Southern Reads: The Proud Highway by Hunter S. Thompson

“We are all alone, born alone, die alone, and—in spite of True Romance magazines—we shall all someday look back on our lives and see that, in spite of our company, we were alone the whole way. I do not say lonely—at least, not all the time—but essentially, and finally, alone. This is what makes your self-respect so important, and I don’t see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness.” – Hunter S. Thompson


In wild and fascinating letters to people such as Norman Mailer,  Charles Kuralt, Tom Wolfe, Lyndon Johnson,  Joan Baez, and the NRA, Kentucky’s native son, Hunter S. Thompson captures the essence of the 1960s in America. He does this through his brash and sardonic perspective that is unapologetic … showing no mercy and pulling no punches.

“A man who procrastinates in his choosing will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance.”- Hunter S. Thompson

The Proud Highway is Hunter’s life biography, written in real time in the form of letters to anyone he had a bone to pick with, or a question that needed answering. Most of the time they come across as wild rants, bordering on gibberish, yet if you read closely, you will find genius. If you really want to learn anything about Hunter, here is the best place to do it with the most accuracy. These correspondence are a clear insight into the mind of a drunken southern gentleman on the verge of greatness. I have many favourite authors, but Hunter is at the peak and this particular book is the reason why.  This is not Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. This is writing in it’s purest form that is both hilarious and shocking, yet always honest (at least in his own mind). I hope you enjoy!

Below is one of the correspondence included in the book:

Municipal Court Magistrate, Town Hall, West Milford, NJ November 6, 1959:

Dear Sir,
Earlier today I was given a summons to appear before your court on November 9, on a charge of ‘leaving the scene of an accident.’ I shall have to decline this appearance, and I hope this letter will explain why. By November 9, I shall be well out of the state of New Jersey, but I don’t want to leave without explaining my position…” 

“So, faced with a choice of paying a minimum of $25 for falling off a motor scooter on a public road, and fleeing the state to avoid prosecution, I chose to leave the state. I am a free-lance writer and simply cannot affort to pay a fine of $25 or more at this time. And, since I obviously left the scene and am therefore guilty, I would have no choice but to go to jail in lieu of paying the fine…”

“So, we are all criminals: those of us who skid and fall on damp, unmarked roads, and those others who stop and give aid to the injured. If this situation is not patently ridiculous to you, then I can only congratulate myself on having the good sense to avoid an appearance in your court…”




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