertson; detailing the GOP’s obsession with drugs and drug abuse; while at the same time capturing momentous social phenomena as they occurred, like the rise of cable, satellite TV, and CNN―24 hours of mainline news. Showcasing his inimitable talent for social and political analysis, Generation of Swine is vintage Thompson―eerily prescient, incisive, and enduring.
In the 70s, Hunter S. Thompson was the lynchpin of the already dying counter-culture movement. The insanity and manic energy that fueled a generation to believe they could change the world was crashing and nobody gave voice to the fears, anger and frustration better than The Good Doctor Thompson. The hangover had begun and the prescription for what ailed us all was a harsh look at what America had become, and how far from the idealistic Dream we had strayed. His writing for Rolling Stone (then an important cultural powerhouse) was some of the sharpest and wittiest satire ever produced in any language.
Fittingly, his own career mirrored this same pattern. The light that shone so brightly a decade before had begun to dim by the mid-eighties, which is where our book opens. His instincts were still as sharp as razor but like all great rockstars (never mind that his instrument was the English language) his output slowed in his second decade of fame. The articles he wrote for the Examiner that make up this book contain the same caustic wit of his more famous work, but they lack a sense of purpose at times. At some turns we find a man less interested in making a statement as he is a deadline and the pieces are substantially shorter than most of the ones included in his 70s collection The Great Shark Hunt. Some show real promise, only to be terminated (so it feels to the reader) prematurely. One wonders how far down the rabbit hole he could have pursued some of these ideas given adequate space.
This is not to say that what we find in the book is without value. A letter to Ralph Steadman is full of wicked pleasures, as is his take on Televangelists. It’s not as densely detailed as his 72 campaign coverage nor is it a summation of an entire generation like Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Instead of a comprehensive portrait of the 1980s, we get bits and pieces. We are lucky to have a had his manic insight for as long as we did and his lesser work would still beat the best most of us have to offer. Much has been written over the years about his excessive drug use, so there is little need to repeat that here except perhaps to pause and marvel at the fact that out of the haze of booze, insanity and chemicals, he saw the world more clearly than most ever do. Anyone with an interest in (comparatively) recent American history would do well to read Thompson’s books, he put words together with devastating precision and offered a perspective and insight not seen anywhere else.