Best 1972 Adventures (1)
October 4, 2017
One in a series of 10 posts identifying Josh Glenn’s favorite 1972 adventure novels. Happy 45th anniversary!
Hunter S. Thompson‘s picaresque Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
Subtitled A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream, Thompson’s first novel follows its protagonist, drug-addled journalist Raoul Duke, and his attorney, Dr. Gonzo, as they descend on Las Vegas. Duke is supposed to report on a motorcycle race for a sports magazine; instead, he and Dr. Gonzo trash hotel rooms, drive around hallucinating in the desert, and bitterly lament the failure of the ’60s counterculture to challenge America’s depraved social order and capitalist economy. It’s a kind of manifesto of the Anti-Anti-Utopian Generation — idealistic, yet skeptical about both the established order and those who’d challenge it. (“What Leary took down with him was the central illusion of a whole life-style that he helped create… a generation of permanent cripples, failed seekers….”) This is also a journey into the surreal, as Vegas’s fantastical appurtenances are rendered nightmarish.
Fun facts: Fear and Loathing (as it’s usually known) first appeared as a two-part series in Rolling Stone magazine in 1971. Ralph Steadman’s grotesque illustrations accompanied both the Rolling Stone serialization and the novel.
Let me know if I’ve missed any 1972 adventures that you particularly admire.