Journalist Raoul Duke and his lawyer are sitting in the Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hilton in Los Angeles when he receives his next assignment: cover the fabulous Mint 400 desert motorcycle race in Las Vegas. They rent a convertible, and Raoul spends the $300 in expense money he is given on drugs. With a trunk full of marijuana, mescaline, LSD, cocaine, tequila, and beer, Raoul and his lawyer roar off across the desert to Las Vegas. While high on almost every imaginable drug, the pair manage to cover the motorcycle race, as well as impersonate police offers at a National District Attorney’s Drug Prevention Conference. In between, they trash their hotel room and rental car, meet strange people, and try to find the American Dream.
This work was first published in two issues of Rolling Stone magazine in 1971. There is currently a renewed interest in this book, as a movie version of it starring Johnny Depp is being released this month (May 1998). The modern library edition contains original drawings by Ralph Steadman which accompanied the article in Rolling Stone.
Reviewed by pk, 5/98. Other reviews by pk.