Book Review: “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” by Hunter S. Thompson

“Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” by Hunter S. Thompson is book 12 of 2023.

I’ve always been curious about this book since my emo teen years. Avenged Sevenfold’s “Bat Country” begins with a specific quote. “He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man.” That led me to discover Thompson’s use at the beginning of his 1971 Gonzo novel.

The book begins with Thompson—under the name Raoul Duke—and his attorney setting out for Las Vegas. They have a rented car, which they’ve stuffed full of every drug under the sun, and a job to cover the Mint 400 race. Along the way, they get into various escapades, and the task changes to infiltration. Finally, hundreds of cops attend a Drugs and Narcotics Conference. At what better place could two acidheads hang out? Some of the events get quite stomach-churning, but Thompson shies from nothing. He observes even the most depraved events with a keen, drugged-up eye.

I wouldn’t say there’s a story to “Fear and Loathing”, but each chapter focuses on its mini turmoil. The book focuses a hilarious lens on the American Dream and the sixties hippie movement. Despite the looseness of the plot—if one can call it such—”Fear and Loathing” is very readable. I tore through it in a few days. I’m unsure what I’ve read now that I’ve finished it. But I had a blast with it.

The review on the back cover was correct; Thompson is brilliant and outrageous.

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