I expected to like this more, having a) a longstanding, deep appreciation of Thompson's outsized yet fine-grained vision of America and b) found the Pythons' oral history a treasurehouse of strange details, deep background, and constant surprising pleasures.
This, alas, was more a compendium of bad behavior. Now, that's not surprising, but Thompson's own best work was far better at crafting such extravagant irresponsibility, and always coupled the game to beautiful insights. I was (am) a politics junkie, who'd read by 15 or 16 a couple of Theodore White's books on campaigns for presidency when I came upon _Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail_... and... well, um, DAMN. I then, like any good obsessive, read everything I could get my hands on. My first political memory is of Watergate, and I came into the franchise when that now-sainted buffoon Reagan was firmly locked into the White House, and I found some salvation and sense of hope at the time when I found Thompson: irony and brutal satire and a white-hot rage against bullshit and for all the fog from his appetites as clear and incisive a sense of how the American political beast worked as I've ever seen. (Richard Ben Cramer's What It Takes, a few years later, was almost as good... but RBC wrote about politicians, while Thompson wrote about the system and its mythos.)
So, anyway, I pick up this book after avoiding the glut of biographies, avoiding them 'cause I wasn't really sure I cared about the "man" as much as his work, but perhaps this book would give me a sense of how the work came to be. But, not really. It was occasionally fun, only infrequently illuminating. I think I should read his letters, instead. (Mark, my friend--you've read those collections, right? Good?)