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Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas - Harper Perennial Modern Classics Paperback – Illustrated, 4 Apr 2005

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; New Ed edition (4 April 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007204493
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007204496
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (185 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,262 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

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. (US anti-drugs organisation) 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 boot, they hide "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 multicoloured uppers, downers, screamers, laughers ... A quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of Budweiser [and] a pint of raw ether" 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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

‘There are only two adjectives writers care about…”brilliant” and “outrageous”. Hunter Thompson has a freehold on both of them. “Fear and Loathing” is a scorching epochal sensation.’ Tom Wolfe

‘What goes on in these pages makes Lenny Bruce seem angelic…the whole book boils down to a mad, corrosive prose poetry that picks up where Norman Mailer’s “An American Dream” left off and explores what Tom Wolfe left out.’ New York Times


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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Paul Cushion on 18 Jan. 2010
Format: Paperback
I actually bought this copy for a freind to give as the 'Secret Santa' at work! I have had my own copy for years. Well, what can I say? On the surface, a madcap and very funny adventure for two good ol' boys but beneath, an accurate and insightful commentary on post 1960's America. Thompson captures the spirit of the age perfectly, with of course, the viewpoint of the counterculture. In my opinion, this is HST at his very best; making the incredible, seem credible and even though he describes the craziest of behaviour you cannot fail to take this man very seriously. HST is quite prophetic in his thoughts about where America is going during the 1970's and beyond. The book does tail off mid way through, but picks up again quickly.

The only part of the book that I don't like, is where HST describes his attorney abusing and intimidating a lady who works in a diner on the outskirts of 'Vegas. In my opinion, it was unneccesary and tarnishes the great respect and admiration that I had for both charachters up until that point. Whilst parts of the story are in fact geuinely true, I like to think that this part is fiction as I would hate to think that HST would do nothing in such a circumstance, even whilst high or drunk.

On first reading this book, back in the 1990's, I remember laughing out loud even in public, upon the turn of almost every other page and conversely, I often felt quite sad for HST as he reflects upon the promises and hopes of the 1960's, which by that time were dashed. This is the kind of book that you can keep and cherish forever and I often find myself picking it up and just reading a few paragraphs or pages for inspiration. If you have only enough credit or cash to buy just one book today, buy this.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Richard Shillam on 27 Jun. 2014
Format: Paperback
Drugs, eh? They've done their share of harm I suppose, but, like alcohol, seem intrinsically linked to the world of art. Certainly the sort I like, anyhow. And they don't necessarily have to be on about booze or whatever all the time, a la Bukowski, take Beckett for example. Where would F. Scott Fitzgerald have been without a drink or two? Lou Reed without heroin? And I don't believe for a second that the drug, whatever it is, is actually the catalyst for such people, just that they are of a certain sensibility, sensitivity, even, which requires an anaesthetic of some sort. After all, there are a good many more alcoholics and drug addicts who never made anything but a mess. And a very strange man with a rude shape drawn on his forehead staring through my living room window right now.

What I don't get is how Hunter S. could possibly have taken as much stuff as he claims to have and still remember the events detailed herein. Either he had a superhuman capacity or embroidered somewhat (and just picture him actually embroidering!). But then his work isn't so much merely about 'look how much drugs I took' in the fashion of some rock star hagiography, as a challenge to the Great American Way of Life and the 'value' system it espouses, Las Vegas in all its capitalist monstrousness being the epitome of such, style over content and money over everything. Hell on earth in the middle of the desert, further, a man made desert that nature in all it's raw screaming terror could never have conjured. The most disgusting place known to man and in went Hunter S. and they had the nerve to be shocked. He was the one overdoing things, behaving badly. We will rape and kill and crush and steal and lie but should you dare to speak out of turn and by god but you'll pay.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful By M. A. Birch on 20 Jan. 2006
Format: Paperback
By far the most intelligent and funny book I've ever read. But it's so much more than that, it captures the polarization of cultures in america at the end of the sixties and many of the observations still ring true today. A brilliant satire, the drawings by Ralph Steadman complement the text wonderfully well.
My favourite quote: 'at one point I tried to drive the Great Red Shark into the laundry room of the Landmark Hotel - but the door was too narrow, and the people inside seemed dangerously excited'.
Genius.
RIP Hunter.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Anoosh Falak Rafat on 19 Mar. 2013
Format: Paperback
An amazingly odd book. The story is more like a list of drugs it's like a diary of two of the worst kind of drug addicts, its drugs, guns and dumb `fun', all rolled up in a car. The social commentary underlying all of this though is a stroke of genius, with the idea of an `American Dream' turning out to be a case of sheer dumb luck and aside from that it isn't even worth pursuing anyway.

The book gave me a strong feeling of `A Clockwork Orange' in the casual way in which the truly unsavoury acts are carried out. A detached feeling that what is quite shocking and abnormal in reality becomes completely normal in the frequency and off hand casual remarks made in the book. The way the book ends also mirrors `A Clockwork Orange' though in a more subtle way.

Well worth a read, oh and play Motorhead in the background to add to the atmosphere.
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By Sam Quixote TOP 500 REVIEWER on 30 Jan. 2015
Format: Paperback
“We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold.”

is one of my favourite opening lines in literature. Two paragraphs later are the equally brilliant lines:

“I hit the brakes and aimed the Great Red Shark toward the shoulder of the highway. No point mentioning those bats, I thought. The poor bastard will see them soon enough.”

That whole opening narration sets the tone of chaos and comedy told in a perfect deadpan that defines this book.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream is a modern classic of American literature and is the cause for untold numbers of irresponsible Vegas road trips.

Published in 1971, it tells the semi-true story of when Hunter S Thompson and Oscar Acosta (renamed here as Raoul Duke and Dr Gonzo) went on a drug-fuelled road trip from LA to Vegas where Thompson was commissioned by Sports Illustrated to do a write-up on the Mint 400 motorcycle race in the desert.

The drugs they consume - marijuana, mescaline, all kinds of pills, cocaine, opiates, LSD, ether, and adrenochrome - lead to whacky adventures and surreal hallucinations as the pair barrel through a plotless non-story where they also cover a drug convention full of cops and go in search of The American Dream - or its corpse. Our anti-heroes learn nothing and have no character arcs - and it’s perfect!

I read Fear and Loathing some fifteen years ago when I was a teenager and remember devouring it in one go, laughing the whole time - it instantly became one of my favourite books. Years later, I’m glad to say it still holds up. I wouldn’t say it’s as intoxicating still, but it remains a terrific book and really funny to boot.
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