From Outlaw Journalist:
The Life and Times of Hunter S. Thompson (W.W. Norton, 2008)
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is perfect in the same way that The Great Gatsby is perfect. Take a pencil and read these books, looking for something that doesn’t sound right, something you’d want to change. You’ll leave the page untouched.
Preface, “The End,” p. xiv
He taught himself to write, retyping books by writers he admired: Steinbeck, Hemingway, Faulkner … the usual heavyweights. He said he wanted to get inside the rhythm of their language and find his own style.
Preface, “The End,” p. xv
His journalism was usually about journalism: no matter what he started out writing about, he ended up writing about Hunter Thompson trying to cover a story.
Preface, “The End,” p. xv
Life as Hunter Thompson’s mother was no weenie roast.
Chapter 1, “Getting Away With It,” p. 1
Hunter was picked as a promising electronics technician because he aced the Air Force radio-tech exam. Hunter shrugged off the the triumph. Tests were easy. You didn’t have to know about radio and electronics; you just needed to be savvy in answering multiple-choice questions. He scored so high, the military thought he was the second coming of Marconi.
Chapter 2, “Square Peg, Round Hole,” p. 23
The latest firing had put him at a crossroads: he could continue with the fantasy of being a writer, or he could actually make the commitment.
Chapter 3, “The Dark Thumb Of Fate,” p. 47
In these letters to Ridley, Hunter’s Gonzo style began to rear its head. One of the characteristics of the style Hunter developed was his preoccupation of getting the story. In fact, getting the story became the story. His writing could be classified as metajournalism, journalism about the process of journalism.
Chapter 5, “Observer,” p. 73
But he discovered his success later, when he began to write just like he talked.
Chapter 5, “Observer,” p. 74
To create a balance of power and pedigree in the house, Hunter sent five bucks off to an ad he’d seen in the back pages of a magazine and received his mail-order doctor-of-divinity degree. He began referring to himself as Dr. Thompson and punctuated remarks with his afterword: “I am, after all, a doctor.” Friends picked up on the joke, and he was “the Good Doctor” for the rest of his life.
Chapter 6, “Stranger In A Strange Land,” p. 89
Hunter Thompson wrote suicide notes all his life.
Chapter 7, “Among The Angels,” p. 97
[Hell’s Angels chieftain Sonny] Barger thought Hunter provoked Junkie George so that the beating could be used as a gimmick to promote the book.
Chapter 7, “Among The Angels,” p. 111
One of Hunter’s first acts upon moving to Colorado was serving as best man at Billy [Noonan]’s wedding to Anne Willis. Aside from Hunter’s putting out his cigarette in the holy water, the wedding transpired without major incident.
Chapter 8, “American Dream,” p. 115
The Dream obsessed him … but what was it? Was it Horatio Alger, rags to riches, the idea that you could start with nothing and end up rolling naked in stacks of hundreds? Or was it a dream of freedom? Personal freedom…or the concept of freedom that the founders brought into the whole world?
Chapter 8, “American Dream,” p. 118
He wrote his mother that he had begun to hate the sight of his typewriter.
Chapter 9, “Epiphany,” p. 131
This writing wasn’t painful. It was like being high.
Chapter 11, “Making A Beast Of Himself,” p. 166
Perhaps the heart of the American Dream was found in the search.
Chapter 11, “Making A Beast Of Himself,” p. 175
And whether he wanted to be or not, he was famous.
Chapter 12, “Truth Is Never Told In Daylight,” p. 201
For a man complaining about the agony of celebrity, he wasn’t doing anything to stop perpetuating his image as America’s premier outlaw journalist.
Chapter 13, “Celebrity,” p. 224
The lifestyle of the character he had created had consumed him.
Chapter 14, “Casualties Of War,” p. 245
Some of the locals began to think that maybe Hunter was getting out of control.
Chapter 16, “The Genetic Miracle,” p. 299
Hunter couldn’t stop working. McCumber remembered Hunter working nine days without sleep.
Chapter 16, “The Genetic Miracle,” p. 302
His legions of stoned admirers probably really thought he took a hundred hits of acid before sitting down to write. But the craftsmanship those close to him saw as he agonized over his words spoke to how much went into making it look like a breeze.
Chapter 17, “Homecoming,” p. 324
Nothing infuriates an academic more than a talented and successful colleague.
Chapter 17, “Homecoming,” p. 329
He kept growing. He thought it was very important to keep growing all your life.
Chapter 18, “Man of Letters,” p. 346
Now the ashes drifted, as Hunter must have known they would, back toward the guests standing in front of the viewing pavilion. As the guests stood holding their glasses, the ash floated and settled into their drinks.
Epilogue, p. 365