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The Gonzo memoir from one of the most influential voices in American literature, Kingdom of Fear traces the course of Hunter S. Thompson’s life as a rebel—from a smart-mouthed Kentucky kid flaunting all authority to a convention-defying journalist who came to personify a wild fusion of fact, fiction, and mind-altering substances.Brilliant, provocative, outrageous, and brazThe Gonzo memoir from one of the most influential voices in American literature, Kingdom of Fear traces the course of Hunter S. Thompson’s life as a rebel—from a smart-mouthed Kentucky kid flaunting all authority to a convention-defying journalist who came to personify a wild fusion of fact, fiction, and mind-altering substances.Brilliant, provocative, outrageous, and brazen, Hunter S. Thompson's infamous rule breaking—in his journalism, in his life, and under the law—changed the shape of American letters, and the face of American icons. Call it the evolution of an outlaw. Here are the formative experiences that comprise Thompson’s legendary trajectory alongside the weird and the ugly. Whether detailing his exploits as a foreign correspondent in Rio, his job as night manager of the notorious O’Farrell Theatre in San Francisco, his epic run for sheriff of Aspen on the Freak Power ticket, or the sensational legal maneuvering that led to his full acquittal in the famous 99 Days trial, Thompson is at the peak of his narrative powers in Kingdom of Fear. And this boisterous, blistering ride illuminates as never before the professional and ideological risk taking of a literary genius and transgressive icon....

Title : Kingdom of Fear: Loathsome Secrets of a Star-Crossed Child in the Final Days of the American Century
Author :
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ISBN : 9780684873244
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 384 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Kingdom of Fear: Loathsome Secrets of a Star-Crossed Child in the Final Days of the American Century Reviews

  • Petra X
    2019-06-16 03:11

    I'm pretty sure this is going to break my recent run of 2 star reads. This is in the foreword. The author has gone to visit his old friend Jack Nicholson and in the back of his jeep are "all kind of jokes and gimcracks" to entertain Nicholson's children. "“In addition to the bleeding elk heart, there was a massive outdoor amplifier, a tape recording of a pig being eaten alive by bears, a 1,000,000-watt spotlight, and a 9-mm Smith & Wesson semiautomatic pistol with teak-wood handles and a box of high-powered ammunition. There was also a 40-million-candlepower parachute flare that would light up the valley for 40 miles for 40 seconds that would seem to anyone lucky enough to be awake at the time like the first blinding flash of a mid-range nuclear device that might signal the end of the world.” When the detonation of these devices from a precipice overlooking the Nicholson household fails to produce the anticipated joyful welcome, Hunter feels, disconcertingly, that he is “being snubbed.”Now if my father had had friends like that....

  • Steve
    2019-05-24 05:31

    "It never got weird enough for me". -Hunter S. Thompson This is Hunter at his finest. This book was one of those that you wish had just one more page at the end for all of eternity. Kingdom of Fear is written in a loose biographical form, in true Thompson style, it leapfrogs from stories of pre-adolescent vandalism, to scathing rants of George W. Bush in the same chapter, but somehow never looses its cohesiveness. The stories of Hunter and Johnny Depp exchanging cars and checkbooks will make you laugh like a hyena, spit out your coffee and piss yourself all at once, his legendary run for Sheriff of Aspen will make you want to become more politically active, his take on 9-11 and the horrors of the Bush administration might just make you shed a tear or two. No one does political satire better. This book makes me sad that not another one will ever be written like it, and it makes me grateful that I still have plenty of Thompsons books left to read.

  • Louise
    2019-05-27 02:12

    The only “memoir” part of this “memoir” is the beginning where Thompson gives an anecdote that may be true about how he became skeptical of authority at 9 years old. The rest is comprised of more vignettes some of which may be true and others for which parts may be true.There are all the Thompson motifs, the shooting incidents, drug crazed trips in Cadillacs, show girls and porn stars, brushes with the police, and political incorrectness.One recurring theme, the loss of liberties, exemplified by a 66 hour search of his farm based on the say so of one “Witness” and the life jail term for a woman who was with a man who committed a murder- suicide.If you are a Thompson fan, you’ve already read this book. If not, you may want to start with other works.

