Sunday, June 14, 2015

Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72 by Dr. Hunter S. Thomson (Straight Arrow Books, 1973 first printing)

This is a first hardcover edition of Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72. I think this is arguably Thompson's most important book, as it expands the gonzo approach of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas into the political realm, a place he remained throughout the rest of his career. All of the subsequent "Gonzo Papers" books lived in this world: they were less about the drugs and more about politics and contemporary culture.

This was published in 1973 by Straight Arrow Books (a short-lived publisher associated with Rolling Stone that compiled a number of long-form, serialized articles) and was illustrated by the great Ralph Steadman. (curiously, Straight Arrow also published some books by Oscar Zeta Acosta -- "Dr. Gonzo" of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas fame).

The book is in decent condition. While there are a lot of losses around the edge of the jacket, it still boasts a tight binding (althought slightly tilted) with no damages or marks visible to the actual book.

My biggest woe is the sun damage on the spine; compare the colors of the skull on the spine to those on the cover. It's surprisingly tough to find old books that have vibrant jackets. Tangentially related: I've been on the hunt for a 1st/1st of Thomas Pynchon's V. and am shocked at how many sun-faded spines are out there! Sometimes I think someone with the same tastes as me, fifty years ago, had a library/solarium combo...

Also worth a note: the mythical Screwjack "Cyclops Owl" makes an appearance in the book's front matter. Those interested can check out the comments thread here for a bit of a discussion on the beast.

Currently reading:
The Book of Numbers by Joshua Cohen

Currently listening to:
"Loin des Hommes" by Nick Cave & Warren Ellis

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