When word came on the last day of October, 1995 that Terry Southern had died, Henry Allen, a staff writer for The Washington Post, asked if he could write an appreciation for the next morning’s edition. He bicycled home in a rainstorm, six miles, to refer to his collection of Southern work, and in two and a half hours wrote his copy for the following day. It is essentially what appears here, with a few additions.

Hunter Thompson, with a fresh glass of Wild Turkey, didn’t see the Terry Southern question coming. It was 1972. He’d just faxed off another story about fear and loathing on the campaign trail, this one featuring a bellboy beating a snake to death with a vacuum cleaner.

“Have you ever read a book called The Magic Christian?” I asked.

Thompson flinched. His face, normally smooth as the leather on a blackjack, wrinkled into a stare, as if he were about to ask me: “Are you one of … US? One of those who … KNOWS?”

I knew.

“Yes,” he shouted. “Yes! My God! It was an incredible …