  • Evelyn
    2019-06-04 07:15

    I have always been a huge, huge, fan of Hunter's work. Kingdom of Fear is a collection of various writings he did, kind of like a memoir, where he rants and raves and rants some more. In his typical Gonzo style, he takes the reader on a bizarre and often utterly 'weird' ride through his colourful and always interesting life. Opening with his first encounter with the FBI when he was nine years old (and no doubt sparking his life-long distrust of authority), the book whizzes through his musings of various scandals of the day, what's going in the hazy world of politics, his time in Cuba and so much more. His tell-it-like-it-is attitude simply emphasises everything that is wrong in today's overly PC society and his voice is sorely missed. He really was an extraordinary man and I would love nothing more than to read a book about what he thinks of the world today. We salute you Hunter, may many follow in your footsteps, throw caution to the wind and just write what they feel.

  • Amy Leigh
    2019-05-22 03:32

    one of the easiest things to forget about hunter thompson is that he was s.m.a.r.t. really smart. the exaggerations and drug tales and violent fleur-de-lis are a lovely bonus, but at the heart of my love for hunter thompson is his straight-arrow sense of right and wrong, his personal sense of outrage at the evils of the world, and his ability to stay sharp in the face of the low level, grinding mediocrities that pave the road to hell.this collection of essays is more personal than some of his other work, and it spans his career from beginning to end. most affecting and chilling for me are his ruminations on the current bush administration. but all of it is compelling. it's vibrant, passionate, funny, bitter, and true. which is everything i really need.

