Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas Summary

Hunter S. Thompson

Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas

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Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas Summary

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Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is a semi-autobiographical novel by American journalist and author Hunter S. Thompson, with illustrations by Ralph Steadman. It first appeared in Rolling Stone magazine in two parts in 1971 and was released as a novel the following year. Written roman a clef style—overlaying real incidents from Thompson’s life with fictional absurdity—it follows Thompson’s alter ego Raoul Duke and his attorney Dr. Gonzo as they arrive in Las Vegas to chase the American Dream under the influence of heavy drugs. The book explores American drug culture while musing on the failures of the 1960s counterculture movement. It is considered the first and most enduring example of what has come to be known as “gonzo” journalism, a highly subjective first-person brand of journalism that aims to entertain and persuade as much as inform. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is Thompson’s most popular book, and remains popular over 40 years later. It was adapted into a 1998 film directed by Terry Gilliam and starring Johnny Depp and Benicio del Toro.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas begins near Barstow, Nevada, about a hundred miles outside of Las Vegas. Narrator Raoul Duke and his attorney Dr. Gonzo have recently taken a lot of drugs and are starting to feel the effects. Duke is a journalist in town to cover a major motorcycle race in Vegas, the Mint 400.He has brought his friend and attorney along to enjoy the trip. They’re carrying a massive stockpile of drugs, including hallucinogens, with them. They pick up a young hitchhiker, who is soon freaked out by the two men’s drug-addled behavior and jumps out of the car. They were given $300 for trip expenses but have already blown through that and then some. They arrive at their hotel high on LSD and barely functioning. Duke is nearly unable to check in. They get a message from Lacerda, Duke’s photographer contact, who wants to meet with him to talk business. Duke gets his press pass, checks into his room, and does some more drugs with Gonzo. He decides to enter his convertible in the Mint 400 race, but decides against it due to a rude attendant. Despite being up all night, Duke and Gonzo manage to arrive on time for the start of the race. They have a beer with a correspondent for Life Magazine and enjoy watching the start of the race before the motorcycles head off road. Bored, Duke tricks some spectators in a patriotic-themed dune buggy into harassing another reporter. He then heads off to party and get high again.

Duke drives his convertible around, arguing with Gonzo over who they should see perform. They try to bluff their way into a Debbie Reynolds show for free, succeed, but soon get thrown out for causing a scene. They visit Circus-Circus, a notoriously wild hotel, high on mescaline. They become convinced Lacerda is plotting against them and plot their revenge. While Gonzo takes a shower, Duke steps out, and then comes back to find Gonzo has eaten an entire blotter of acid. Gonzo becomes agitated and violent, and Duke locks him in the bathroom while the acid wears off. He goes to sleep, and shares his first few LSD experiences with the reader in a narration. He thinks the original counterculture of the 1960s was uniquely idealistic and has now lost its way. The next morning, Duke and Gonzo get a massive bill from the hotel and realize they’re out of money. Dr. Gonzo returns to Los Angeles, while Duke tries to sneak out of the hotel. Then, he receives an offer from Rolling Stone with a huge potential payday. He has to cover a District Attorney’s conference on illegal drugs. He sneaks out of the hotel, checks into another one, and then the drugs kick in. He has a bad trip and becomes paranoid. He flees Las Vegas, nearly gets arrested for speeding, and eventually is convinced by Gonzo to return to Vegas and take the Rolling Stone assignment. Despite a brief foray into insanity where he fires a gun in the air, Duke makes it back to Vegas and picks up a Cadillac from the magazine. He checks into the Flamingo Hotel and realizes all the police in for the conference are staying there. In his room, Dr. Gonzo has already arrived and is having sex with a young woman named Lucy. Lucy is paranoid and odd, and Duke explains he gave her LSD. Realizing that she’ll be furious when she comes down, they abandon her at another hotel.

The men take adrenochrome, which provides an intense high, and attend the conference the next morning. Duke is annoyed by the conference’s inaccurate presentation on about drugs, so they leave to go to the bar. There, they lie to a Georgia officer about dope fiends committing crimes in Los Angeles. The rest of their trip is a drug-affected haze. They get into fights with tourists, do dangerous stunts in the car, take road trips to small towns, and are occasionally too high to remember what happened. After dropping Dr. Gonzo off at the airport by driving right up to the plane, Duke drives down the Las Vegas Strip and thinks about power, money, and appearances. He observes the injustices in the justice system, and about how the 1960s gave way to something ugly. He hopes that the maid won’t report what she finds in their room and is glad they convinced her they were undercover cops. He meets his friend Bruce Innes and considers buying an ape, but flees the hotel when a security guard recognizes him as Dr. Gonzo’s companion. He returns to the Flamingo, finds that his car has been wrecked, and realizes he drove it into nearby Lake Mead. He flies home, paranoid with the high wearing off, and lands in Denver. As he gets off the plane, he heckles some Marines in the airport restroom.

Hunter Stockton Thompson was an American journalist and author and is considered the founder of the gonzo journalism movement. He was known for his immersive, often dangerous journalism methods, which included going undercover with the Hell’s Angels motorcycle gang for one of his most famous pieces. In addition to his over 20 books, many of which were compilations of his writing, he wrote hundreds of articles for prominent magazines and newspapers including Rolling Stone and the New York Times.