The Great Shark Hunt

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The Great Shark Hunt
Great shark hunt.jpg
First edition
AuthorHunter S. Thompson
CountryUnited States
SeriesThe Gonzo Papers
SubjectPolitics, Journalism
PublisherSummit Books
Publication date
Followed byGeneration of Swine 

The Great Shark Hunt is a book by Hunter S. Thompson. Originally published in 1979 as Gonzo Papers, Vol. 1: The Great Shark Hunt: Strange Tales from a Strange Time, the book is a roughly 600-page collection of Thompson's essays from 1956 to the end of the 1970s, following the rise of the author's own gonzo journalism style as he moved from Air Force and sports beat-writing to straight-ahead political commentary. It is the first of four volumes in The Gonzo Papers series.


The book is broken into four parts, moving from Thompson's earliest writing for the U.S. Air Force, through his sports articles, then into his middle years of political and cultural commentary and beyond. Some excerpts from the author's two original Fear and Loathing serials ( Las Vegas and ...on the Campaign Trail '72) are also included. Thompson worked for several different publications throughout his career, and The Great Shark Hunt covers articles from the National Observer, Rolling Stone, Scanlan's Monthly, The New York Times, Playboy, and others.

Notable persons depicted by the author as cavorting about with him include his illustrator and friend Ralph Steadman, Chicano lawyer Oscar Zeta Acosta, Olympic skier Jean-Claude Killy, and then-football player O. J. Simpson. Political figures appearing prominently in the collection include former U.S. presidents Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter, and Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern.

Missing, however, are the illustrations by Ralph Steadman that originally accompanied many of the Thompson articles in this collection.

Table of contents[edit]

From the 1992 Simon & Schuster paperback edition, with bibliographies by Kihm Winship.

Part One
Author's Note / Fear and Loathing in the Bunker / The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved / A Southern City with Northern Problems / Fear and Loathing at the Super Bowl / The Temptations of Jean-Claude Killy / The Ultimate Free Lancer / Collect Telegram from a Mad Dog / "Genius 'Round the World Stands Hand in Hand, and One Shock of Recognition Runs the Whole Circle 'Round" – Art Linkletter (This quote was attributed to Linkletter by Thompson, but it is, in fact, a quote from Herman Melville) / Jacket Copy for Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream / A Conversation on Ralph Steadman and His Book, America, with Dr. Hunter S. Thompson / Strange Rumblings in Aztlan / Freak Power in the Rockies / Memo from the Sports Desk: The So-Called "Jesus Freak" Scare / Memoirs of a Wretched Weekend in Washington

Part Two
Presenting: The Richard Nixon Doll (Overhauled 1968 Model) / Author's Note / June, 1972: The McGovern Juggernaut Rolls On / Later in June / September / October / Epitaph / Memo from the Sports Desk & Rude Notes from a Decompression Chamber in Miami / Fear and Loathing at the Watergate: Mr. Nixon Has Cashed His Check / Fear and Loathing in Washington: The Boys in the Bag / Fear and Loathing in Limbo: The Scum Also Rises

Part Three
Traveler Hears Mountain Music Where It's Sung / A Footloose American in a Smugglers' Den / Why Anti-Gringo Winds Often Blow South of the Border / Democracy Dies in Peru, but Few Seem to Mourn Its Passing / The Inca of the Andes: He Haunts the Ruins of His Once-Great Empire / Brazilshooting / Chatty Letters During a Journey from Aruba to Rio / What Lured Hemingway to Ketchum / Living in the Time of Alger, Greeley, Debs / Marlon Brando and the Indian Fish-In / The "Hashbury" Is the Capital of the Hippies / When the Beatniks Were Social Lions / The Nonstudent Left / Those Daring Young Men in Their Flying Machines . . . Ain't What They Used to Be! / The Police Chief

Part Four
The Great Shark Hunt / Jimmy Carter and the Great Leap of Faith / Address by Jimmy Carter on Law Day: University of Georgia, Athens, GA / The Banshee Screams for Buffalo Meat / The Hoodlum Circus and the Statutory Rape of Bass Lake / Ashes to Ashes & Dust to Dust: The Funeral of Mother Miles / Welcome to Las Vegas: When the Going Gets Weird the Weird Turn Pro / Last Tango in Vegas: Fear and Loathing in the Near Room / Last Tango in Vegas: Fear and Loathing in the Far Room / Bibliography of Work by Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, by Kihm Winship / Bibliography of Work on Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, by Kihm Winship


Thompson, Hunter S. Gonzo Papers, Vol. 1: The Great Shark Hunt: Strange Tales from a Strange Time. New York: Summit Books, 1979; Simon & Schuster, 2003 (ISBN 0-7432-5045-1)