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New book about Hunter S. Thompson

New book about Hunter S. Thompson


Glen Ellen resident Peter Richardson has written a new book about Hunter S. Thompson— who, for a brief time, called Glen Ellen home. According to Thompson biographer William McKeen, Richardson’s book is a “supremely crafted” study of Thompson’s literary formation and achievement.

Savage Journey: Hunter S. Thompson and the Weird Road to Gonzo will be published by the University of California Press in January 2022. It is available for preorder on Amazon and other online retailers.

Fifty years after Thompson’s articles for Rolling Stone magazine made him a cultural celebrity, Richardson argues that the journalist’s work was due for a fresh review. Thompson’s political commentary was over the top, Richardson notes, but much of it proved prophetic. He describes Thompson as the most distinctive American voice in the second half of the twentieth century.

Savage Journey also details Thompson’s time elsewhere in the Bay Area. After short stints in San Francisco and Big Sur, Thompson lived on Bennett Valley Road in Glen Ellen. “He was supposed to rent another journalist’s house,” Richardson said, “but there was a mix-up, and Thompson ended up living in a shack on the same property with his very pregnant wife.”

Eventually the Thompsons relocated to San Francisco, where he wrote a bestselling book about the Hells Angels motorcycle club. Four years later, he turned two weekend visits to Las Vegas into Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, a Gonzo classic. He also covered the 1972 presidential campaign for Rolling Stone and produced a bestselling book on that topic. “Those three books,” Richardson said, “are his masterpieces.”

Thompson moved to Colorado in 1967 and continued to write until his suicide in 2005. During his peak years, however, he mostly worked with San Francisco editors and outlets. “He was very clear about the importance of his time here,” Richardson said.