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Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Other American Stories [Hardcover]

Hunter S. Thompson
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)

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Hardcover, Nov. 26 1996 --  
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Book Description

Nov. 26 1996 Modern Library
First published in Rolling Stone magazine in 1971, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is Hunter S. Thompson's savagely comic account of what happened to this country in the 1960s. It is told through the writer's account of an assignment he undertook with his attorney to visit Las Vegas and "check it out." The book stands as the final word on the highs and lows of that decade, one of the defining works of our time, and a stylistic and
journalistic tour de force. As Christopher Lehmann-Haupt wrote in The New York Times, it has "a kind of mad, corrosive prose poetry that picks up where Norman Mailer's An American Dream left off and explores what Tom Wolfe left out."
   This twenty-fifth-anniversary Modern Library edition features Ralph Steadman's original drawings and three companion pieces selected by Dr. Thompson: "Jacket Copy for Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," "Strange Rumblings in Aztlan," and "The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved."
The Modern Library has played a significant role in American cultural life for the better part of a century. The series was founded in 1917 by the publishers Boni and Liveright and eight years later acquired by Bennett Cerf and Donald Klopfer. It provided the foun-dation for their next publishing venture, Random House. The Modern Library has been a staple of the American book trade, providing readers with affordable hard-bound editions of important works of liter-ature and thought. For the Modern Library's seventy-fifth anniversary, Random House redesigned the series, restoring as its emblem the running torchbearer created by Lucian Bernhard in 1925 and refurbishing jackets, bindings, and type, as well as inau-gurating a new program of selecting titles. The Modern Library continues to provide the world's best books, at the best prices.

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Dr. Thompson made the list of inspirational scribes when I polled in a recent writing workshop, and why not? Back in a spiffy Modern Library edition, replete with additional essays, I find in this iconographic work that HST both invoked--and provoked--an era that was not so much the '60s proper, but rather the mean, shadow-filled death of that time, which is still playing out. Thank God Thompson was there to explode the myth of "objective" journalism and help pave the way for the pens and voices that followed.

About the Author

Hunter S. Thompson (July 18, 1937 — February 20, 2005) was an American journalist and author. He was known for his flamboyant writing style, most notably deployed in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which blurred the distinctions between writer and subject, fiction and nonfiction.

The best source on Thompson's writing style and personality is Thompson himself. His books include Hell's Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga (1966), Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream (1972), Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72 (1973); The Great Shark Hunt: Strange Tales from a Strange Time (1979); The Curse of Lono (1983); Generation of Swine, Gonzo Papers Vol. 2: Tales of Shame and Degradation in the 80's (1988); and Songs of the Doomed (1990).

