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Kingdom of Fear: Loathsome Secrets of a Star-Crossed Child in the Final Days of the American Century Paperback – November 6, 2003
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Brilliant, provocative, outrageous, and brazen, Hunter S. Thompson's infamous rule breaking -- in his journalism, in his life, and of 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 flouting 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
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That is really the heart of the book, an expansion on the real, oft-neglected theme present in "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas": the death of the "American Dream," namely, the Death of Fun. Thompson would say the Death of Fun began when Nixon was elected, and I agree, however, 9/11 was the catalyst that sped things up dramatically. In name, 9/11 is mentioned briefly; a miniscule section devoted to it. Yet Thompson compares his past wild experiences with the dry-well of fun the first decade in the 21st century, and his attempts to continue the good times. Thompson grew up in the '60s, and although by no means the typical "Hippie" type, he saw life that can be lived as fun, exciting; something to dive into head first. Maybe you'll die, maybe you won't, but hell you won't figure it out til you try. I didn't realize at first, but the point of it all in relation to the Death of Fun is the decision we as a society must make, do we want to hover over our children all the time? Have increasing civil liberties taken away? Be risk-less? Or will we go back while we still can and try not to worry so damn much about something we ultimately can not control.
Highly recommend for any and all, Dr Hunter S Thompson fan or not.
If you like politics, you should read this.
God bless you Thompson. I enjoyed your second-long cameo in Rango. :D
Thompson launches into the current administration, as it inflicts its reign of terror on the civil liberties in this country. He recalls his bouts with the law, in particular a sordid case involving a former porn queen who takes him to court for allegedly abusing her at his home in Aspen. While he managed to survive these battles, he doesn't hold out much hope for the future because of the notorious Patriot Act.
But, his thoughts range far and wide, taking in his early years in Louisville and the proud highway to his remote home in Aspen, which he currently finds under seige from unscrupulous developers and former porn queens bent on ruining his mostly peaceful life. There is plenty of dark humor and pithy insights into the loathsome nature of the American dream. It is a very uneven book, but then that is what I have come to expect from Thompson, who hasn't been able to repeat his past great efforts such as Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72.
The quality of the writing on the recent pieces is not quite up to that of his best from the past, but is still infinitely better than the mindless slop produced by other contemporary "writers." The man was an artist.
As always, one of the disturbing things about Thompson is his ability to assess politics correctly in real time. Reading back, you think "Why didn't people take this man seriously at the time?"
"Indeed," as Doc would say.