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Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S.…
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Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1971)

by Hunter S. Thompson

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
10,244120281 (4.11)246
  1. 90
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Showing 1-5 of 116 (next | show all)
Journalist, Raoul Duke heads to Las Vegas with his attorney Dr Gonzo in order to cover the Mint 400 motorcycle race. After experimenting with some recreational drugs, LSD, ether, cocaine, cannabis and alcohol, their assignment was quickly abandoned. What follows is a series of hallucinogenic trips that end in disaster from trashed hotel rooms, car wrecks and much more. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream is a roman à clef, with autobiographical elements in which Hunter S. Thompson writes a retrospective of the 1960s countercultural movement.

Hunter S. Thompson was a journalist, but he was best known for his novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. While working in Journalism he coined the term Gonzo journalism which is a writing style he adopted for his first person narratives. The style is a combination of fact and fiction that allows Thompson a more personal approach to his articles. Combining elements of sarcasm, humour, exaggeration and profanity it allowed a first person look into social criticism. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was a result of Gonzo journalism and was originally published as a two part series in Rolling Stone magazine in 1971.

When thinking about the life of Hunter S. Thompson, I find it hard to imagine him as someone who critiques the 1960s counterculture. I think of him saying things like “I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they’ve always worked for me.” Thompson has often stated that this novel was an exploration into the death of the American Dream but his views on counterculture are so fascinating. Drawing inspiration from his two favourite novels The Great Gatsby and On The Road, Thompson combines ideas of travelogue and the American Dream and goes on to show the reason why drug use was not the answer to social problems.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is a pretty confronting novel; the descriptions of drug-induced hazes and lurid hallucinogenic trips are very vivid and confronting. I am pretty sure I have read this book in the past but I had not marked it as read on Goodreads, LibraryThing or even the spreadsheet I keep. However going into the novel everything felt so familiar and I cannot tell if it was due to the movie adaptation or if I have actually read the book before.

The experience of reading Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is enhanced by the illustrations done by Ralph Steadman. My edition of the book stated in the introduction that Hunter S. Thompson requested the art to be done by Steadman because he believed this illustrator really understood the concept of Gonzo journalism. The novel is an interesting book and well worth exploring, and I was interested to see the satirical side and surprised at the way Thompson criticised his own lifestyle in this autobiographical novel.

This review originally appeared on my blog; http://literary-exploration.com/2015/03/30/fear-and-loathing-in-las-vegas-by-hun... ( )
1 vote knowledge_lost | Mar 30, 2015 |
Don't know what to rate the book because I don't remember anything about it--but Ralph Steadman's drawings are EPIC ( )
  unclebob53703 | Jan 25, 2015 |
An interesting thing happened on the re-read of this book (30+ years after I read it first and loved it completely.) I couldn't stop laughing for the first 100 pages, and then it just got old. I guess my threshold for drug fueled quests has lowered over the years. There is still brilliance in this, and it is a historical document not to be missed, but I am glad I first read it when I was young enough to fully enjoy it. ( )
  Narshkite | Dec 23, 2014 |
I didn't know what to expect when reading this. I was aware of it's popularity and the fame of the author. I haven't seen the movie yet either so I considered myself pretty much unbiased. Overall I enjoyed the novel and thought the story was very entertaining. It was a quick read and I didn't learn much except for the Mint 400 race which I had never heard of before. Overall very entertaining and reminded me of similarities with The Wolf of Wall Street for some reason. ( )
  briandarvell | Oct 10, 2014 |
It was somewhat funny but not really my style. ( )
  Gonzalo8046 | Sep 29, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 116 (next | show all)
"Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" is a number of things, most of them elusive on first reading and illusory thereafter. A solid second act by the author of "Hell's Angels," it is an apposite gloss on the more history-laden rock lyrics ("to live outside the law you must be honest")
 
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Epigraph
"He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man." -- Dr. Johnson
Dedication
To Bob Geiger, for reasons that need not be explained here -- and to Bob Dylan, for Mister Tambourine Man
First words
We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold. I remember saying something like 'I feel a bit lightheaded; maybe you should drive . . .' And suddenly there was a terrible roar all around us and the sky was full of what looked like huge bats, all swooping and screeching and diving around the car, which was going about a hundred miles an hour with the top down to Las Vegas. And a voice was screaming, 'Holy Jesus! What are these goddamn animals?'
Quotations
What were we doing out here? What was the meaning of this trip? Did I actually have a big red convertible out there on the street? was I just roaming around these Mint Hotel escalators in a drug frenzy of some kind, or had I really come out here to Las Vegas to work on a story?
All those pathetically eager acid freaks who thought they could buy Peace and Understanding for three bucks a hit. But their loss and failure is ours, too. What Leary took down with him was the central illusion of a whole life-style that he helped to create...a generation of permanent cripples, failed seekers, who never understood the essential old mystic fallacy of the Acid Culture: the desperate assumption that somebody-or at least some force-is tending the Light at the end of the tunnel.
Buy the ticket take the Ride
Every now and then when your life gets complicated and the weasels start closing in, the only cure is to load up on heinous chemicals and then drive like a bastard from Hollywood to Las Vegas ... with the music at top volume and at least a pint of ether.
You can always turn your back on a person, but you can never turn your back on a drug... especially when it's waving a hunting knife in your eyes.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
I think it should be clasified in american literature maybe 813.73, near salinger or kesey 
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Book description
The basic synopsis revolves around journalist Raoul Duke and his attorney, Dr. Gonzo, as they arrive in 70's Las Vegas to report on the Mint 400 motorcycle race. However, they soon abandon their work and begin experimenting with a variety of recreational drugs, such as LSD, cocaine, mescaline, and cannabis. This leads to a series of bizarre hallucinogenic trips, during which they destroy hotel rooms, wreck cars, and have visions of anthropomorphic desert animals, all the while ruminating on the decline of American culture.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679785892, Paperback)

Heralded as the "best book on the dope decade" by the New York Times Book Review, Hunter S. Thompson's documented drug orgy through Las Vegas would no doubt leave Nancy Reagan blushing and D.A.R.E. founders rethinking their motto. Under the pseudonym of Raoul Duke, Thompson travels with his Samoan attorney, Dr. Gonzo, in a souped-up convertible dubbed the "Great Red Shark." In its trunk, they stow "two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half-full of cocaine and a whole galaxy of multicolored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers.... A quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of Budweiser, a pint of raw ether and two dozen amyls," which they manage to consume during their short tour.

On assignment from a sports magazine to cover "the fabulous Mint 400"--a free-for-all biker's race in the heart of the Nevada desert--the drug-a-delic duo stumbles through Vegas in hallucinatory hopes of finding the American dream (two truck-stop waitresses tell them it's nearby, but can't remember if it's on the right or the left). They of course never get the story, but they do commit the only sins in Vegas: "burning the locals, abusing the tourists, terrifying the help." For Thompson to remember and pen his experiences with such clarity and wit is nothing short of a miracle; an impressive feat no matter how one feels about the subject matter. A first-rate sensibility twinger, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is a pop-culture classic, an icon of an era past, and a nugget of pure comedic genius. --Rebekah Warren

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:01:30 -0400)

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Records the experiences of a free-lance writer who embarked on a zany journey into the drug culture.

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