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars A Very Interesting Book Nov. 10 2003
A Very Interesting Book
Have you ever heard someone declare that they were living the American dream? This is perceived to be a laid back life where everything goes your way. During the reading of Fear and Loathing, Thompson proclaims to be living it, or maybe it was the drugs that made him escape from reality on the short journey to sin-city. Thompson's documented escapade to Las Vegas may leave D.A.R.E. founders rethinking their motto. The story consists of Hunter Thompson with his Samoan attorney in a fresh and clean convertible dubbed the "Great Red Shark," on their way to Las Vegas to cover a story. In their 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 amyl's," which they manage to consume during their short tour. That shows how crazy these two individuals must be. And get this; it is all a true story. The book was made from notes he had taken and recorded in a small recorder during his extraordinary adventure in sin-city.
The book was probably the most intriguing book that I have ever read. Throughout the whole
Literature he describes every moment in perfect detail. There never seemed to be a dull moment. Most scenes are centered round paranoia and sudation and at times hallucinations from all of the drugs they consumed while on their journey. I also enjoyed the book because through every escapade it felt like I was right there with him. I found myself looking forward to reading it; usually I don't enjoy reading.
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By no
This book (I can tell you from experience) is a very real account of what goes on in the life of a SMART full blown drug addict. I say smart because Hunter S. Thompson is an intelligent guy who knows enough to analyze what happens to himself when takes such drugs as mescaline and acid. He is able to put it down on paper and give you the stunning reality in such a way that you can feel Dr. Gonzo wave that knife in your face in a drug crazed frenzy. Some will say that the story is embellished, and they are just saying that because they have never lived life the same way as Thompson has. Nobody can describe in such grave detail the world of drug abuse without having done it. There is also a plot that lies in the story that others never saw. A plot that has nothing to do with drugs. This plot is about the greed that lies within the people of america today. If your not going to be too horrified by the drug abuse to see this grim reality that the book portrays, then you will see what I am talking about. The book is also about psychology and analyzes the mind and the way that people think, but says it in such a way as to be amusing for the reader.
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4.0 out of 5 stars too much Aug. 19 2003
I wanted to rate this book lower than "4" but I realized that the writing was good and, for its' genre, it's somewhat of a classic. However, It really got old fast trying to figure out why I was still reading about an out of control, hedonistic, "journalist". I realize that there was an element of exageration in all this drunken rampage(at least I THINK there was). However, for what purpose? I have a respect for the writer that comes from enjoying his "Hells Angels" and "The Great Shark Hunt". There were certainly some wild parts in there as well but it was mixed with some really insightful (or is it inciteful) journalism. I have a feeling that Thompson saw his excesses as his success and was playing to his own audience in "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas". In that sense he too became an establishment figure. I just can't get excited about all this craziness anymore. I will give his "Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail" a try, though. If the old Hunter Thompson wrote that one then it should be quite a book.
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Staring down into the ominous face of insanity and the unknown, Raoul Duke's "buy the ticket, take the ride" adventure complicates many readers, and paralyzes few. Looking for savagery, hailing the adventure of a pure journey, the tale of a journalist and his lawyer friend on a mission to find the heart of the American adventure constitutes "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: and Other American Stories." Hunter Thompson's finest work, "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," originally published in separate pieces within Rolling Stone Magazine refers to the tie-in edition with the Terry Gilliam masterpiece rendition. The savage drug frenzy rages on from page to page never slowing, and constantly flowing.
The main thesis of this wild tale arises from Hunter Thompson's own alter ego, Raoul Duke. The constant ingestion of hallucinogenic drugs, the fine line between insanity or prison time, and in search of a good story on motor-cross cops at a drug convention, the writing seems fluid with ingenious idiom and hyperbole. The story nears completion as Raoul Duke's lawyer joins in on the action and uses his attained power and skills, turning Las Vegas upside down.
Whether the anecdote proceeds to defile itself through Raoul Duke's lack of respect for authority by checking into a hotel under false name, beating up the rental car to the point of "totaled," the subsequent firestorm from interactions with hitchhikers and minors, and the general debauchery of theft, harassment, and lack of respect for authority is pure beauty. Only Hunter Thompson, only a certain individual, only one of God's own children.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Not yet. I want to study its habits...
Excellent book. Hunter Thompsons eccentric & paranoid mindset will leave you in tears. Every page is filled with classic quotes and amazing detail.
Published on Oct. 4 2010 by Cable
5.0 out of 5 stars This book made me get into reading; I picked it up because
of the simple fact that it involved drug abuse and that was something that excited me very much at that time (that was sophomore year in high school, I'm a senior now) but I... Read more
Published on July 11 2004 by "moksha69"
5.0 out of 5 stars Gonzo to the max
Though I wasn't around for its inital debut, I am still aware of the impact Fear and Loathing has had on anyone who cared to listen. Read more
Published on Feb. 19 2004 by jackthetripper
4.0 out of 5 stars Wild...
Very wild and crazy book. Very funny and yet very sick, it is sad how a someone can inflict so much horror to oneself, that is what makes it worth reading. Read more
Published on Jan. 29 2004 by yessca
1.0 out of 5 stars pooh
this novel is one of thosee drugged-out journeys full of angst and halucination. someone told me that i missed the deeper meaning about the journey but i don't know. Read more
Published on Aug. 19 2003 by Jared M. Thomasson
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant set.
Criterion has cranked out another winner. The Depp interviews are captivating and seeing Hunter Himself is worth the price of admission alone. Read more
Published on May 3 2003 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible story of the search for the American Dream
Thompson possesses a magical way with words, and his writing style is a pure pleasure to read. Incredibly funny and surprisingly poetic and insightful; Hunter waxes on elegantly,... Read more
Published on Jan. 12 2003 by "stridemachine"
5.0 out of 5 stars Tripping
Fear and loathing is a wild road trip to and from and then to Las Vegas again. It is an excellent introduction to the writings of Hunter S. Read more
Published on June 15 2002 by Jack
1.0 out of 5 stars Where do these people come from?
What a terrible book! Blathering liberal nonsense. Don't waste your time on this garbage. I would not dignify it by burning it.
Published on June 7 2002
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