Sunday, 31 May 2015

Generation of Swine, by Hunter S. Thompson

4 stars

A long overdue re-read that was just as entertaining as the first time around, I started A Generation of Swine on my birthday as a little treat to myself. The time between then and now has been heavily slanted towards work, but the format of the book - articles written for the San Francisco Examiner between '86 and '88 - made it the perfect reading material to fit into my often very short lunch breaks.

A Generation of Swine is a brilliant time capsule, bringing back many of the things that were on our (but especially American) minds in the late '80s: AIDS, the War on Drugs, Ghaddafi, acid rain and the Iran/Contra affair as well as the Presidential campaign for '88, showing that while we may have pretty short memories the world has always been an insanely corrupt and often frightening place, and that the only thing that's really changed are the names of the players and how its documented. For me, Hunter S. Thompson is a huge loss from amongst the best of those documentarians, someone who's miles better than most even when he's not at his peak. 

Never better than when he's at his most vitriolic, the Iran/Contra scandal and the Presidential campaign would give him plenty of material - especially when it came to George Bush Snr:
 "...a truly evil man, a truthless monster with the brains of a king rat and the soul of a cockroach, is about to be sworn in as President of the United States for the next four years...And he will bring his whole gang with him, a mean network of lawyers and salesmen and pimps who will loot the national treasury, warp the laws, mock the rules and stay awake twenty-two hours a day looking for at least one reason to declare war, officially, on some hapless tribe in the Sahara or heathen fanatic like the Ayatollah Khomeini."

 Based on this little jaunt through the decade of "Huge brains, small necks, weak muscles and fat wallets...", I think it might be high time for a re-read of all his other books too.

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