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The Footloose American: Following the Hunter…
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The Footloose American: Following the Hunter S. Thompson Trail Across…

by Brian Kevin

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
While there are some interesting insights to be gotten from this look into South America, they came across as too disjointed for me. The pacing and anecdotes written by the author left me confused and unsympathetic. I have only read about halfway through and can not bring myself to go further. ( )
  Gkarlives | May 6, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
As role models go, one could not choose one much more problematic than the late Hunter S. Thompson, whose alcohol- and drug-crazed escapades were, largely through his own words, legendary. As a journalistic example, though (those conditions notwithstanding), one could not do much better, and that is what travel writer Kevin has done, literally and literarily following in the footsteps of the young Thompson, who was working at that time (1962) for the National Observer. It was in South America, Kevin states, “that Thompson developed that razor-edged understanding of the dying American dream.” Kevin wants, like Thompson, to develop a keener grasp of the U.S. by tracing the pre-gonzo Thompson’s path, from Colombia to Brazil. Kevin is, like his model, an observant and witty, if inexperienced, writer; this is fine, historically well-researched travel writing in the tradition of Bruce Chatwin as well as in that of the youthful and restrained (partially thanks to dysentery) Thompson.
  DuffDaddy | Jan 13, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This book started out slowly and I had a hard time staying with it. I am glad I did, if only for what I learned about the history of Colombia. It was another example for me of how limited my knowledge can be if I only read mainstream media and don't dig for the other perspectives. Changed my perspective of both Colombia and once again, the U.S. media. ( )
  mkboylan | Dec 30, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
In 1963, Hunter S. Thompson at the age of 25 spent a year traveling across South America. The author Brian Kevin has written his story of his tracing the path of Hunter S. Thompson. So many years later many things had changed and a lot was still as it was so many years ago. The main river, The Magdalena, has been ignored by the government so much that parts of it had changed courses and filled in with silt. I had not read any of Thompson's work so I could not really compare the two. I did enjoy reading about the people, travels, and other adventures that Mr. Kevin made and he did let the reader know what Mr. Thompson had thought about at the time of his travels. Very well written book. ( )
  TX1955 | Sep 24, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The Footloose American: Following the Hunter S. Thompson Trail Across… (edition 2014) by Brian Kevin has been reviewed in much more depth than time allows me now a days. I wasn't exactly sure what I was signing up for when agreeing to reviewing this book. The blurb is that it is following the adventures of Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson as he travelled across South America. Having read "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas", viewing watched "Where the Buffalo Roam". following the adventures of Duke in Doonesbury and often reading about Thompson antics as he made the college lecture circuit including my alma mater of U.C. Davis, I was expecting a drug crazed, off the wall account of Thompson's trip with the author following said chaos. Having a few years behind my own gonzo type days, I ended up wondering why I had signed up to review such a book.

As Brian Kevin explains Thompson wandered South America prior to his gonzo day and it was those travels that may have created Thompson's jaded view of America. With that I started to warm up to the book. It is Kevin's travelogue not Thompson's. I hadn't realized the changes in Columbia for instance, thinking it was still a country run by drug cartels. It was fun reading the interactions with the people he met along the way and to see how it matches up to Thompson's experience and other literary figures such as Gabriel Garciz Marquez' experience.

Usually non-fiction is not my go to escape reading but this was enjoyable enough and gave me a glimpse of another world, that it was good for not thinking about work.
  twolfe360 | Sep 20, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0770436374, Paperback)

An adventure-filled and thought-provoking travelogue along Hunter S. Thompson's forgotten journey through South America

In 1963, twenty-five-year-old Hunter S. Thompson, who would become America's bestselling "gonzo journalist," completed a year-long journey across South America, filing a series of dispatches for a now-defunct paper called the National Observer. With the gritty humor and keen political observations for which he later became known, correspondent Thompson reflected on topics that continue to make headlines today: the rise of leftist populism, struggles over resource extraction, the marginalization of indigenous peoples.
     In The Footloose American, Brian Kevin traverses the continent with Thompson's ghost as his guide, offering a ground-level exploration of twenty-first-century South American culture, politics, and ecology. By contrasting the author's own thrilling, transformative experiences along the Hunter S. Thompson Trail with those that Thompson describes in his letters and lost Observer stories, The Footloose American is at once a gripping personal journey and a thought-provoking study of culture and place.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:47 -0400)

"An adventure-filled and thought-provoking travelogue along Hunter S. Thompson's forgotten journey through South America. In 1963, twenty-five-year-old Hunter S. Thompson, who would become America's bestselling "gonzo journalist," completed a year-long journey across South America, filing a series of dispatches for a now-defunct paper called the National Observer. With the gritty humor and keen political observations for which he later became known, correspondent Thompson reflected on topics that continue to make headlines today: the rise of leftist populism, struggles over resource extraction, the marginalization of indigenous peoples. In The Footloose American, Brian Kevin traverses the continent with Thompson's ghost as his guide, offering a ground-level exploration of twenty-first-century South American culture, politics, and ecology. By contrasting the author's own thrilling, transformative experiences along the Hunter S. Thompson Trail with those that Thompson describes in his letters and lost Observer stories, The Footloose American is at once a gripping personal journey and a thought-provoking study of culture and place"--… (more)

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