Let's face it--the yo-yo president of the U.S.A. knows nothing. He is a dunce. He does what he is told to do--says what he is told to say--poses the way he is told to pose. He is a Fool.
Kingdom of Fear, page 65

Kingdom of Fear
Loathsome Secrets of a Star-Crossed Child in the Final Days of the American Century
Hunter S. Thompson
ISBN: 0-684-87323-0

Kingdom of Fear, Hunter S. Thompson's 13th book, was published by Simon & Schuster in January of 2003. It is the first Hunter S. Thompson book to be billed as a biography.

The book walks a line between a memoir and a compilation while calling itself a biography. It isn't a biography in the sense it's a chronological account of something. It is a biography in so far as most of it is actually about him. That seems to be the threshhold for Thompson. If the possibly fictionalized events he writes about involve him but are actually about something else, it's "current events" or "journalism" but if the quasi-true accounts are actually about him, well then it's apperantly biographical. And it does make a certain amount of sense in the context of everything Thompson has written.

In spite of the fact that Kingdom of Fear is billed as a biography rather than a compilation like The Great Shark Hunt or any of the other Gonzo Papers, it still has reprinted material galore. For example, his ESPN "Hey, Rube" columns for September 12, 2001 and September 18, 2001 appear in the book verbatim. And it's not just his previous work. Looking at the imprint, I count thirteen separate pieces by other people that are reprinted, ranging from Lou Reeds lyrics to full articles by High Times and The Villiage Voice.

Enough with all of that objective seeming crap. I like Kingdom of Fear. As a certified Hunter S. Thompson fan boy, it was a very interesting read. In spite of drawing heavily on the well, as it were, it had stories I hadn't heard or read about before. The layout of the book can be confusing. At times, a story will suddenly drop off, only to be picked back up 20 pages later without a hitch. I'm sure some people will criticize the book as disjointed, but I found that the intertwined narratives reinforced many of the themes of the book.

For someone who didn't live through the Nixon Era but loves reading HST, it's wonderful to see him apply his vitriolic wit to a current leader who is commonly reviled. And that's part of the appeal of the book. It's similar in tone and style to his previous works but deals, to some extent, with more current events.

"Not necessarily," I said, "at least not until it turns into a disastrous botch and Bush gets burned at the stake in Washington. Sane is rich and powerful; Insane is wrong and poor and weak. The rich are Free, the poor are put in cages." Res Ipsa Loquitur, Amen, Mahalo...."
Kingdom of Fear, page 9

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