  • MJ Nicholls
    2019-05-19 06:17

    Note: Written on Sep 03 2007, when I was much younger. I detach myself entirely from the review and its contents.Here’s Yr. Autobiography. Mahalo. Res Ipsa Loquitur.Is it just me, or is this gent just a wee bit too forceful with his opinions?Before the sad loss of Hunter S. Thompson, human marihuana chimney and perpetual idol to each new batch of college students, the Colorado-based chronicler of injustice and, um—sports—left this rambling and shambling document, labelled erroneously by Penguin Books as an “autobiography.”However, before we go just a jot further, it might help to explain the purpose of this mighty man on earth, an award-winning journalist, author of the Great American Classic Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and free-speaking powerhouse of political retribution delivered with a sly middle finger to the establishment (and everyone he deemed stupid enough to disagree with him). His purpose among us was as some kind of stoned harbinger of truth, someone who actively sought the life of an outlaw, existing on the parameters of a nation he viewed corrupt on the inside and exposing the rot festering inside the charade of civilisation. His persona was one of a troublemaking thrill-seeker and outspoken cult genius, writing drug-fuelled fiction which varied from readable to overrated while retaining full exclusivity over the phrase “gonzo journalist.”Kingdom of Fear, subtitled vacantly Loathsome Secrets of a Star-Crossed Child in the Final Days of the American Century remains true to the ranting and hellbent persona Dr. Thompson perfected in his fiction. It is narrated in the same rude, crass and matter-of-fact manner prevalent in his other books. Being unschooled in his canon, it would be false of me to mention examples and then compare works, but I have glazed over Songs of the Doomed and been dazzled at the weight of both political insight and indeed personal disgust. His most famous work also inspired me to let my imagination run riot within the confines of both a prose approach as well as the events of a story themselves. I have him to thank for popping my surrealist cherry with that 2003 piece about the hedgehog in the car on the pretend milk motorway. I burned all four copies.Part OneThe book is divided into three parts, but there is no real structure imposed upon the manner Thompson chooses to span his entire existence. He opts instead for a similar rambling approach to his previous works, which for an autobiography spells only fear and loathing in this reader. When The Going Gets Weird, The Weird Turn Pro provides the odd piece of genuine insight into the formative stages of Dr. Thompson, but one of the biggest flaws of the book is the glib tone with which he chooses to express himself. There are times when Thompson wishes to inform us of his development into an intellectual and free-thinking journalist with a noble and just cause on the planet, but the lack of focus makes the experience little more than a series of anecdotes, often arrogant moments of blatant self-aggrandising and an exercise in keeping the reader miles and miles out of his personal and emotion inner realm.The opening nugget entitled The Witness introduces the continuous catalogue of his countless legal troubles, the most prominent case being a run-in with a sex worker determined to take advantage of him. The tone then alternates in this first part between fiery attacks on the Bush administration and an almost manic attempt to right old wrongs or clear up previous indiscretions. This makes for far less interesting or fulfilling reading than perhaps just a basic overview of his life, and since there is no structure, the novel begins to dart between a messy series of his old articles, selected news reports of his mischief-making and brief pieces where he howls his consternation for the fools in charge and the reader is reassured by his foul-mouthed honesty.Part TwoAt first, the proposition seems much more tantalising as Dr. Thompson moves onto his specialist subject with Politics Is The Act of Controlling Your Environment, the lengthiest section where he discusses his attempts to stand for mayor of Aspen in 1970. The episode creates a jarring portrait of someone who should under no circumstances stand for office, but who ends up looking like the finest substitute compared to the other stooges in the running. As ever with Thompson, America is depicted as a place in almost constant political chaos and flux, and despite the illusion of order and sanity, the nation is at the mercy of some kind of raging “whore beast” making peace impossible. This point is hammered home clear enough, and helps explain his own exaggerated lifestyle choices such as tinkering around with firearms, vast quantities of drugs and his night manager job at the strip club (mentioned one too many times for comfort).Seize The Night and Speedism move onto the topic of hedonism. Thompson was unrepentant about his lifestyle choices until his death, including his excessive use of drugs and high-speed thrills. He is adamant that all the decisions he made were out of sheer lust for life, writing about the most outrageous episodes of his life in explicit detail, before he states that all those who thought he was as OTT as he might have been in his fiction were stupid people. The portrait he creates of himself in this book is not one of a sympathetic man, but instead an enigmatic bulls**ter from the highest echelons of bulls**t, determined to keep his wild-man mythology going like his idol Bob Dylan. It all seems an attempt just to keep the fires of his homebrewed bile and contempt for the government nice and warm, and without having to actually present any academic or reasoned opinions behind what he says.Part ThreeThe final section continues in the same vein, with random vignettes and rambling narratives divided by handy little asterisks and one or two page-filling quotes (he includes a whole poem from Robinson Jeffers). Witness III is one of the more regrettable inclusions here, a lengthy news report of a court case Thompson won interspersed with self-conscious comments written on a ratty old typewriter. It is around this point my patience for the book began to break down and I had to force the remainder of the way through. By choosing to stitch sections from newspapers and so forth into his life story, and focusing largely on legal episodes instead of himself, he is unable to adopt enough sincerity or create a portrait of an appealing man to win me over. Some of the photographs and letters here look like nothing more than shameless page-filler.This section also includes the famous incident with Jack Nicholson, who he was accused of “trying to kill” and his bizarre field trip to Cuba where for some reason Johnny Depp was invited to join in as he reported on the unstable political situation over there. The most famous episodes in his life, especially towards the end of it when he had become something of a celebrity writer, had to be included since shock and hyperbole had been Thompson’s bread and butter since the 1960s. I know—how very cynical of me.Kingdom of Fear failed to engage me enough to recommend. I believe there is a reason for this. It should never have been written in the first place. Hunter S. Thompson was someone whose life should have been chronicled by besotted admirers and lesser writers than himself. He should have puffed out of his life a cult hero, leaving behind an outstanding body of unmistakable journalism and immortal novels, but instead this work feels like a self-satisfied and sloppy self-portrait written by a bloated and arrogant jerk with his halo just a touch crooked. The humour in the book is childish and tiresome, rarely clever, and the overall impression from the novel is that Hunter S. Thompson was an unlovable, contemptuous and ranting soothsayer of political injustice, and a hard-bitten solider in the blood-filled trench of life with a foul mouth and complete lack of self-restraint or responsibility.Then again—perhaps that was the point.

