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Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dreamby Hunter S. Thompson
Synopses & Reviews
When Bennett Cerf and Donald Klopfer bought the Modern Library in 1925, its mission was ? and still is ? to provide attractive, hardcover editions of important works of literature and thought to serious readers on a budget. The Modern Library became the foundation on which Cerf built Random House and, in time, the largest and most diverse publishing empire in the country. It's hard to believe, though, that Cerf could have imagined his beloved Modern Library one day including in its list of "important works of literature" a book such as Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Who could have? When Thompson's masterpiece was first published in Rolling Stone in 1971, it took literally everyone by surprise. Thompson's deranged tour of the more psychotic corners of the American psyche was so original it marked the beginning of a new literary genre. According to Thompson, "gonzo journalism" is "a style of 'reporting' based on William Faulkner's idea that the best fiction is far more true than any kind of journalism..." Coming from a journalist, this sounds suspiciously like a ready-made excuse for not doing your job. And, in fact, Fear and Loathing recounts a failed journalistic assignment. Thompson accepted an assignment by a sports magazine to cover a motorcycle race in Las Vegas. Of course, it's difficult to concentrate on the "Mint 400" when your weekend's supply of drugs includes:
And during the course of their brief trip to Vegas, Thompson and his Samoan lawyer sidekick manage to ingest the lot. Not surprisingly, they spend the weekend by turns manic, depressed, incoherent, paranoid, and completely out of their minds. Nonetheless, though Thompson couldn't see in front of his car for the hallucinatory bats flying in his hair, his vision had never been clearer. He may not have fulfilled his contract, but he did get his story. Today, this picaresque romp through hell is widely acknowledged the greatest literary portrait of the sixties drug culture and one of the most terrifying — and hilarious — visions of the state of the American union ever written. Bennett Cerf may never have personally included such a book in his Modern Library list, but he would most certainly have approved.
This twenty-fifth-anniversary edition features Ralph Steadman's original drawings and three companion pieces selected by the author: "Jacket Copy for Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," "Strange Rumblings in Aztlan," and "The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved." Farley, Powells.com
First published in Rolling Stone magazine in 1971, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is Hunter S. Thompson's savagely comic account of what happened to this country in the 1960s. It is told through the writers account of an assignment he undertook with his attorney to visit Las Vegas and "check it out." The book stands as the final word on the highs and lows of that decade, one of the defining works of our time, and a stylistic and journalistic tour de force. As Christopher Lehmann-Haupt wrote in The New York Times, it has "a kind of mad, corrosive prose poetry that picks up where Norman Mailers An American Dream left off and explores what Tom Wolfe left out."
This twenty-fifth-anniversary Modern Library edition features Ralph Steadmans original drawings and three companion pieces selected by Dr. Thompson: "Jacket Copy for Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," "Strange Rumblings in Aztlan," and "The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved."
The Modern Library has played a significant role in American cultural life for the better part of a century. The series was founded in 1917 by the publishers Boni and Liveright and eight years later acquired by Bennett Cerf and Donald Klopfer. It provided the foundation for their next publishing venture, Random House. The Modern Library has been a staple of the American book trade, providing readers with affordable hard-bound editions of important works of literature and thought. For the Modern Librarys seventy-fifth anniversary, Random House redesigned the series, restoring as its emblem the running torchbearer created by Lucian Bernhard in 1925 and refurbishing jackets, bindings, and type, as well as inau-gurating a new program of selecting titles. The Modern Library continues to provide the world's best books, at the best prices.
"...a kind of mad, corrosive prose poetry that picks up where Norman Mailer's An American Dream left off and explores what Tom Wolfe left out." Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, The New York Times
"Among journalists I have but one hero, and that is Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. I honor him because he reports the simple facts, in plain language, of what he sees around him. His style is mistaken for fantastic, drug-crazed exaggeration, but that was to be expected. As always in this country, they only laugh at you when you tell the truth. Dr. Thompson's problem is how to equal, without merely imitating, the scholarly precision of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. He is really much more than a journalist. Not a journalist at all, but one who sees ? a seer." Edward Abbey
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