When the Going Gets Weird is a revealing, no-holds-barred account of the life and times of the outrageous originator of Gonzo journalism, Hunter S. Thompson. Beginning with Thompson's early childhood in Louisville, Kentucky, where he fought for the attention of a distant, baseball-engrossed father, we see Thompson's personality and influences as never before. Covering his brief stint in the military, through his migration to the West Coast, where the acid generation was lust beginning to happen, author Peter Whitmer interviews all the major players in Thompson's life, including Tom Wolfe, Ken Kesey, Norman Mailer, Timothy Leary, and George McGovern, among many others. We see Thompson disturbing the peace in Big Sur, where Joan Baez became angry at him for his cruelty to kittens; and his run with the Hell's Angels, their drug deals, orgies, and brawls. We see Thompson's early years at Rolling Stone, where he perfected his hard-drinking and hard-drugging persona, and the volatile mix of personalities such as Jann Wenner, Ralph Steadman, and Richard M. Nixon. George Plimpton tells a hilarious story about his trip with Hunter to the Ali-Foreman fight in Zaire; and Nick Proffitt and Philip Caputo relate the strange and terrible tale of their escorting Hunter around Saigon, where one could order opium from room service, and where Hunter almost got them killed for screaming obscenities in the combat zone. It's all here - from Thompson's travels in Rio with an alcoholic monkey to his running for sheriff in Aspen, where he campaigned with his head shaved, wearing a woman's wig. From his brief career as night manager of the Mitchell Brothers' porn theater in San Francisco to his quarrels with neighbors in Colorado over his penchant for shooting firearms into their backyards, When the Going Gets Weird reveals Thompson's excesses and manias in all their full glory, as well as the evolution of his work, from Fear and Loathing to Generation of Swine. Whitmer's riveting book is full of firsthand, never-before-read anecdotes about America's favorite iconoclast who based his life on the motto "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."