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Kings Row

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  147 ratings  ·  21 reviews
Only edition of KINGS ROW in print. No printings but KINGDOM HOUSE editions have a biographical and historical illustrated introduction. Contains map, town photographs, and stills and background on the Ronald Reagan film.
Paperback, 536 pages
Published March 12th 2002 by Kingdom House (first published 1940)
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Community Reviews

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Karla
I read this 1940 controversial doorstopper back in high school and was riveted by the portrait of seedy 1890s small-town life. There's plenty of nasty little secrets in Kings' Row, and if you've ever seen the 1942 movie starring Ann Sheridan, Ronald Reagan and Bob Cummings, they left a LOT out or referred to it so vaguely they might as well not have bothered. Still, the movie's packed with great Golden Age of Hollywood actors (Claude Rains as the incestuous doctor!) and is worth 2 hours of your ...more
Debby
Classic story of small town with many dark secrets, old but very readable
Mary
My interest in this book stemmed from an interest in small town America as it emerged into the twentieth century. Henry Bellamann gives his first hand impressions of that time, through the story of Kings Row. Interspersed throughout the book are characters' thoughts about the times they have lived through, including early pioneers memories as well as forward looking town leaders dreams for their town.

The plot and characters held my interest, although there are parts that drag the reader through
...more
Maggie
This time thirteen years ago I was enjoying my final weeks before beginning high school. One languid summer night, the film Kings Row was on Turner Classic Movies. Attracted by the early scenes of happy children running around a small town, most of them oblivious to its corruption, I made my parents change the channel so that I could borrow the book from the library before being spoiled.

It's the story of small-town corruption in c. 1900 Kings Row, a fictional place based on the author's hometown
...more
Karl
Sometimes rambling, this is still a nice, intelligent portrait of small town mid-west America at the turn of the last century. The characters are vividly drawn, and Bellaman's commentary about human nature and the American character is certainly as valid today as when it was written. Maybe not the literary equivalent of The Magnificent Ambersons, Raintree County, Our Town,Winesburg, Ohio, or Old Home Town, but still worthy. I highly recommend.
Rob Russin
"Spring came late in the year 1890, and the fullness of its burgeoning heightened the seasonal disturbance that made unquiet in the blood. "

So begins King's Row, Henry Bellamann's wonderful novel that I am calling a lost American classic. Despite being a critical and commercial success on its release in 1940, leading to a film version with Ronald Reagan two years later, King's Row and the rest of Bellamann's works are largely forgotten today.

This is unfortunate, as King's Row is a novel that sho
...more
Philip
KINGS ROW was supposedly author Henry Bellamann's 'revenge' on the small American town in which he grew up. Sixteen years before PEYTON PLACE similarly riveted the attention of readers in record numbers, it peeked into the windows of the inhabitants of Kings Row to reveal their nasty secrets.

This novel is certainly in the category of what's known as a 'potboiler' - the ingredients include lusty teenage sex, adultery, implied homosexuality, sadism, incest and insanity. And a few other peccadilloe
...more
Barbara VA
Wow - this was quite a read. I picked it up because I was such a fan of the 1940 movie that I watched because I am such a fan of Claude Rains and Charles Coburn. They were quite the characters in this portrait of small midwest town at the turn of the last century. This book really makes Peyton Place seem like Utopia! Parris is so well drawn and the education of an Alienist is fascinating. So many topics covered - incest, race, greed, religion, lunacy, homosexuality, prejudice, and even fanaticis ...more
B Janie
I decided to read Kings Row after watching the interview with Anne Rice on Goodreads and hearing her recommend it. I thought it was a good read. It is a about a town called Kings Row and the people who live in it. It is filled with all the drama that can occur in a small town. This novel was written in the 1940's and had a movie made of it in which Ronald Reagan acted. I think this is one of those books that has been banned by certain schools due to controversial themes such as homosexuality, sa ...more
Claudia Mundell
Very old book...from 1940...long but intersting in that setting was Missouri. Capture small town life and the clearly marked lines of classes in the community. Author writes with wordiness marked by the times...but his nature descriptions are lovely. He uses seasons to move time along in the book and does it well. After the book, I watched the film...nominated for 3 Academy Awards in 1942.Ronald Reagan was one of main charactes, his portrayal of Parris Mitchell is known as his best acting perfor ...more
Dawn Cancellieri
Even though it was written almost 75 years ago, the plot elements could have been ripped from today's headlines: financial malfeasance by the banks, homosexuality, race, mental illness, medical malpractice, greed, suicide and a host of sexual scandals. Still enjoyable, and just goes to show that the more things change the more they stay the same.
Ellen
I got about half-way through back in college but always wanted to pick it up again and finish. Wow, it's much more depressing than I remembered or than the old movie version. Secrets become deadly and the shadow of mental illness hangs over the town, based on Fulton, Mo, with it's real "State Lunatic Asylum." It's so very dark, but well written.
Kathy
I've been told this book was based on Fulton, MO. If so, Fulton is not different from other small towns I've lived in. It was written in 1940 and included an amazing amount of sex. Well, my Mom always told me that we didn't invent it.....PS. There was a movie made from the book starring Ronald Reagan.
Eva Sterner
A banned book in this community for many years. The characters in the book are based on people who were living at the time. Actually a very good portrait of small town America, but written without the joy of same. It paints a very bleak picture.
Celeste
Somewhat slow. No major events, things potentially could have been more dramatic, but were
calmed down, and hidden away and never brought back up. Like having one of the characters committed, so she could not create a scandal.
Mike Newman
an influence on Peyton Place, a more serious and literary novel but also about a small town where people keep deep dark secrets for years and years, best known now as the basis for a Ronald Reagan movie
R. Honey
A very memorable book. One of those I was probably too young to read but I think it was in our bookcase at home! Prez. Regan loses a leg in the movie version!
Barbara
One of my favorite books of all time. I've read it twice and thought I'd add it to my list. Probably hard to find a hard back copy.
Ann
I was about 11 or 12 when I read this. I think it was the first "adult" book I ever read.
Linda
Really good story about children growing up at the turn of the century.
Ladygwen
Lots of detail, but I liked the movie better.
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Nov 29, 2014
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A native of Fulton, Missouri, Heinrich Hauer Bellamann was born on April 28, 1882. He was a serious student of music and studied both in this country and abroad. From 1907 until 1932, when he began to pursue writing full-time, Bellamann held administrative and teaching positions at several educational institutions including Julliard and Vassar. During these years, Bellamann wrote poetry and publis ...more
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Parris Mitchell of Kings Row Victoria Grandolet Floods of Spring Cups of Illusion The Upward Pass

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