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Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream Paperback – May 12 1998
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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
From the Inside Flap
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is the best chronicle of drug-soaked, addle-brained, rollicking good times ever committed to the printed page. It is also the tale of a long weekend road trip that has gone down in the annals of American pop culture as one of the strangest journeys ever undertaken.
Now this cult classic of gonzo journalism is a major motion picture from Universal, directed by Terry Gilliam and starring Johnny Depp and Benicio del Toro. Opens everywhere on May 22, 1998.
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Fear and Loathing is a cultural artifact, an attempt to tell things as they were in the early 70s, to be totally realistic about the journalistic process, in a true post-modern manner (that is, not separating the teller from the tale). Unfortunately--or fortunately, depending on your viewpoint--it's tough to be totally realistic when you're always strung out on: (take your pick) cocaine, alcohol, methamphetamines, ether, LSD, and numerous other mind-altering substances. As a reader, you find the constant drug taking a little tiring after awhile, not in a bored sense, but in a sense of amazement at how anyone could punish their body so.
And the reader is punished somewhat here as well, although when Thompson is funny--as when he and his attorney convince a podunk lawman from Atlanta that drugs are out (crime wise) in L.A., and that the real problem now is satanic rituals--he's found a style and medium that emphasizes and broadens the humor. And I can't say that I didn't like that style--I went out and bought The Great Shark Hunt after finishing this.
Sure some of this stuff is dated. It's 30 years old, for crying out loud. But it resonants because it is the real deal, a thrill ride that rivets you to the page as you fumble around for your next beer unwilling to break your gaze from the account of mayhem unleashed on Las Vegas.
Get the original cover if you can. This cover, meant to tie in with the movie, is not worthy.
Then I went into my house and read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. I laughed and laughed until I cried, and then I made some Jello and accidentaly spilled some on my shirt!
He is heading to Las Vegas to cover the "Mint 400", a motorbike race where there is more desert dust than media story. Armed with a boot-full of drugs and his aggressive, slightly crazed Samoan lawyer Dr Gonzo, they rocket across the highway in their "great red shark" convertible in search of the fabled American Dream.
Thompson's graphically acurate descriptions of their drug binge across the buzzing lights and sounds of Vegas are truly remarkable and funny. He pokes fun at what is deemed the dream as they fraud their way through two 5* hotels and encounter many other fun and perilous adventures on the way. My favourite parts (the whole book is full of them) are when they pick up the hitchhiker, the bath scene with "White Rabbit" (a Jefferson Airplane song), the police anti-drug rally and the scene before entering and inside the Circus Circus casino.
A truly wacked out and crazy adventure story through the eyes of an original hippie tripper, whose analysis and derision of things around him is delivered in a fun and insightful manner. A thoroughly enjoyable read; laugh along at this audacious adventure. If you have seen the movie, you will enjoy the book; if you have read the book you will enjoy the movie. A mirror of each other...a total classic!
Even though this book was hard to follow at times, I really liked this book because of the eccentric humor in it. From the start of the novel it's funny to read how the characters hallucinate, for example, when Duke was on the highway heading for Las Vegas he thinks he see bats and he starts swinging at them but he is really swinging at nothing. Also in the beginning of this story they pick up a hitchhiker and tell him some crazy story about why they are going to Vegas. It was funny because they scare him so badly that he jumped out of the car and ran away in a panic.
I also like this novel because of the fact that nothing in the book is ever accomplished by the two characters. Even so you will never get bored of this book. They never finishing covering the Mint 500, the whole purpose for going to Las Vegas. Neither do they finish covering another story on drugs but because of the crazy incidents they go through because of their over indulgence of drugs its makes the story very interesting.
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