  • Luke Johnson
    2019-06-03 02:07

    An entertaining read, since it's hard not to be entertained by Hunter S. Thompson's rantings, but ultimately disappointing. It get three stars instead of two based solely on Thompson's outsized reputation and my fondness for it. Ostensibly an autobiography, but really not one at all, this book is just a series of snippets and recollections, some of which are true but most of which are probably not, even in Thompson's loose version of what constitutes "truth". Pretty dissatisfying really.I think this review from NYT sums it up nicely: "Whenever 'Kingdom of Fear' brushes up against the aching interior spaces that feed genuine autobiography -- family, lost friends, regrets -- he recoils and hides in bad gonzo clichés. You'd think that at this point in his life -- Thompson is 65 -- he'd be more interested in exorcising his demons than in making cartoons out of them."

  • Rachel
    2019-05-24 08:14

    "We live in dangerous times. Our armies are powerful, and we spend billions of dollars a year on new prisons, yet our lives are still ruled by fear. We are like pygmies lost in a maze. We are not at War, we are having a nervous breakdown." (p.27)"We have become a Nazi monster in the eyes of the whole world- a nation of bullies and bastards who would rather kill than live peacefully. We are not just Whores for power and oil, but killer whores with hate and fear in our hearts. We are human scum, and that is how history will judge us...No redeeming social value. Just whores." (p.66)"Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or ill, it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. If a government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for the law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy." (p.110)"Anybody who can do one thing better than anyone else in the world is a natural friend of mine." (p.272)

  • Sarah
    2019-06-07 08:05

    I've had my ups and downs with this one and I think that stems from the fact that I was trying to read and understand a book slating American politics of the latter quarter of the twentieth century when my knowledge on American politics of the latter quarter of the twentieth century is on par with Joey Essex's.

  • Cat
    2019-06-09 04:05

    HST is brilliant..

  • Jenni
    2019-05-21 04:10

    Thompson has some serious beef with felony murder.

  • David
    2019-05-30 00:26

    “There are only two adjectives writers care about anymore... ‘brilliant’ and ‘outrageous’ ... and Hunter Thompson has a freehold on both of them.” -Tom WolfeThompson’s Kingdom of Fear: Loathsome Secrets of a Star-Crossed Child in the Final Days of the American Century is a hard book to review. It is the fifth book that I have read by the great Hunter S. Thompson, who has been one of my heroes for many years. Suggested to me by my best friend’s cousin while out bar-hopping, I thought I’d give this one a shot because I am a huge fan of Thompson’s work and had never heard much about it. So I figured I’d dive in to see for myself.It is interesting to read this, as it is the most recently-written book that I have read by Hunter. Being so close to present-time, it’s easier for me to relate to a lot of the events that happen in the book. I wasn’t alive for most of the Thompson canon, so it has always been intriguing for me to see what someone who was so obviously exploring the fringes of society thought about it way back when. But since this was written in the last decade, I lived through most of these times, but was unaware of the insanity roaming around in America at that time.Thompson writes about run-ins with the law, drugs, sex, rock & roll, fast cars and motorcycles, football, crooked cops, fast lawyers and dumb judges with an eloquence unmatched by any but attempted by many. When I was in journalism school, it was made abundantly clear to me that it was okay to enjoy Hunter’s ravings, but to not try to emulate them. It’s impossible to write like this for any normal human being. And I think I’m beginning to be okay with that.If you’ve never read any Hunter S. Thompson, I would advise you to start with either The Rum Diary or Hell’s Angels. But if you have checked him out before, or seen the movie Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas you should feel free to tackle this one. Highly recommended.4/5 Stars. 351 pages. Published in 2003.

