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Kingdom of Fear: Loathsome Secrets of a Star-Crossed Child in the Final Days of the American Century

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  6,229 ratings  ·  232 reviews
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,
Paperback, 384 pages
Published November 6th 2003 by Simon & Schuster (first published 2003)
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The Bell Jar by Sylvia PlathFear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. ThompsonMrs. Dalloway by Virginia WoolfThe Sun Also Rises by Ernest HemingwayThe Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
Writers who committed suicide
56th out of 164 books — 185 voters
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. ThompsonHell's Angels by Hunter S. ThompsonThe Rum Diary by Hunter S. ThompsonFear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72 by Hunter S. ThompsonThe Great Shark Hunt by Hunter S. Thompson
The Best of Hunter S. Thompson
6th out of 12 books — 20 voters

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Community Reviews

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"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 yo
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
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 ...more
MJ Nicholls
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
"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, a
Luke Johnson
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
“There are only two adjectives writers care about anymore... ‘brilliant’ and ‘outrageous’ ... and Hunter Thompson has a freehold on both of them.”
-Tom Wolfe

Thompson’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 thi
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
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?

Amy Leigh
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 ot
Hamish Elliott
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.
Dilly Dalley
I haven't read any Hunter S Thompson since my 20s. It was interesting to go back with a middle aged mind into a youthful attraction. It was both a bit shocking and kind of thrilling. He is such an unapologetic bad boy. Angry, polemical, histrionic, violent, idealistic, arrogant, passionate and almost childishly romantic. Like many exciting personalities I think he'd be way too much for me in real life - on any level, even just meeting him at a party would be too much for me, I'm sure. Reading hi ...more
As usual, HST is smart, hilarious, and undeniably intelligent. The book is like most of his work—a semi-autobiographical interpretation of his life, presented in a way that reads like fiction. This was published in his last days before he realized he couldn't sustain the fast lane anymore, and as a result permanently ended his life. A lot of the passages are disturbing, foreshadowing windows into what's to come.

Knowing his fate, it was sad to watch his progressive spiral into grave cynicism as
YES! Hunter's bare ass with a gun on the back jacket, I can tell I'm going to like it already! Gonzo!
this is not the autobiography of Hans de Zwart
Hunter S. Thompson is a laugh. I may not agree with every one of his opinions as the drug addled contrarian; though I think that's what makes him so enjoyable. Fast, furious and vitriolic, Hunter takes aim at the American Dream and the dawn of American Terror following 9/11 among other grievances and anecdotes in 'Kingdom of Fear'; and whether it's an insight into his run for Sheriff of Aspen or a personal account of his sexual assault trial, Hunter's stream of consciousness infused with scathin ...more
E. Ce Miller
One of the final images in one of Hunter S. Thompson’s final books: “Kingdom of Fear: Loathsome Secrets of a Star-Crossed Child in the Final Days of the American Century” is this: “On some nights I still believe that a car with the gas needle on empty can run about fifty more miles if you have the right music very loud on the radio.” Readers are sitting shotgun to Thompson, in a 1970s Cadillac, in the wee hours of the morning, on the streets of Los Angeles or San Francisco; the gas needle is on ...more
Allie Burke
“The brutal reality of politics would be probably intolerable without drugs.” -Hunter S. Thompson, Kingdom of Fear

Since I caught sight of the Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas poster on my older brother’s wall when I was in high school, I knew I had to get my hands on everything HST wrote. It’s taken me longer than I would have liked, and I’m still working on it, but I kind of have that take-your-time-with-the-good-stuff outlook on literature, and I love that I have saved some of this stuff – HST,
Kingdom of Fear, a somewhat biography of Hunter S. Thompson by none other then himself. A political and personal opinion charged collection of some of Thompson's best, worst and favorite moments. The book is composed of letters, pictures and monologues, all mostly by Thompson, with a few guest appearances who's names aren't terribly important. What's important is the content of everything in the book. Prejudice, un-holy, perverted, amazing, and fucking hilarious. I say somewhat biography for I a ...more
David Sarkies
This is only the third HST book that I have read, but the more that I read of him the more I like his style. The book is non-fiction, as is none of his works, but is a collection of writings about the end of the American Century, as he sees it.
The blurb says that the book is an autobiography, but I would disagree since most of HST's books are autobiographical in nature. Rather, in a long, round about way, this is a book about the erosion of rights of the American citizen, and how the nation has
This was my book club's most recent selection. Not only that, but the book club member who selected the book was my husband, so I felt obligated to like it.

