Proud Highway:Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman

BOOK: Proud Highway:Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman
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both for his vibrant prose style and his career-long autopsy on the death of the American dream.”

San Francisco Examiner

“Extraordinary. Thompson was burning with a lovely light that seared these letters with wit, wonder, and insight These letters could serve as mileposts along the way of where we've been and where we are”

Atlanta Journal & Constitution

“A careening, chaotic, rollercoaster ride through time Crackling electrical charged fused from the Fires of Hell Direction Purpose Energy.”

—William S. Burroughs

“Another insightful masterpiece from the finest southern gentleman since Colonel Harland Sanders. Read these letters, but do not, under any circumstances, give this man your number.”

—Johnny Depp

“HST takes the air out of airmail and replaces it with pure, compressed, explosive hydrogen (plus laughing gas). You've never gotten any letters like these—unless you're Abelard and Heloise, in which case you're castrated and dead.”

P.J O'Rourke

“Some of the finest political and social writing of our times.”

The Seattle Times

“Astonishing … We get overdosed with surprises.”


The Memphis Commercial Appeal

“Perhaps the most honest writer we have. His letters make clear that he doesn't lie—he simply tells outsized truths that most people are so used to screening out that we have to laugh or shrug them off as exaggeration.”

Time Out

“Hunter S. Thompson again proves himself a great American writer … 
The Proud Highway
is something of an adventure story, the tale of a man who insisted, in the early '60s, that it was still feasible to drink unto blindness, jump smugglers' boats and, indeed, move from ‘home' to ‘home' with the frequency of a Mayflower truck.”

The Virginian Pilot

“Fast, furious, loaded with incident, and utterly fearless [Thompson] may be the best letter writer since Flaubert.”

Men's Journal

“Lurking beneath the aggressive energy and ferocious will that powers these letters is a wistful, doom-haunted melancholy that finds its true release not in rage and excess, but in the act of writing.”


“Bracing, often hilarious epistles.”

New Orleans Times-Picayune

“Fear and Loathing, aphorism and malediction, mischief and indigence, fill this galvanically gonzo collection of Thompson's early letters.”

Kirkus Reviews

“Peerless in its outrageousness … By turns exasperating and entertaining, this is also a devastating portrait of the writer as an incorrigible outsider.”

Publishers Weekly


a savage and highly personal history of the late 1960s that will remind readers that Hunter Thompson is a twisted American treasure.”

The Orlando Sentinel

“Irresistible … The letters and other fragments in this collection are invested with the same rugged, outspoken individualism as his more public writings, which makes them just as difficult to put down.”

—Richard Berstem
The New York Times

“This is a surprising and entertaining book, simply for what it claims to be the electrified musings of a young man, starving and wild, determined to succeed as a writer.”

Austin American-Statesman

“These Thompsonesque burlesques are hilariously splenetic, shocking and frequently insightful.”

Lexington Kentucky Herald-Leader

“A shot in the liver for struggling writers and a searing testimony to an important moment in American journalism. Highly recommended.”

Library Journal

“Vastly entertaining and a crash course in good writing … an amazingly good read and a reminder that behind the image lies a tremendous talent.”

Boulder Planet

“Roaring at perceived injustice … This is the story that Hunter S. Thompson fans would never get from Doctor Thompson himself if he sat down to write an autobiography: loyalty, insanity, angst, altruism, and even streaks of tenderness.”

Houston Chronicle

The Proud Highway
gives Thompson fans a fresh dose of the past. Here is the old Harley hog of a writer revving up, firing on all cylinders and riding away into the sunset.”

News & Record
(Greensboro, NC)

—Rolling Stone

“Thompson wrote great, entertaining letters even when he was apologizing for his behavior or haggling with editors over money.”

The Arizona Republic

“Monumental … Thompson conveys his sense of purpose with equal measures of fire and clarity, reminding us that, all myths aside, Thompson's literary prowess is real.”

Louisville Courier Journal

“Razor sharp and relevant today.”

The Denver Post

“Through his letters you see the path he took to becoming the god of ‘gonzo journalism' ”

Kansas City Star

“Vintage Thompson, alive with vicious wit, brutal comic savagery, and vitality … Strongly recommended.”

Express Books
(Berkeley, CA)

“Rabidly funny.”


A Ballantine Book
Published by The Random House Publishing Group

Copyright © 1997 by Hunter S. Thompson

All rights reserved

Published in the United States by Ballantine Books, an imprint of The Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc, New York and simultaneously in Canada by Random House of Canada Limited, Toronto

Grateful acknowledgment is made to the following for permission to reprint previously published material

Excerpt from “A Poet's Advice to Students” from
A Miscellany Revised
by E E Cummings edited by George J Firmage Copyright © 1955, 1965 by the Trustees for the E E Cummings Trust Copyright © 1958 1965 by George J Firmage Reprinted by permission of Liveright Publishing Company

The Nation
“The Nonstudent Left by Hunter S. Thompson (
The Nation,
September 27, 1965) Copyright © 1965 by
The Nation
Reprinted by permission of
The Nation

Excerpt from “Ballad of a Thin Man” by Bob Dylan Copyright © 1965 by Warner Bros Inc Copyright renewed 1993 by Special Rider Music Reprinted by permission of Special Rider Music

Ballantine and colophon are registered trademarks of Random House, Inc.

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 97-94231

eISBN: 978-0-307-82662-6

This edition published by arrangement with Villard Books a division of Random House Inc Villard Books is a registered trademark of Random House Inc.



Arms, my only ornament—my only rest, the fight

Don Quixote


Foreword: The Curse of the Bronze Plaque
   by William J. Kennedy

Editor's Note by Douglas Brinkley

Author's Note by Hunter S. Thompson

BOOK: Proud Highway:Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman
5.03Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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