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 Post subject: The Life of Hunter S. Thompson; An Oral Biography
PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 8:35 am 

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A review in the Washington Post...October 26, 2007

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/25/AR2007102502659.html


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 10:31 am 
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I checked out this book at Barnes & Noble last week when it first arrived. It contains lots of lovely bits from Johnny, including the introduction, and interesting insights about HST from others who shared his life through the years. Most of them (about 20 contributors in all) are on the bandwagon of praise and admiration for the author, but there are also a few entries from people who keep things in perspective ~ like Don Johnson, who tactfully admitted he was very glad he wasn't a full-time resident of Aspen and thus didn't have to live next-door to Hunter year 'round. :lol:
I think Carolyn See's review brings up some good points, mainly about the voices that were left out of Wenner's book. Anita Thompson's absence is glaring, IMO. Apparently she did not agree to contribute. But Johnny's touching and humorous and generous offerings almost make up for her silence.
For HST fans, I think this book is a must. It's also interesting from an oral history perspective. Even if it's somewhat skewed in favor of the Good Doctor, it definitely paints a unique picture of him from those who knew him personally.



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 12:47 pm 
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Interesting review, and probably even more of an interesting book. :eyebrow: I need to get this one. Thanks for posting the review, Charlene.



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 10:10 pm 
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That is an amazing review........lots of stuff to ponder.

I do think Hunter was extremely articulate and borderline brilliant. There is much about his life that confuses me at best and disgusts me at worst. This review seems to strike some balance about the man ........ I think.

I have always been disturbed by his choice to do the final deed in the house with his grandchild on site........ desperate times call for desperate measures? :-?


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 10:30 pm 
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Next to the book review in the Washington Post is a review of Dan in Real Life, the new movie which stars Juliette Binoche and is directed by Peter Hedges, author of WEGG. (Life just revolves around Johnny, right?)


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2007 1:41 pm 
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Anita Thompson has posted a blog on the book. It's pretty scathing although she pointedly doesn't include Johnny in her diatribe. You can find it here:

http://www.owlfarmblog.com/



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2007 2:29 pm 
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I read the excerpts from this book in Rolling Stone and found the "story" very engrossing. There’s an expression: “Don’t drink your own Kool Aid.” It refers to Jim Jones’ Peoples Temple cult and the mass suicides that resulted at their Guyana compound. If you only surround yourself with people who think like you, you will never have a balanced view of yourself or the world. We have largely “heard” Hunter’s story told by people who were inspired by him and forgave his transgressions. This book expands Hunter’s circle to people who knew him well at different points in his life but didn’t always fall under his spell, or had a different perspective once they were no longer under it.

I greatly admire HST. He was fearless. The world needs subversive voices to evolve culture and politics, and he managed to do both in his lifetime. However, this larger than life man seemed to have larger then life flaws, and biographies that avoid this truth make the story less rich in the telling.

This is one book I am looking forward to reading



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2007 8:57 pm 
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I agree. I have read a biography of Hunter by somebody who pulled no punches about his violent nature towards woman. The man was not a saint. A realistic view of him and his life while painful to those who worshipped him, is useful in understanding his writings.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2007 10:52 pm 
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Thanks Charlene for the review and FAN for posting the link to Anita's Blog.

I read the review some days ago, and my thinking at the time was that the reviewer obviously had no prior knowledge of HST, beyond his press and maybe some of his writings of which she obviously disapproved. For instance the cheap shot of including the incidence of suicide in her own family, wasn't needed and I feel used to further malign HST for the reader. It's all to clear that HST had his demons (who doesn't) and they were monster, but how he died and where is for no one outside his family to past judgement on, and since they haven't done it publicly, why should anyone else?...It serves no purpose, imo, beyond salacity. I didn't know HST, but I am of the opinion that awful people don't garner as many lifetime friends great and small as he had without good reason. As Anita said in her blog, some of the people Hunter knew weren't real friends, sadly that comes with becoming famous. And even among real friends there are times you just don't agree, and that's okay (e.g. surely Johnny and the good Doctor, had those moments according to some of the letters they wrote to each other), but if the friendship has meaning you carry on as friends. I haven't read Wenner's book, but if he used duplicity to get people who loved Hunter to talk to him, then that's plain wrong. I will take Anita's word, Hunter was her husband and she knew him better than most, the fact that she's sitting on financially shaky ground and still isn't willing to sell him out makes me believe her all the more. But more importantly, I feel that if Wenner wanted to write a book that to some degree or completely bashes HST, if it is truth why wait until the man is dead? Why not write it when he was alive and could answer to it? For me, and this is MHO alone, what Wenner has done feels wrong, petty and dare I say unmanly. Okay, off the :soapbox:

In closing I just want to say that I am expressing my opinion only, not passing judgment on anyone who wants to read the book, hell until this all came out I was going to buy it. Now I'm just grateful to Charlene and FAN, for saving me a few bucks.


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Boo



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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 5:26 pm 
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Boo, I do not know where the truth lies, but Anita certainly feels the book unfairly represents the final few years of HST’s life.

The excerpts that were published in Rolling Stone were about Hunter’s beginnings and did nothing to diminish his brilliance as a writer, nor his fearlessness to expose corruption and hypocrisy. Many of the reminiscences talk about Hunter as a Pied Piper that brought discovery and growth for those close to him. These accounts also portrayed a man that started binge drinking as a teenager and struggled with physically violent outbursts.

Johnny undoubtedly knew his tribute in this book was an eleventh-hour replacement for Anita’s planned introduction, and presumably he had the opportunity to review the book’s content before giving permission to publish his words. Jann Wenner has said he didn't publish anything shaming about Hunter that HST hadn't already written about himself.

Here’s the review that Anita blasted on her blog:
http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/la-et-book2nov02,1,1103876.story
Here’s Jann Wenner’s response:
http://www.nydailynews.com/gossip/r_m/2007/11/01/2007-11-01_widows_fear__loathing_over_hunter_s_thom.html



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"You can't broom out your head. You certainly can't broom out your heart. And there's a hot wire between them, and everything shows in the eyes."
—Johnny Depp
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 7:05 pm 

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I have this book on order and can't wait to read it. I know Anita is not happy with Wenner but then Anita is also not happy with Juan Thompson either.
I do still read Anita's blogs but my interest in them are becoming less and less.



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Who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed - Hunter S Thompson
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 7:15 pm 
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I am beginning to wonder about her motives in regard to Hunter. There have been numerous reports by those who knew Hunter about his depression over his physical ailments that had him in a wheelchair and in constant pain in the last couple of years of his life. So this is not something new or invented to sensationalize the book. :bawl: I read a report about how he was at a party where the food and most of the people were up some stairs and he couldn't walk up the stairs and was in tears over it.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 7:47 pm 
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I’m sorry that there has to be such controversy surrounding Hunter and his death. Thanks for the opinions, everyone, and the various links. I think the only way to really form a true opinion is to read the two different books and form your own opinion.



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You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.
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