Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream

Hunter S. Thompson

Illustrated by Ralph Steadman

Introduced by David Mamet

Hunter S. Thompson’s acid-laced counterculture classic, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, is given the ultimate collector’s makeover in this 50th anniversary Folio Society edition featuring Ralph Steadman’s original illustrations and an exclusive introduction by David Mamet.

£49.95
£49.95
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‘The best book on the dope decade.’
  1. New York Times

 

With their rental car packed full of psychedelic drugs, Hunter S. Thompson and his attorney, the Samoan, embark on the greatest narcotics-fuelled road trip in journalistic history. Sent to cover the Mint 400 race in Las Vegas, the pair ditch the story to find the dark side of the American dream … while doped up on a heady cocktail of booze, pills and powder. As reality and fantasy are blurred beyond recognition, their chemical encounters with the city’s reprobates become increasingly weird and darkly comic. The 50th anniversary of publication is the backdrop for this collector’s edition and it is a psychedelic showcase of Thompson’s hallucinatory ‘memoir’. Every one of Ralph Steadman’s iconic and grotesquely compelling original illustrations has been carefully coloured by Neil Gower, with Steadman’s approval, while David Mamet’s exclusive new introduction completes this unique edition.

Bound in printed and blocked cloth

Set in Electra with Alternate Gothic as display

232 pages

26 full-colour illustrations integrated throughout the text,
including 5 double-page spreads

Metallic endpapers

Printed, soft-touch laminated slipcase

9½˝ x 6¼˝

‘We can't stop here, this is bat country!’

Originally published as a two-part story in Rolling Stone magazine, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was released in book form in 1972. For the first time, Ralph Steadman’s iconic magazine illustrations, plus his two Rolling Stone covers, are brought together in one edition. From the hideous, hallucinatory ‘lizard people’ to the jacked-up, doped-out, blitzed and psychotic snapshots of this drug binge, Steadman’s mesmerising and irreverent illustrations will always be synonymous with Thompson’s work. In his new and exclusive introduction for the edition, author, screenwriter and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Mamet explores the history of pseudo-biographical journalism via Twain, Hemingway and Sterne, among others. His personal anecdotes and encyclopaedic knowledge are a rollercoaster ride around the genre, the pinnacle of which, in Mamet’s opinion, is Thompson’s ‘superb book’.

‘This is not a good town for psychedelic drugs. Reality itself is too twisted.’

Just as Che Guevara posters decorated student bedrooms in the seventies, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas filled their bookshelves. The literary symbol of the anti-American dream, Thompson’s chronicle of unashamed drug abuse and disregard for the status quo became a rebel call for a generation. His unique style of first-person reportage inspired ‘gonzo journalism’, and he joined a wave of reporters – Wolfe and Burroughs among them – who had blazed a trail by becoming active participants in their stories. Fear and Loathing took the style to the extreme and remains one of the greatest examples of the genre. Whether returning to the novel or enviably reading it for the first time, this unique 50th anniversary edition is the ultimate introduction to the greatest psychoactive literary trip through seventies American drug culture.

Hunter S. Thompson (1937–2005) was one of America’s leading counterculture writers of the twentieth century and a key figure in the experimental ‘gonzo’ school of journalism, which he founded. Raised in Louisville, Kentucky, he worked for the United States Air Force and as a journalist before his first book, Hell’s Angels (1967), based on time spent riding with the motorcycle group, brought him to popular attention. Growing increasingly disillusioned with the death of the sixties dream in a bitterly divided United States, Thompson wrote Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1972). He continued to write in the coming decades, for Rolling Stone and other outlets, and was active as a sports journalist until his death. He also became well known for advocating the right to bear arms and the legalisation of drugs. Thompson died in 2005.

Ralph Steadman is an illustrator who has been described as ‘Britain’s foremost post-war satirist’ by Will Self. After studying at the London College of Printing he worked for Punch, Private Eye, Rolling Stone and other major publications of the 1960s, producing satirical cartoons and caricatures. He is best known for his long collaboration with Hunter S. Thompson, whose books and articles he often illustrated; but he has also worked with a number of other leading writers, including Ted Hughes and Roald Dahl, and provided album artwork for bands and musicians including The Who and Frank Zappa. He has won numerous awards over several decades, including Illustrator of the Year from the American Institute of Graphic Arts, and was one of the first winners of the Francis Williams Award (now the V&A Illustration Awards) for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in 1972. As well as illustration he has ranged widely as a writer, lyricist and musician.

David Mamet was born in Chicago in 1947 and is one of America’s leading contemporary playwrights and screenwriters. His most acclaimed works include the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Glengarry Glen Ross and the Tony Award-winning Speed-the-Plow. His highest-grossing film is Heist, which he wrote and directed; his other film credits include House of Games, The Verdict, Hannibal and The Untouchables. He contributes cartoons to the Huffington Post and is also an essayist on politics and culture. He has written several novels as well as non-fiction books including On Directing Film, The Secret Knowledge and The Wicked Son.

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