Hunter Stockton Thompson was an American author and journalist. Born in Louisville, Kentucky to a middle class family, Thompson went off the rails in his teens after the death of his father left the family in poverty. He was unable to formally finish high school as he was incarcerated for 60 days after abetting a robbery. He subsequently joined the United States Air Force before moving into journalism. He traveled frequently, including stints in Puerto Rico and Brazil, before settling in Aspen, Colorado in the early 1960s.
Thompson became known internationally with the publication of Hell's Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs, for which he had spent a year living and riding with the Angels, experiencing their lives and hearing their stories first hand. Previously a relatively conventional journalist, with the publication in 1970 of "The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved" he became a counter cultural figure, with his own brand of New Journalism he termed "Gonzo", an experimental style of journalism where reporters involve themselves in the action to such a degree that they become central figures of their stories. The work he remains best known for is Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream, a rumination on the failure of the 1960s counterculture movement. It was first serialized in Rolling Stone, a magazine with which Thompson would be long associated, and was released as a film starring Johnny Depp and directed by Terry Gilliam in 1998.