Few journalists reach celebrity status. But if anyone is a superstar in his profession, it's Hunter S. Thompson, who combined an adventuresome personal spirit with a hard-hitting, colorfully wrought style of writing, emerging from the '60s as America's legendary "gonzo" chronicler of politics and societal change. This somewhat scattershot memoir subtitled "Loathsome Secrets of a Star-Crossed Child in the Final Days of the American Century" features Thompson's ruminations on a wide variety of public and private events, capturing along the way his committedly independent persona.

Thompson first offers some recollections from his early life growing up in Louisville, where he cut his teeth as a newspaper reporter, then launches into various episodes that either critically shaped his career or epitomize his seemingly fearless ability to venture into subcultural milieus and emerge not only with a story but also with a firmer sense of self.

Thompson's experiences encompass work in the San Francisco sex industry, hanging with the Hell's Angels, covering the tempestuous 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago and consorting closely with politicians, movie stars, musicians and the Beat poets, among many others. Thompson loves football, guns (he was renowned for shooting up his typewriters), cars and motorcycles, pretty women, drugs and Colorado not necessarily in that order and he writes of his passions with the same intensity with which he infused his dozen previous books.

Now in his early 60s and still filing his characteristically opinionated stories with national and international publications, Thompson also includes some serious reflection on 9/11 and other current events, his constant references to our "Child President" making it pretty clear how little he regards the present chief executive. Still crazy after all these years, Thompson yet again manages to display his zeal for writing quirkily and well.

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