  • Donald
    2019-06-12 03:09

    Kingdom of Fear - “It would be easy to say that we owe it all to the Bush family from Texas, but that would be too simplistic. They are only errand boys for the vengeful, bloodthirsty cartel of Jesus-freaks and super-rich money mongers who have ruled this country for at least the last 20 years, and arguably for the past 200. They take orders well, and they don’t ask too many questions.”Ah Hunter, you had me from this quote in the “Memo from the Sports Desk"! And, for me, that memo might have been the best part of this book!This collection could also have been titled, or sub-titled, "Fear and Loathing in Woody Creek Colorado" as many of the pieces in here have to do with that town, or the surrounding area, including Aspen. I had read a few of the tales in "Happy Birthday, Jack Nicholson", but gladly re-read them in here! My only issue with the collection is that it is all over the place, both chronologically and topically, and never feels cohesive. I guess I was looking for more of a novel. But the stories themselves are fun to read, and totally and completely representative of Hunter S. Thompson!

  • Scott
    2019-05-17 05:15

    I've always loved Thompson's books, and I think this might be my favorite (other than Fear and Loathing which is untouchable). This one is his most personal, and is his last actual book (Hey, Rube was a compilation of online sports articles so I don't count it) before he blew his brains out. This one includes ranting about 9/11 and the Bush Administration (if you thought his eulogy of Nixon was savage, check out what he has to say about Bush Jr.), his musings on the 1968 Democratic Convention (a must-read if you give a shit), tales of his early childhood (including his first run-in with the FBI), a description of his first ride on a Ducati super-bike, and random stories about his worldwide travels.If you love Hunter, don't miss this. If you don't, well... fuck off.

  • Troy
    2019-06-08 04:26

    I kept stopping and scratching my head. "Hmmmmmm," I'd think, is this story a hallucination or could it really have happened?" Kingdom of Fear is a collection of exploits, letters and mad ramblings by Hunter S. Thompson. I love this man, except when I don't, but I rarely don't want to be him. Thompson's journalistic exploits are well-documented, but is it possible that a mountain lion just up and jumped into the back of his car as he drove (stoned, as always) up the California coast? Regardless of how much truth is stretched, it is an eye-opener, making me grateful once again that I live in a country (Mexico) that is so transparently corrupt and poorly managed that we know what to expect - At least it's free here. Thompson's stories leave no doubt about the end of constitutional freedom in the U.S. And I've experienced myself, too.

  • Kevvy
    2019-06-12 00:32

    Grab your Colt .45; the government is coming. You have no rights because they will search your house for the 2 month old hashish. The main point of the story is about a woman who causes (1) Hunter Thompson undue trouble. And How Nazi law enforcement agencies spread their tentacles and destroy America. Hunter Thompson is the last outlaw. Is he fighting a losing fight, most likely he has yet begun to fight. Interesting little bit-bits in the book. Something about sucking on an 8-year-old's nipples and the appreciation of beautiful spines. *shrugs* Good shit anyways. Silly anecdotes, maybe a life lesson or two. Yep.

  • Julie
    2019-05-22 07:25

    What can I say, I'm very biased. And I struggle to think of an author whose style (and consistency) I respect more. 'Kingdom of Fear' is a collection of essays/memoirs (to be taken with a shaker of salt, obviously) and other short stories that manage to catch a quick glimpse of HST's growing disenchantment with what the US was turning into during the early 2000s. Witty, acid (quite literally) and incisive, this is one of his last works of prose. And what a swansong it is.

  • Hamish Elliott
    2019-05-22 05:19

    hunter is the burning spear. Thompson is the explosive device buried in our deepest fears. S stands for some type of narcotic trip you can never have, and never really grasp as you are a shitless asshole.

  • Kim
    2019-06-17 06:28

    YES! Hunter's bare ass with a gun on the back jacket, I can tell I'm going to like it already! Gonzo!

  • Ben Brackett
    2019-06-13 08:17

    Especially relevant given the current political climate.

