HIGH WHITE NOTES—The Rise and Fall of Gonzo Journalism—Review

Marc Olmsted

HIGH WHITE NOTES The Rise and Fall of Gonzo Journalism By David S. Wills Beatdom Books $17.99 High White Notes takes a phrase from F. Scott Fitzgerald that was of prime importance to Hunter S. Thompson (or any serious writer) - being in the zone while creating. It is of course important to all artists to be in that zone, and thus David Wills uses Thompson’s writing exclusively (rather than a more conventional biography) to get to the man and his self-created myth, one far more invented than I previously realized. Most of us enthusiastic about Thompson agree that Hell’s Angels, Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas, and Fear & Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72 are his “high white notes” - and anyone attempting to follow and understand him can see that there is a deterioration in his work from that point - relatively slow enough to entice us back momentarily (I used to regularly pick up the San Francisco Examiner ju...
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