Peter RichardsonDec 15, 2023
Hunter S. Thompson and the Weird Road to Gonzo
University of California Press 2022
Hunter S. Thompson was never a hippie, but his writing nonetheless helped define the counterculture and the San Francisco scene of the 1960s and early 1970s. In Savage Journey: Hunter S. Thompson and the Weird Road to Gonzo (U California Press, 2022), literary scholar and California historian Peter Richardson examines Thompson less as a cultural figure than as a member of a literary movement. Richardson explores the roots of Thompson's "gonzo journalism" writing style and explains his influences and his influence as a figure in American letters. In doing so, he reveals a portrait of Thompson that extends beyond his Depp-and-Doonesbury shaded cartoonish caricature and shows the writer to be a savvy media critic and adept social commentator. Thompson's literature cuts through the decades of mythology and reveals the id of the west coast counterculture, warts and all, all while being pretty entertaining and, at times, prescient of our own political and cultural moment.
Dr. Stephen R. Hausmann is an assistant professor of history at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota and is the Assistant Director of the American Society for Environmental History.