‘Fear and Loathing,’ 40 Years Later

Forty years ago, Hunter S. Thompson went to Vegas to cover an off-road race, consumed a ton of drugs, and ended up publishing his seminal, semi-fictional book, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. To celebrate the anniversary, Daily writer Zach Baron retraces Thompson’s steps—a journey that, he says, was “the punchline to a joke I had made several weeks before, high in News Corp headquarters.” Stops include the Sahara casino, once a Rat Pack hangout, now out-of-business and up-for-sale. Furniture from all 1,720 rooms was up for auction to any visitor, as were casino tables and chandeliers. “Writers seek the American Dream in Las Vegas because our country’s blind enthusiasm and unceasing avarice and tacky ambition and failure to take care of its own people are on full display here,” Baron writes. “Then we go running around in bankrupt casinos looking for some kind of secret clue, like the depressing truth isn’t obvious to everyone the moment they step off the plane.”