The late master of gonzo journalism and dispenser of drug-addled opinion returns with this collection of his pieces for Rolling Stone magazine. 

There was a time when Rolling Stone was hip, and Thompson (Kingdom of Fear, 2003, etc.), made it more so, even as he turned the world of straight journalism on its head. In 1970, he wrote his first piece for the magazine, a twisted manifesto/report on his campaign for a new kind of mayor in Aspen, Colo.: “Our program, basically, was to drive the real estate goons completely out of the valley…No more land rapes, no more busts for ‘flute-playing' or ‘blocking the sidewalk’….zone the greedheads out of existence.” (Thompson records that he lost by only six votes.) He followed with a closely reported, quietly angry piece on the murder-by-cop of Los Angeles activist and fellow reporter Ruben Salazar: “When he went to cover the rally that August afternoon, he was still a ‘Mexican-American journalist.’ But by the time his body was carried out of the Silver Dollar, he was a stone Chicano martyr.” After that piece, the going quickly turned weird as Thompson embarked upon his “Fear and Loathing” series of misadventures, the best (and best-known) of them being the immortal, howlingly funny Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas, followed by a superbly bizarre take on the Super Bowl and then, in 1992, a similarly wild piece recounting a supposed romp with Clarence Thomas in the outback of Nevada: “What the hell? I thought. It’s only rock & roll. And he was, after all, a Judge of some kind…Or maybe not. For all I knew he was a criminal pimp with no fingerprints, or a wealthy black shepherd from Spain.” Included here are numerous lesser-known pieces as well, among them an elegant obituary for Timothy Leary, one of the “pure warriors who saw the great light and leapt for it.” Much of this work is available in earlier collections such as The Great Shark Hunt, but that doesn’t make this any less essential—a fine gathering by one of the best writers of our time.


Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4391-6595-9

Page Count: 592

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2011

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A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.


Custer died for your sins. And so, this book would seem to suggest, did every other native victim of colonialism.

Inducing guilt in non-native readers would seem to be the guiding idea behind Dunbar-Ortiz’s (Emerita, Ethnic Studies/California State Univ., Hayward; Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War, 2005, etc.) survey, which is hardly a new strategy. Indeed, the author says little that hasn’t been said before, but she packs a trove of ideological assumptions into nearly every page. For one thing, while “Indian” isn’t bad, since “[i]ndigenous individuals and peoples in North America on the whole do not consider ‘Indian’ a slur,” “American” is due to the fact that it’s “blatantly imperialistic.” Just so, indigenous peoples were overwhelmed by a “colonialist settler-state” (the very language broadly applied to Israelis vis-à-vis the Palestinians today) and then “displaced to fragmented reservations and economically decimated”—after, that is, having been forced to live in “concentration camps.” Were he around today, Vine Deloria Jr., the always-indignant champion of bias-puncturing in defense of native history, would disavow such tidily packaged, ready-made, reflexive language. As it is, the readers who are likely to come to this book—undergraduates, mostly, in survey courses—probably won’t question Dunbar-Ortiz’s inaccurate assertion that the military phrase “in country” derives from the military phrase “Indian country” or her insistence that all Spanish people in the New World were “gold-obsessed.” Furthermore, most readers won’t likely know that some Ancestral Pueblo (for whom Dunbar-Ortiz uses the long-abandoned term “Anasazi”) sites show evidence of cannibalism and torture, which in turn points to the inconvenient fact that North America wasn’t entirely an Eden before the arrival of Europe.

A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8070-0040-3

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.


“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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