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Kingdom of Fear: Loathsome Secrets of a Star-Crossed Child in the Final Days of the American Centuryby Hunter S Thompson
I never thought that old Dr. Gonzo would ever be relevant again. Leave it to a conservative administration to prove me wrong. In this collection of pre- and post-9-11 writings, Kingdom of Fear shows that Thompson can still be witty, provocative and insightfully deranged.
Synopses & Reviews
Hunter S. Thompson once said, "I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me." That's true as far as it goes — Thompson has certainly written lovingly, and at length, about his favorite vices — but he hasn't exactly advocated them. I doubt that anyone was inspired by Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas to mix cocaine with mescaline, acid, booze, uppers, downers, laughers, screamers, amyl nitrate, and ether. Thompson's epic indulgence clearly sent him over the edge. But as Henrik Tikkanen said, "Truly great madness cannot be achieved without significant intelligence." If he'd just added "or drugs," he would have perfectly encapsulated Hunter S. Thompson. He may be nuts, but he is possessed by genius. Now, Thompson has published his first memoir. However, given that he has always enlivened his journalism with autobiography, farce, and a cagey relationship with the facts (Thompson has never let truth get in the way of Truth), it should come as no surprise that this "memoir" is that and more. Yes, the reader gets a glimpse of the strange Kentucky childhood that produced the Father of Gonzo Journalism. But Kingdom of Fear is also a political tirade, a self-inflating exercise in personal myth-making, and a deranged work of comic brilliance. Like all Thompson's work, though, it is at heart a clear-eyed look into the Daedalian heart of America. As Nelson Algren said, Thompson's "hallucinated vision strikes one as having been, after all, the sanest." Farley, Powells.com
Detractors and fans alike questioned the probability that Hunter S. Thompson would ever write a memoir. While his penchant for saving a copy of every letter he's ever written might be termed hubristic, Thompson often professes he's incapable of summarizing his life and career. This, combined with the fact that Hunter is intensely private about his relationship with both his childhood and adult families; that a sort of transcript of his life via three volumes of said letters was already on a publication schedule (The Proud Highway (Volume I), Fear and Loathing in America (Volume II) and an as-yet Untitled Volume III); and that his productivity as a writer seemed on the wane, would seem to make the likelihood of the Gonzo journalist encapsulating his life extremely small.
But The Kingdom of Fear dispels any doubt that we are to be treated to a defiant, and resounding, Thompson-esque treatment of his life - in his own inimitable, irascible, style. Consider it the evolution of an outlaw. Thompson chronicles his life as a rebel, from a smart-mouthed Kentucky kid questioning authority; to a style-defying, law-breaking journalist who came to personify a wild fusion of fact, fiction, and mind-altering substances. The ride is a bumpy, boisterous, tunnel-visioned one - signature Hunter S. Thompson. From details of his life as "Billy the Kid of Louisville," to his job as Night Manager of the legendary O'Farrell Theater in San Francisco, to his experience in the riots at the Chicago Convention, to running for Sheriff of Aspen on the Freak Power ticket, The Kingdom of Fear offers delicious, dangerous new details of electrifying professional risks, rousing attempted (and some, achieved) political coups, and outrageous personal antics of the man who became known as the Father of Gonzo Journalism.
Rough Front; 30-50 b&w photos t/o
"There are only two adjectives writers care about anymore...'brilliant' and 'outrageous'...and Hunter Thompson has a freehold on both of them." Tom Wolfe
"He amuses; he frightens; he flirts with doom. His achievement is substantial." Garry Wills
"His hallucinated vision strikes one as having been, after all, the sanest." Nelson Algren
"Characteristically incoherent at times, yet rollickingly funny throughout, Thompson's latest proves that the father of gonzo journalism is alive and well." Publishers Weekly
"Outraged and outrageous, Thompson remains, in this hodgepodge of pieces spanning most of his life (the opening story about his first great prank, pulled at age 9, is priceless), a larger-than-life middle-American humorist whose only peers are Mark Twain and William Burroughs." Booklist
"Who better to write about gonzo journalist Thompson than Thompson himself?" Library Journal
"Thompson is too outrageous ever to grow stale, his storytelling too rockingly mad to ignore....Candent prose that still screws and buckles all it touches." Kirkus Reviews
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. Kingdom of Fear traces the course of 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.
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.
About the Author
Hunter S. Thompson's books include Fear and Loathing in America, Screwjack, Hell's Angels, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Proud Highway, Better Than Sex, Songs of the Doomed, and The Rum Diary. A contributor to various national and international publications, Thompson lives in a fortified compound near Aspen, Colorado.
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