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Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream

4.5 284
by Hunter S. Thompson

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This cult classic of gonzo journalism 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  a major motion picture from


This cult classic of gonzo journalism 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  a major motion picture from Universal, directed by Terry Gilliam and starring Johnny Depp and Benicio del Toro.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
When Sports Illustrated commissioned Thompson to write a short article on the Mint 400 motorcycle race in Las Vegas, the editors had no idea what they were setting in motion. This book is the defining moment in Thompson's "gonzo journalism" style of writing. He took this style to the limit with this work, barely covering the race and instead writing a series of weird vignettes, paranoid frenzies, and brilliant political prose. If you lived through the turmoil of the Sixties or want to experience the "high and beautiful wave" and see where it broke and gave way to a generation of swine and the songs of the doomed, this is the place to start. Thompson was always a political barometer-he was the voice of truth shouting about the corrupt system. That voice, now stilled by death, is sorely missed. Ron McLarty, though not the frenzied, manic voice one would expect to hear, does an excellent job of navigating Las Vegas. Highly recommended for all libraries.-Theresa Connors, Arkansas Tech Univ., Russellville Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Crawford Woods
"We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold." The hold deepens for two days, and the language keeps pace for 200 pages, in what is by far the funniest book written on the decade of dope gone by. Books of the Century, The New York Times review July, 1972

Product Details

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
2nd Vintage Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.26(w) x 11.28(h) x 0.60(d)

Meet 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).

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
July 18, 1937
Date of Death:
February 20, 2005
Place of Birth:
Louisville, Kentucky
Place of Death:
Woody Creek, Colorado
U.S. Air Force, honorably discharged in 1957

