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Ralph’s Masterpiece

Dear Ralph,

…..Shit.  How can I know.  Everybody involved has lied to me about these cheap, soon-to-be Buried gossip books about random strangers’ comments on MY life – all of them with an utterly different Bias & a different set of quotes & characters — & I have already contracted with the NY Times Book Review to wait until they’re all done & then review them as a whole, for whatever kind of half-bright scum they will seem to be at the time(s) of their various publications.(s).

–Hunter S. Thompson in a letter to Ralph Steadman 1992. re: the slew of unauthorized biographies that came out in the early 90’s by people who barely knew his work.

     Ralph’s new book was waiting for me when I arrived home after driving through a blizzard from the Denver airport with my intern Laura in a tiny silver car with bald tires and finally a single chain on one tire that some nice hunters agreed to attach when we pulled off the highway in the darkness just as they were coming out of the woods from an illegal hunting trip in the Vail Mountains of the dreaded Vail Pass.  But we made it home late night, 4 hours past schedule, safe and sound.  I woke up to my beautiful Owl Farm covered with a blanket of fresh snow and still moreJoke's Over book by Ralph coming down.  I lit a huge fire in the fireplace and hunkered down with my Siamese cats and German Shepherd sleeping next to me while I began to read Ralph’s book.  Although I did feel a little guilty because I should be catching up on my homework, but…. I couldn’t help it. From what I’ve read so far, it’s a masterpiece.  It’s riveting, hilarious and extremely insightful.  You, my friends, are going to love it. 

I already knew so much about the book just from my correspondence with Ralph over email, phone, fax and mail, but this is even better than I expected.  Here’s just one part of a graph:

…[Hunter} learned the balance between living out on the edge of lunacy and apparently normal discourse with everyday events.  Whatever reaction he adopted towards a situation, whether it was giving a hell-raiser speech from the interior balconies of the Hyatt Regency Hotel in San Francisco or firing a Magnum .44 at random into the night in front of strangers, he would always convince those around him that they were the ones who were mad, irrational or just plain dumb and he was behaving as a decent law-abiding citizen.

— Ralph Steadman, The Joke’s Over. 

I can’t wait for it to hit the bookstands.  You will enjoy this beautifully written book.

Doug Brinkley is flying in tonight for Donna’s memorial and I’ll let you know the status of the Letters III book which we are almost finished with.  The letter which is quoted at the top, will be in it too, as so many other’s between Hunter’s dear friend Ralph. 

Your Friend, reading by the fire,

Anita Thompson




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