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Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1971)

by Hunter S. Thompson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
13,186179357 (4.06)1
In Las Vegas to cover a motorcycle race, Raoul Duke (Thompson) and his attorney Dr. Gonzo (inspired by a friend of Thompson) are quickly diverted to search for the American dream. Their quest is fueled by nearly every drug imaginable and quickly becomes a surreal experience that blurs the line between reality and fantasy. But there is more to this hilarious tale than reckless behavior--for underneath the hallucinogenic facade is a stinging criticism of American greed and consumerism.… (more)
  1. 90
    Fear and Loathing in America: The Brutal Odyssey of an Outlaw Journalist by Hunter S. Thompson (Scrub)
  2. 30
    A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole (mcenroeucsb)
    mcenroeucsb: Books with Delusional/Enlightened Outcast protagonists
  3. 20
    The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe (mcenroeucsb)
  4. 10
    The Curse of Lono by Hunter S. Thompson (gonzobrarian)
    gonzobrarian: The Curse of Lono may very well be the belated sequel to Fear and Loathing in LV; an older, more refined Thompson has savage epiphany in Hawai'i.
  5. 00
    Budding Prospects by T. C. Boyle (mcenroeucsb)
  6. 00
    The African Safari Papers by Robert Sedlack (mcenroeucsb)
  7. 00
    Inferno by August Strindberg (andejons)
    andejons: Both are filled with madness, paranoia, and fiction that does a fine job of masquerading as biography.
  8. 00
    A Good Man in Africa by William Boyd (mcenroeucsb)
    mcenroeucsb: Books with Amusing Rogue protagonists
  9. 00
    Moscow Circles by Venedikt Erofeev (ljessen)
  10. 12
    Ruminations from the Garden by Don Henry Ford Jr. (infiniteletters)
  11. 13
    On the Road by Jack Kerouac (MyriadBooks)
1970s (25)
1960s (221)
Find (10)
Books (30)
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English (175)  Swedish (3)  Spanish (1)  All languages (179)
Showing 1-5 of 175 (next | show all)
Thompson writes like someone drunk and high as well as mentally out of control. It works for him. I find his writing addictive as well as exhausting to read. Nevertheless, his place in time as an historian of sorts, is assured by the physical veracity of the experience of his books. ( )
  Windyone1 | May 10, 2022 |
Buy the ticket, take the ride.

Breathless writing that never apologizes for its excessive subjects or their debauchery.

As a straight-laced geek, Hunter opened up some doors for me, so I could experience life on the 'edge' without ever having to go there myself. ( )
  TommyHousworth | Feb 5, 2022 |
Listened to the audiobook every night while Shaun slept. It's one of the best stories to fill up all those quiet moments. ( )
  ennuiprayer | Jan 14, 2022 |
I have the Modern Library edition which includes the rollicking essay "The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved." That piece demonstrates how good Gonzo journalism can be. The rest of the book is excellent as well. ( )
  stevepilsner | Jan 3, 2022 |
I remember reading about Thompson way back during my O-levels. His 'gonzo' style of writing - mixing reality and fiction together in a journalistic style - was fascinating. I was also intrigued by the movie starring Johnny Depp. It was all over Reddit, and people would constantly gush over it.

So, here I am, more than a decade later, finally checking out the book the movie's based on, and damn, what a ride it was! Initially, it felt more like a fever dream than reality, especially the events leading up to the race. The antics he and his 'attorney' get up to were hilarious and sad at the same time, mostly in the way they con their way through Las Vegas (and an assortment of characters).

The writing hit that sweet spot between being self-aware and absurd. He knows what he's talking about; he also knows what he's talking about is utterly ridiculous and nihilistic to the point Nietzsche would blush. Finding the elusive 'American Dream' is exactly that - a fading reality and a dream that was crushed much earlier. But more than that, I enjoyed his depiction of the police conference - the irony there was simply too much.

Of course, as I read more about the book (and how it came to be), I understood why and where its gonzo style comes from. Thompson himself noted that much of the drug-fuelled rampages he and his attorney go on in the book is fiction and that they were sober at the time. There are also sequences that were complete fiction (understandable) though much of the story is true or exaggerated from what actually happened.

Thompson has written a lot more since then and given fascinating interviews. Sadly, he took his own life at the age of 67, leaving behind this note: "No More Games. No More Bombs. No More Walking. No More Fun. No More Swimming. 67. That is 17 years past 50. 17 more than I needed or wanted. Boring. I am always bitchy. No Fun -- for anybody. 67. You are getting Greedy. Act your old age. Relax -- This won't hurt."

Long live Thompson. No one will replace or can even emulate you. Now, go read the damn book you filthy degenerate. ( )
  bdgamer | Sep 10, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 175 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (24 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hunter S. Thompsonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Schwaner, Tejasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Steadman, RalphIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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?
Celebrating the 25th anniversary
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.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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In Las Vegas to cover a motorcycle race, Raoul Duke (Thompson) and his attorney Dr. Gonzo (inspired by a friend of Thompson) are quickly diverted to search for the American dream. Their quest is fueled by nearly every drug imaginable and quickly becomes a surreal experience that blurs the line between reality and fantasy. But there is more to this hilarious tale than reckless behavior--for underneath the hallucinogenic facade is a stinging criticism of American greed and consumerism.

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