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Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 284 reviews.
Billy0 More than 1 year ago
One book that contains everything about freedom and chasing a dream metaphorically. Fear and loathing in las vegas contains excitement, extreme drug use, and a baseline for the "American Dream" Not only did the plot story strongly interest the reader, but the metaphoric ending contains truth and revelation.
S_Duke More than 1 year ago
... read the book. There are parts in here that were not put on the screen, and you get to be inside the head of R Duke. What better way to spend a few hours than to dance around the streets of Vegas while tripping your *** off. And besides, who better to tell the tale than Hunter? He has a wonderful way with words, and the scenes he paints jump off the page with vibrant color. Again, read this book even if you've seen the movie. It's a better ride. Just bring some golf shoes!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the book that 'defined a generation', as many have put it. and after reading it i only wish i could have been there to experience the time Thompson is talking about. this piece of literature shows and describes everything you want to know about the dope decade in utter extravagance and is a shear testimony to the power of literature. the words are as precise and impenetrable as you could ever find and the ideas set forth provoke visions in the reader's mind that transcend anything that could be told to you by some one who was actually there. i'm not sure if i read a book or 204 pages of a man proving that you can talk about a psychedelic drug trip in a way that makes the reader feel like they are having the trip, themselves. this book dedicates itself to the idea and conviction that people can still write incredibly well and forces the reader to not only think about the time the literature is speaking of, but also their time and what they will do with it. 'Just another freak in the freak kingdom.' Thompson not only certifies this as true but also proves to the audience that he is not just a freak, but another genius in the realm of the written word and that nothing can take that reputation away from a person.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This may have been entertaining in 71, but a complete waste of money and my time reading this drivel. Thompson should of killed himself before he wrote this not after. The rantings of a lunatic at best.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Saw the movie and now the book is AMAZING
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
funny as heck. Very well written in most parts.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is short, bt very well written. The book starts off great and ends great.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas' is a must read for anyone interested in the 'other side' of journalism. HST captures his take on the 'American Dream' in both real and surreal senses of it. Full of laughs and different takes onb true events this book isn't for the close minded.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A fantastic book! Hunter S. Thompson has created a masterpiece that will go down in history as one of the best American Classics. Never before have I read anything like him. He is an original.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book is about an LSD trip common it was the seventies. If you lived the lifestyle then you know what im talkin about. I had some really good acid and nothing bad happened. I was over twenty one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The way Thompson portrays the essence of the 70's is symbollically monumental. Very good read. Would reccomend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The wildest and funniest, out of your head ride you could ever take! Gonzo at his best.
Adler_Langello More than 1 year ago
f you have a big imagination than this book is for you. Hunter S Tompson does an incredible job of painting an image in you head with the way he describes his trip to Las Vegas. In Fear and Loathing  Hunter S Tompson goes under the aliest of Raoul Duke goes to Las Vegas with his attorny Dr. Gonzo to cover the Mint 400 race but instead goes on an intensive drug freenzy and starts looking for the "American Dream". This book will keep you on your toes the entire ride that this book creates.  "The possibility of physical and mental collapse is now very real. No sympathy for the Devil, keep that in mind. Buy the ticket, take the ride."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fear and Loathing Hunter S. Thompson defines the true definition of drug induced fear and paranoia in his 204 page long “gonzo journalism” novel entitled Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. This wicked drug induced haze pushes the limits from cover to cover while solidifying  and taking Thompson’s “gonzo journalism” style of writing to a whole new level. The book itself , riddled with controversially horrific pictures,  displays the culture of the 1960s from a perspective never before seen. This novel was published after Thompson’s novel, Hell’s Angels, and did not disappoint the expecting fans. The Crawford Wood’s quote from the New York Times defines the novel as "a custom-crafted study of paranoia..” . This being one of the first positive reviews of Thompson’s novel; Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas become the benchmark in American literature it is today. The novel begins as Hunter S. Thompson, disguised as the journalist Raoul Duke, recovers from a hallucinogenic trip as he speeds towards the “American Dream” that awaits him and Dr. Gonzo, his attorney and counterpart. Raoul is assigned the task to report a famous motorcycle race, centered in Las Vegas. His path is quickly altered by his “kit” of recreational drugs that shockingly transforms the focus of the novel  into an insane ride of trips, fear, and loathing. During which they dangerously explore the “ins and outs” of 1970’s American culture. This acts as Raoul and his attorney’s attempt to free themselves from the reality and hardships of man. Thompson is purposely elusive on proclaiming the identities of the protagonists of the novel. The main character, Raoul Duke, is believed to be a disguise for Thompson, and his attorney. Dr. Gonzo, is referred to as “my attorney” throughout the novel while only revealing his name on sparing occasions. Raoul is both the main character and the narrator of many of Thompson’s books. He is depicted as a distrusting character whose daily life consists of constant intoxication and drug abuse, he portrayals Hunter Thompson’s alter-ego. However, Raoul is nothing without Dr. Gonzo, “Raoul Duke without Dr. Gonzo is unthinkable” , he serves as the ever necessary companion to Raoul. Raoul Duke and Dr. Gonzo begin their journey into “the belly of the beast” on their way to the Mint 400 motorcycle race in which they are assumed to report on the events of the race. The pair soon become deranged and vear from their intended path, illegally acquiring all their possessions and soon trashing the better of them. Their possessions include their red Convertible, hotel room, drugs and money; all conned off numerous oblivious Americans. Through the occurrence of these events the two become massively demented, and after surviving massive waves of paranoia they add to their growing list of felonies by illegally acquiring a room at the hotel known as the “Flamingo”. Procuring a new white Convertible as they attend the “National District Attorneys Association's Conference on Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs“. Pushing their demented adventures to a close, the two narrowly escape numerous accusations and Dr. Gonzo catches a flight out of Las Vegas, soon followed by Raoul Duke. When he finally arrives in Denver, he continues his daily use of drugs and alcohol when finally arriving in Denver. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas held my attention from cover to cover as the grotesque and vulgar story unfolded. The culture of the 1970s is represented perfectly as Thompson informs the reader of the political standpoints of America at the time. The average American male is flawlessly depicted , through Thompson’s imitation of the ever growing ignorance in the society at the time. Thompson’s critique of the government through the representation of the police department presents us with evidence of the many ways in which the American government and legal system is flawed. Thompson refers to police officers as “swine” several times throughout the novel and explains the flaws of “the system”  through his narrative tangents. Including a portion narrated by Raoul Duke where his neighbor is sent to jail on the basis of nothing, and how poorly he was treated. The only aspect of the novel that some may see as a flaw is the lack of a clear narrative and constant hallucinations that leaves the reader unclear as to whether what is happening is real or only imagined. Although, this applies to Thompson's style of writing and made this extraordinary stunning novel ever more enjoyable.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Such a wild tale all told as if were true, which if you know anything about Hunter S. Thompson you can believe every twisted detail. Movie was also awesome.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had heard a lot about this book and decided to finally read it. I can appreciate the author's imagination and creativity in writing this book, but I did not find it interesting. At times I kept asking myself how did they end up here now? Not for everyone.
brownsdownlow More than 1 year ago
It was a one week road trip and Thompson packed 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 multi-coloured uppers, downers, screamers, laughers and also a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of Budweiser, a pint of Rae ether and two dozen amyls. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
mgoodrich718 More than 1 year ago
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas By Hunter S. Thompson 4 Stars This was not on my to read list this month but my son wanted to watch the movie so I had to step it up. I did watch the movie directly following and found it to stay fairly true to the book. I thought I would have a difficult time getting throught this given that I had heard stream of conscienceness in reference to the book. I do not do well with those. However Ulysses this is not so I sped right through the short 200 pages. The novel unfolds in the deserts on some amazingly wild rides. Roaul Duke and his lawyer Dr. Gonzo speed throught the deserts picking up stray hitch hikers and avoiding many other, "hazards" on their trip, many self-induced. They have a cache of every major illegal drug they can get their hands on. They are in search of, "The American Dream" does it exist in these times? These times being the 1960's and beginning of 1970's. It must somewhere and they are going to find it but first, pass the ether would ya? Gonzo Journalism is a term penned by Hunter S. Thompson and is used in this novel. The melding of fiction and fact. The character Roaul Duke calls himself a doctor of journalism and his lawyer is Dr. Gonzo. Did Mr. Thompson go on a trip to cover the Mint 400 with his lawyer, yes indeed he did. Was there a drug fueled, hallucination filled, hotel room destroying good time had? Maybe, that is an argument for the ages.