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

4.5 out of 5 stars 217 customer reviews

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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 (217 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,840 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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 alternate Paperback edition.

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

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book because of a recommendation. The writing is very good, and it gives you a window into a different time and culture. It's definitely an impressive piece of journalism and historically very important. My own reading preference is for books I can read on my commute to work, that take me into a different world and provide a pleasant experience while teaching me a new perspective. This book definitely takes you into a different world and a different perspective, but I also found it to a rough and depressing read. The reality in the book is a mix between disillusionment, self-destruction, and a hopelessness that made me feel a bit empty on the inside. It's definitely a great book, and I think I would enjoy it in a different context but I personally found it unpleasant to read. I'm not a prude or have an issue with the drugs and violence described. It has its funny moments also but I didn't enjoy it overall.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Thompson, Hunter S. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Fear and Loathing is basically a rant against the Establishment. It has its roots in journalism and is the prime example of what Thompson dubbed ‘Gonzo’ or cartoon journalism. Here one finds the truth of one man’s search for the American Dream, but the book is more an attempt to expose the corruption at the heart of American society. The author does this through huge black banner headlines from the daily press, Steadman’s grotesque caricatures of angry, fat, snarling human beasts and a writing style that is deliberately non-literary.

It is a book that will mainly appeal to the adolescent and the disaffected. Thompson and his ‘attorney’ are on the road to Las Vegas, the drug capital of a drug-infested United States, driving a super-charged rented Red Shark, crammed with Class A drugs. Both are stoned from the start and remain that way throughout. Vegas is a pleasure city, where everything goes bang, but especially girls and guns. It’s the mid-Sixties and the enemy are the police, who are everywhere, threatening, intimidating and brutal under a veneer of care - but infinitely bribable. The search for The Dream is never-ending and pointless.

Where Henry Miller explored not only Europe but philosophy and literature, Thompson remains on American soil, a cynical joker, celebrating not sex but crime at the heart of a society, from which he himself, benefits and in which he glories. ‘In a world of thieves’, he tells us, ‘the only final sin is stupidity.’
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By A Customer on 28 Aug. 2004
Format: Paperback
There aren't many books that can make me laugh out loud. But this one did. In fact, there were times when I was laughing so hard I couldn't focus my eyes on the page to read. I'd have to stop reading just to compose myself enough to go on. Wild only begins to describe the adventures of Thompson and his lawyer. In all fairness, I should warn you that drinking large amounts of liquor and taking illegal drugs play a big part in the story. If drugs and drug culture easily offend you you may want to pass on this book. My feeling is this: I do not condone drug use but this novel does reflect a period in America's recent past, it is a modern classic, and it's so darned funny that it you really should read it. The story follows Thompson and his lawyer as they search for the real America. On the way, Thompson gets an assignment to cover a motorcycle race in Las Vegas. Armed with a red convertible and enough drugs to kill a VERY large animal, they set off for Vegas. The story is a mixture of reality, drug induced hallucinations, and some fuzzy experiences that are both reality and drug clouded. It's just a flat-out, fun, hilarious romp -- a joy ride of a novel. Don't miss out! Another offbeat novel that I came across recently and enjoyed was THE LOSERS CLUB by Richard Perez.
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