John Cusack
Photo: Jeffrey Mayer
The star of the new action movie 2012 picks books that provide a link to great thinkers, an alternate history of the past 35 years, and a "stream-of-consciousness bit of grace" (by who else?) Bob Dylan.

Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72
By Hunter S. Thompson

They say Hunter walked the surface of the Earth looking for an honest man and came up wanting. I'd never seen politics approached with this kind of candor or insight or capacity for looking at the underbelly of it. During the 1972 presidential campaign, he did a series of articles for Rolling Stone that are collected here. His mixture of artistic sensibilities with journalistic excellence, all to find the core of truth—I thought that was pretty incredible. Mostly, I admired the ferocity of Hunter's mind. I got to know him as a friend in the '90s. He was still reading everything, processing all this information, and seeing the patterns underneath. People forget—because of his Dr. Gonzo persona, which was so much larger than life—what a wonderful writer, thinker, journalist, and advocate he was for the truth and for the American dream. I think he was mourning its passing. Hunter had reason to be disillusioned, but his insights into people, his savage deconstruction of things, the precision, the honesty, and the courage to admit difficult things about himself, his country, and human nature—talk about influential. He sort of blew your mind.


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