Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Essay - Critical Essays

Critical Evaluation

Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is an attempt at gonzo journalism. Thompson is the forerunner of this concept, in which the author becomes part of the story that is being covered. Gonzo journalism brought a radical change to how stories and events could be reported and to how accurate they had to be as pieces of creative nonfiction.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was first published in two parts in Rolling Stone, which was a counterculture publication at the time. The work was a fitting piece for such a magazine, and Thompson’s story received a generally warm reception from readers. The first reviews of the book version, however, ranged from tepid to highly negative. Some reviewers found the book to be almost incoherent, while others thought that the text—awash in drug usage and illegal acts combined with a rambling narrative—did not make for a worthwhile read. The reviewer from The New Republic believed that the book was nothing more than surface text, that Thompson often failed to go into any depth with the material he was covering and attempted to overcome this shortcoming with overwrought descriptions. Another criticism of the novel was that Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas seemed to exist in a loveless world, as Thompson is never able to generate emotion or a deeper sense of humankind. The New York Times printed an initial review instructing readers not to even bother...

(The entire section is 537 words.)