I've also been a fan of Hunter S. Thompson for ages, so I felt that I would probably enjoy it, regardless of who chose the book. I was not wrong. I read it in one sitting.

Reading HST makes me simultaneously feel happy that I never did the drugs and sad that I never tried those drugs. He does seem to have had such a good time.

Although some bo
Ravi Teja
May 12, 2012 Ravi Teja rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: non-retards
This analysis is of a quiet, pedantic disposition.

The paranoid side of america is conspicuous, but Huner's quite chilled out, throughout this particular book's 351 pages, you get to see people who are basically retards, in positions of power.
But that's ok, since they did not count on Journalists like Hunter S Thompson.
Let's assume, for general argument's sake, he is facing this retard, who somehow managed to cross swords with Hunter, then you can safely assume your 'ass', forswe
A hilarious insight into the inner depth of Hunter's life and works.
A true masterpiece bio, where fear and loathing is a constant denominator in every aspect of his life. In many pages, I found myself laughing so much so I was in tears of laughing. Anyone who understands/relates, wants to find out more about Hunter S. Thompson's life, and has seen Terry Gilliam's excellent film "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas", this book is a must read.
This was one of Thompson's last books published in his lifetime, and it was a bit different from the other two I've read. Both Fear & Loathing and Rum Diary were written as novels, narratives with some semblance of a plot. But Kingdom of Fear was mostly autobiographical. While if could be argued that all of the Good Doctor's work was at least partly autobiographical, this was presented as such, and the format was different. It contained narrative portions, as well journal-type entries, lette ...more
M. Cornelis van der Weele IV
This is, in essence, the last real, unconstrained output from an American master wringing what he had left from the cultural fabric of a world bent, in his eyes, horribly beyond the faintest hopes of repair. Ostensibly a biography of sorts, the novel pieces together distant recollections with pre-existing notes, letters culled from the periods which he is recollecting, and observations on the twists of an immediately pre-and-post 9/11 American landscape. Pretty much the end of the road for Thomp ...more
Ryan Stemple
351 pages later, and I'm not sure if I like it or not, I'm not sure if it was about anything in particular or not, and I'm not sure there was ever a moment I would actually consider giving up on the book completely. If you've read early Thompson (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Hell's Angels), you'll be familiar with his style which is consistent. But whereas both those books had at least some rudimentary through-line, Kingdom of Fear is only loosely connected by the mere fact that Hunter had al ...more
At his most surreal and most reflective.

It's hard to pick apart reality in this delusional memoir. It's a half-fiction. Swept up in a distrust for the author; I know these are exaggerated snippets of your life, Hunter. Gonzo columns; like a magazine of sensational stories, all about guns and motorbikes and drugs and fireworks and murder. But some of it is real, right? And I don't care to delve deeper and find out what's not. Surface level enjoyment of this book is enough for me, because it lets
Although a little lost in his own ranting… I found this totally interesting from a historical point of view, not necessarily the things HST wrote but the things that were compiled into his book. Letters from other people and newspaper articles, the mish mash nature to it definitely suits what I would have thought a HST 'autobiography' to be. There are some hilarious stories in there that I hadnt heard before. I skipped over some parts but over all I found it totally engaging, especially all the ...more
Well and lazily executed from the depths of a sharp mind and a strong glass of bourbon. Equally on a par with this greatest mind of American chance and disillusion is the will to grasp at the final straws of ironic and hypocritical leaps of the rat race's faith in the self interest in a land of falsified freedom, with all her woes of sweet pride slabbed over the green green grass. I laughed a few times throughout. The importance to why the little man needs stuck up for in the twisted nerves of a ...more
Chris Smudde
Although Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas will always be my favorite, this book was a great collection of stories spanning his entire career as the gonzo journalist. I was most interested to read his take on modern current events before his death (i.e. 9/11, the Bush Administration, etc.). For HTS fans, it's a definite must read and it makes it hard to remember that he's been gone for so long.
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Hunter Stockton Thompson was an American journalist and author, famous for his book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. He is credited as the creator of Gonzo journalism, a style of reporting where reporters involve themselves in the action to such a degree that they become the central figures of their stories. He is also known for his promotion and use of psychedelics and other mind-altering substanc ...more
More about Hunter S. Thompson...
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas The Rum Diary Hell's Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72 The Great Shark Hunt: Strange Tales from a Strange Time (The Gonzo Papers, #1)

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