Thursday, May 15, 2014

Review: The Footloose American by Brian Kevin

Title: The Footloose American
Author: Brian Kevin
Format: ARC
Publisher: Broadway Books
Publish Date: May 20, 2014
Source: I received a copy from the publisher; however, this did not affect my review.

Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You like armchair traveling.
  • You're a fan of Hunter S. Thompson.
  • You like reading about Latin America.
What's the Story?:

From "In 1963, twenty-five-year-old Hunter S. Thompson, who would become America's bestselling "gonzo journalist," completed a year-long journey across South America, filing a series of dispatches for a now-defunct paper called the National Observer. With the gritty humor and keen political observations for which he later became known, correspondent Thompson reflected on topics that continue to make headlines today: the rise of leftist populism, struggles over resource extraction, the marginalization of indigenous peoples.

     In The Footloose American, Brian Kevin traverses the continent with Thompson's ghost as his guide, offering a ground-level exploration of twenty-first-century South American culture, politics, and ecology. By contrasting the author's own thrilling, transformative experiences along the Hunter S. Thompson Trail with those that Thompson describes in his letters and lost Observer stories, The Footloose American is at once a gripping personal journey and a thought-provoking study of culture and place."

My Two Cents:

"The Footloose American" is a travelogue of sorts where author, Brian Kevin, follows gonzo reporter, Hunter S. Thompson's, footsteps through South America. Thompson wrote a lot about the culture and politics of South American countries and was clearly fascinated with it. Kevin blends Thompson's observations on the places he visited along with his own. We get to see what these places were like back when Thompson were visiting and what they were like relatively recently. If you like travelogues that are off the beaten path, this would be a great pick for you.

Again, I studied Latin America in college and am endlessly fascinated by it. Thompson was visiting Latin America during a time where there was great change. He lands in South America in a haphazard way and then begins writing. Kevin references a lot of the articles and personal correspondences that Thompson wrote and pulls it into where Kevin is visiting and what he is seeing. I loved how Kevin was able to make the connection between his own travels and experiences and what Thompson must have seen in his travels. I felt like I got a lot from this book. I was entertained and learned something too.

This book gives you a good taste for Latin America and for Thompson (I know that I want to read more by him now). This book definitely has some very funny moments. This book also has some great opportunities for armchair traveling, which I really enjoyed! Overall, this is a fascinating book!



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