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Book Review: Hunter S. Thompson - The Last Interview

This book is part of “The Last Interview and Other Conversations.” The book series that collates interviews with iconic and influential public figures. (It’s worth checking out the impressive list of other titles.)

gordon meyer with hunter book

The interviews have a transcript-like feel to them (although they probably aren’t) which makes for a quick and interesting read. They’re arranged chronologically, which adds another layer of insight as H.S.T. grows in influence and psychosis. (I mean that respectfully, how could someone not be mentally affected by his lifestyle and rise to fame‽)

I should disclose that H.S.T. a favorite author, and I’ve read almost every book he’s published. (Two weeks ago I’d have said that I’ve read all of his books, but I learned in one of these interviews that I somehow missed Hey Rube.)

The interviewers range from editors and publishers of regard, to a student journalist who is clearly underprepared. (Sadly, it’s also the last interview before his death.) Also included are two wonderful interviews with the great Chicagoan Studs Terkel, both of which were lost to history until the Terkel Archive was restored. (A project I am now doubly happy to have contributed to.)

It’s impossible to read decades-old H.S.T. without the lens of the Trump klan disaster, and it makes me feel both happy (for him) and sad (for us) that he’s not around today. Undoubtedly, a 2021 perspective influenced some of the choices I made when highlighting passages, including:

  • “The people being left out and put behind won’t be obvious for years. And Christ only know what’ll happen when it’s 1985. There will be a million Hell’s Angels. They won’t be wearing colors, but they’ll be people who are looking for vengeance because they’ve been left behind.”
  • “I think having a favorite baseball team is like having a favorite oil company.”
  • “(The Hell’s Angels) came out of WWII, and not just the Angels themselves but this whole alienated and violent subculture of people wandering around looking for either an opportunity or, if not an opportunity, then vengeance for not getting an opportunity. Because they get to be thirty, and suddenly, they wake up one morning and they realize there are no more chances, it’s all gone.”
  • “By the time you get to be an expert you’re just an artifact.”
  • “I think the next big-time national politician who comes along and runs on a realistic platform to really shake the system will cause a lot of trouble. He might not win, but he will have a veto power over whoever does win.”

I bought my copy at Daunt Books on Fulham Road, which is sadly now closed, but you can also get it from the Amazon, of course. Thanks for one last ride, Hunter.


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