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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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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
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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.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
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I'm not sure if anything can be "learned" from such a book or if could be called an intellectually enriching experience, but it's certainly a culturally enriching one, and a sturdy landmark of American journalism that's unlikely to lose it's relevance -- or it's appeal -- anytime soon.
“Did you see the guy running after George Forman with a tennis racket?” said Hunter S. Thompson to George Plimpton, who was in the Hotel Inter-Continental in Zaire, Africa for the Ali vs Foreman fight. Plimpton writes in Shadow Boxer, “When I scanned to see, the lobby was jammed.” His account of this conversation was not bizarre, but business to Hunter S. Thompson, who was in rare form as a participatory, i.e. a “Gonzo” journalist.
Your conscious, in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, is in the form of the hitchhiker. Metaphorically speaking, without mescaline that is, a choice is made when the reader decides to become induced by Thompson’s story, and vicariously stay in the “Red Shark” on its way to Las Vegas…leaving behind all fears in the desert.
In search of the American Dream of the 1960’s, Hunter S. Thompson pulls up the carpet of current events in 1971, to find the ideals of a generation now challenged, if not trying to be controlled; he finds a contraband of contradictions.
The reality of the time, fictionalized in Hunter S. Thompson’s method, is greatly exposed. This is what makes the novel from his perspective so powerful. The Beat Generation, Kerouac, et al., also have documented their journals into fictional novels. Thus, Thompson’s involvement in every exercise of his work is for the reader’s vicarious justice.
Oscar Zeta Acosta: Dr. Gonzo, also known as the “300 pound Samoan attorney” was a real life attorney. He was a lawyer, activist, and author of two books: Revolt of the Cockroach People and Autobiography of a Brown Buffalo.
Ralph Steadman: As an artist and illustrator, his art work is prominent in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Steadman's contributions are a fantastic compliment to Thompson’s “Gonzo” journalism.
Hunter S. Thompson’s other notable books: Hell’s Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga and Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail. Also, he wrote for Rolling Stone magazine and various publications. His reporting style for Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, a combination of comprehensive and, at times, a perfunctory placing of coverage, entails Thompson’s lengthy translation of humanity in the United States of American, year 1971.
He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man—Dr
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