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

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  7,443 Ratings  ·  279 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, outrageous, and braz
Paperback, 384 pages
Published November 6th 2003 by Simon & Schuster (first published 2003)
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Feb 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing
"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
Sep 29, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: biography, journalism
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
Amy Leigh
Jun 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
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
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
Feb 27, 2013 rated it liked it
"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
Sep 09, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Thompson has some serious beef with felony murder.
Mar 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
“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
Apr 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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?

Jan 20, 2012 rated it liked it
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 ...more
Jul 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jun 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Especially relevant given the current political climate.
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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
Greg Latanick
Jan 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
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 a ...more
Michael Maloney
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
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."
Tony Lovell
May 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
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!
Shain Wozniak
Jun 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Epic. Many good stories to be had.
Allie Burke
Aug 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, brt
“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,
Feb 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Still crazy after all these years...although, what else would you expect from a guy who realizes he is a teenage girl in the body of an elderly dope fiend. Still few writers make me feel as alive as HST. Would read again.
Jan 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoirs
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
Claudia Turner
Feb 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
A LOT is relevant in this book for the political climate today. It's unfortunate but I wish very much that at least Thompson were around to talk about it. At least we have books like this left. Hunter's a great writer. One of a kind. If he'd been a woman I think maybe greater because then maybe he'd have had the daring and the balls with a little more tenderness.
Sep 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Good but not great. Hunter has some really engaging stories here but there are too many that fall flat to give this book 5 stars. This book is typical Hunter writing. If you love his style you will not be disappointed here. Im not sure why this book is described as a sort of autobiography because Hunter has always involved himself in his writing. This book has a few stories from when he was younger and is written in a historical fashion but the letters he wrote take up a much larger portion of t ...more
Jun 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2011
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
Jan 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
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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
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