The American journalist Hunter Stockton Thompson was known as one of the best examples of "Gonzo" journalism. His political and cultural criticism of the United States in the 1970s was largely a series of tales flowing from his eccentric personality and adventures. He was known also for his lifelong use of alcohol and illegal drugs; his love of firearms, and his iconoclastic contempt for authoritarianism.
Charged as an accessory to robbery after being in a car with the robber, Thompson was sentenced to 60 days in Kentucky's Jefferson County Jail. Whilst he was in jail the school superintendent refused him permission to take his high school final examinations, and as a result he did not graduate. A week after his release, he was enlisted in the United States Air Force
While serving at Eglin, he took evening classes at Florida State University.After the Air Force, he worked as sports editor for a newspaper in Jersey Shore, there he attended the Columbia University School of General Studies part-time on the G.I. Bill, taking classes in creative writing.
As a journalist over the course of decades, Thompson published numerous articles in various periodicals. He wrote for many publications, including Rolling Stone, Esquire, The Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, New York Times, Time, Vanity Fair, The San Juan Star, and Playboy. A collection of his articles for Rolling Stone was released in 2011 as Fear and Loathing at Rolling Stone: The Essential Writings of Hunter S. Thompson. He also published books, letters, and was an avid amateur photographer throughout his life and his photos have been exhibited since his death at art galleries in the United States.
Although Thompson rarely personally endorsed political labels or programmes in his writings, in his letters he expressed affinity with the far left. He strongly criticised the dominance in American society of, what he called, "white power structures".He was a proponent of the right to bear arms, drug legalization and privacy rights.
He was also well known for his inveterate hatred of Richard Nixon, both during and after his presidency. After Nixon's death in 1994, Thompson famously described him in Rolling Stone as a man who "could shake your hand and stab you in the back at the same time".