  • Sue Cartwright
    2019-05-19 04:11

    I love Hunter S Thompson, and have done so ever since reading 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas' when I was a teenager. He was the man who said it as it was, just like Eminem does today.This book is a memoir, a series of events that whisk you along on a symphony of words and conversations composed of absolute truth, salubrious objectivity, keen observation, funniness and gonzo stylishness that has the ability to blow your mind in parts, and shock your senses.As Timothy Ferris notes in the Foreward, 'it's an author's confrontation with himself.'Such as this summation: "Some people will tell you that slow is good - and it may be, on some days - but I am here to tell you that fast is better. I've always believed this, in spite of the trouble it's caused me. Being shot out of a cannon will always be terr than being squeezed out of a tube. That is why God made fast motorcycles, Buba ..."This book and Hunter's life, is testament to just that, so if you are up for a fast and intricate read, fasten your seat belt for the ride.

  • Geoff
    2019-06-14 03:29

    I have been a fan of Hunter S. Thompson for many years and with the exception of ScrewJack and The Rum Diary have read all of his books. This book was his final work, I believe, and it showed.Hunter's writing has been described as 'diminished' and it is apparent in this work however it is still better than most. There were moments of brilliance in his stories, like the meeting of Judge Clarence Thomas, to other areas that seemed disjointed or just didn't really stand out.All in all I enjoyed the work, not as much as some of his other collections of stories like the classic "The Great Shark Hunt" but all in all this is Hunter S. Thompson, a one of a kind. He is still missed and his writing, 'diminished' or not, is still worthy of 5 stars.

  • Tlingit
    2019-05-22 05:22

    I enjoyed it, not as much as say his book on the Hell's Angels though. It was a bit sad to me and I had to remind myself that he always had the paranoia, the booze and the drugs. It wasn't really those things that bothered me. Still it was vignettes of his life, messy and a little bit incoherent rambling yet graced with his Southern Gentility. I guess what bothered me was the state of the nation currently. And the fact that HST would be whizzed into a frothing frenzy of words. Then again maybe not. And he is happy that he is dead. I'll have to find another one of his books to read to get my mind off this book. Oh, yeah, it has pictures. Fun personal pictures.

  • Greg Latanick
    2019-05-18 06:27

    The Cunts have made a strong power grab in this foul year of our lord 2017, and the good doctor saw them coming 17+ years ago. I understand why he opted out in this garbage century and wish his acerbic insight was still shooting flame throwers at the Christian Wrong and their sick ilk. He didn't foresee the Obama years. I believe he would have enjoyed the all too brief respite. He was a volatile and maybe terrible person but his political insight is unparalleled. His voice was always hilarious and accurate. You are missed, asshole.

  • Andrew
    2019-06-15 05:06

    A mixed bag of writings. Some seemed to be ramblings, however there might not be anyone else more enjoyable to listen to ramble than Thompson. I thought a few were exceptional. My favorite being his experiences at the 1968 Democratic National Convention, and his tale starring Clarence Thomas being the runner-up. 3.5 stars.

  • Michael Maloney
    2019-06-01 02:12

    p. 341: "So welcome to Thunder Road, Bubba. It was one of those movies that got a grip on me when I was too young to resist. It convinced me that the only way to drive was at top speed with a car full of whiskey, and I have been driving that way ever since, for good or ill."RIP HST.

  • Tony Lovell
    2019-06-03 00:07

    What a great read! I love the way Hunter tells a tale!"Jesus! That is so horrible that I hate to see myself actually writing it. What is wrong with me? Why would even think of a scene like that?"cursed, are those with a dark sense of humour—RIP Hunter, I wish I met you!

  • Brandon Mclaughlin
    2019-05-29 00:30

    Classic, just like all of Hunters works.

  • Clint Banjo
    2019-05-23 00:29

    Sharp read...! You wish you were with him on some of these exploits...

  • Pixiequix
    2019-06-12 05:22

    One of my favorite books.