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Hunter Thompson (right) with Writers Institute videographer Hugo Perez (left)
Hunter S. Thompson
& Douglas Brinkley

Conversations on Politics and Literature

NYS Writers Institute, November 4, 1998
8:00 p.m. Reading | Main Theatre, Performing Arts Center, Uptown Campus
4:00 p.m. Seminar | Humanities 354, Uptown Campus (Brinkley only)

Hunter S. Thompson ranks among the first and foremost practitioners of the New Journalism style practiced by Tom Wolfe and Gay Talese, among others. He created explosive, first person, gonzo style of reporting that pushed the limits of American literary journalism into bold new directions. He is the author of such widely read books as Hell's Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gang (1967), Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream (1971), Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72 (1973), The Curse of Lono (1983), Songs of the Doomed (1990), Better Than Sex: Confessions of a Political Junkie (1994), and The Proud Highway (1997).

His new book The Rum Diary: The Long Lost Novel (Simon & Schuster) is an outrageous, irreverent, and autobiographical account of a journalist in the tropics. Started in 1959, this is a brilliant first work by a desperate, then-unknown 22 year old journalist, who would later father Gonzo journalism and author the venerated Fear and Loathing books to become one of the most celebrated literary figures of his time. It is Thompson's first work of fiction, a lyrical masterpiece of passion, craziness and raw ambition, that was set aside when the great wave of the 1960's rolled over American letters. Forty years later, but with the timeless quality of all great fiction, the novel has been resurrected.

Hunter S. Thompson is a regular contributor to many national and international publications. Thompson now lives in a fortified compound on an island near Puerto Rico.

thomsn11.gif 10.8 Kgonzo.gif 0.7 K "The tools Hunter S. Thompson would use in the years ahead--bizarre wit, mockery without end, redundant excess, supreme self-confidence, the narrative of the wounded meritorious ego, and the idiopathic anger of the righteous outlaw--were all there in his precocious imagination in San Juan. There, too, were the beginnings of his future as a masterful American prose stylist." - William Kennedy

"The Rum Diary shows a side of human nature that is ugly and wrong. But it is a world that Hunter Thompson knows in the nerves of his neck. This is a brilliant tribal study and a bone in the throat of all decent people." - Jimmy Buffett

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Readings for Hunter March 14, 2005, 4:30-6:00 p.m., HU 354

In addition to publishing numerous nonfiction books on American history, Douglas Brinkley also has edited the letters of Hunter S. Thompson in The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman 1955-67 (1997), the first in an anticipated three-volume collection. It includes letters spanning a 12-year period, during which time Thompson survived his first incarceration, graduated from high school, was discharged from the Air Force, wrote in obscurity, and finally achieved notoriety with the publication of Hells Angels.

Douglas Brinkley's recent book, The Unfinished Presidency: Jimmy Carter's Journey Beyond the White House (1998), probes inside Carter's post-presidential years including his relation with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, his promotion of human rights, and his relationship with the Clinton administration. Michael Beschloss praised The Unfinished Presidency as "a fascinating, thoughtful account of Jimmy Carter after the White House--easily the most detailed real-time inside look we have ever had at an American ex-president." Brinkley's newest book, American Heritage's The New History of the United States will be released this fall.

bookHistorian Stephen E. Ambrose has described Brinkley as "the best of the new generation of American historians." Brinkley is the author of Dean Acheson: The Cold War Years 1953-71 (1992), Driven Patriot: The Life and Times of James Forrestal which he co-authored with Townsend Hoopes, and which was named a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times, as well as Rise to Globalism: American Foreign Policy Since 1938 which he co-authored with Stephen E. Ambrose. Brinkley also is the author of The Majic Bus: An Odyssey (1993), based on a six-week field trip he took across America leading a class of college students to study the country's history, literature, and culture. He also edited with David R. Facey-Crowther, The Atlantic Charter (1995) on the historic meeting between U.S. President Frankin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

Brinkley is a regular contributor to National Public Radio, and has written numerous articles for The New York Times, Foreign Affairs, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, and The Atlantic Monthly. His is Distinguished Professor of History and director of the Eisenhower Center at the University of New Orleans.

". . .Douglas Brinkley's excellent book records the possibilities and perils of an activist ex-presidency with candor, insight, and readability. A fine history!" - Arthur Schlesinger Jr. on The Unfinished Presidency

"Anyone interested in World War II could benefit from reading this book. It is accessible to general readers and worthwhile for professional historians. It summarizes recent scholarship on the subject." - Lloyd E. Ambrosius, History on The Atlantic Charter

"It is the first to integrate properly Forrestal's life and work. . .The quality of their research and the clarity of their writing surely make their book the standard work." - Jacob Heilbrunn, The New Republic on Driven Patriot

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For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at https://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.