One of the most popular authors in recent memory is Hunter S. Thompson, the self-proclaimed father of gonzo journalism. According to Thompson, gonzo journalism requires the writer to immerse himself into the story as a participant, writing from inside the “eye of the eye of the hurricane.” Polished writing is secondary to recording the story as it is happening without the customary editing.
Thompson began his writing career in the US Air Force, writing a sports column for the base newspaper. After his discharge, he roamed throughout South America as a foreign correspondent for several different publications.
Thompson’s first published book was Hell’s Angels, written after spending nearly a year living and partying with the outlaw motorcycle club. He was beaten nearly to death after refusing to share his royalties from the surprisingly successful book, and wisely moved on to other writing projects.
Rolling Stone magazine gave Thompson a national forum through a series of zany articles that showcased his offbeat, sometimes vulgar yet brutally honest style of writing. His use and abuse of the fax machine or “mojo wire” as he called it made him a legend to the staff at Rolling Stone. His editors were often forced to stay up for days on end as Thompson fed the mojo his disjointed, adrenaline-crazed observations on an explosive story that somehow always managed to make brutal sense and good reading in spite of everything.
Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail 1972 is widely acknowledged as one of the best reads about the American political system, and helped cement his reputation as one of the most popular authors in contemporary literature.