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Hell's Angels

A Strange and Terrible Saga
Thompson, Hunter S. (Paperback - 1996)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Hell's Angels
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"California, Labor Day weekend . . . early, with ocean fog still in the streets, outlaw motorcyclists wearing chains, shades and greasy Levis roll out from damp garages, all-night diners and cast-off one-night pads in Frisco, Hollywood, Berdoo and East Oakland, heading for the Monterey peninsula, north of Big Sur. . . The Menace is loose again." Thus begins Hunter S. Thompson's vivid account of his experiences with California's most no-torious motorcycle gang, the Hell's Angels. In the mid-1960s, Thompson spent almost two years living with the controversial An-gels, cycling up and down the coast, reveling in the anarchic spirit of their clan, and, as befits their name, raising hell. His book successfully captures a singular moment in American history, when the biker lifestyle was first defined, and when such countercultural movements were electrifying and horrifying America. Thompson, the creator of Gonzo journalism, writes with his usual bravado, energy, and brutal honesty, and with a nuanced and incisive eye; as The New Yorker pointed out, "For all its uninhibited and sardonic humor, Thompson's book is a thoughtful piece of work." As illuminating now as when originally published in 1967, Hell's Angels is a gripping portrait, and the best account we have of the truth behind an American legend. From the Hardcover edition.
Authors: Thompson, Hunter S.
Title: Hell's angels
a strange and terrible saga
Published: New York, Ballantine Books, 1996, c1995.
Edition: 1st Ballantine Books trade ed.
Characteristics: 273 p. :,21 cm.
Notes: Originally published: New York : Random House, 1967.
Local Note: 1
Alternate Title: Hell's angels
ISBN: 0345410084
Branch Call Number: 364.1066 THO
Statement of Responsibility: Hunter S. Thompson
Subject Headings: Motorcycle gangs California. Hell's Angels.
Topical Term: Motorcycle gangs
LCCN: 96096723
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I first read this as a teenager in the 70's and re-read it to see how it was today. It still holds a certain fascination and gives a good insight to the gang culture from the distance of history and hindsight.

May 02, 2011
  • blackcaesar rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Hilarious and bizzarre, definatly entertaining but loses steam in the last section. Still a great read though. B+

d n f - not very exciding read

Nov 26, 2010
  • bigred894 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Hunter holds himself back and lets the story tell itself. That's is both good and bad. I am a big fan of his Gonzo-style and must admit I missed it. In "Hell's Angels" his writing style was supplanted by the lifestyle he adopted for a year in order to journalize the "trips" of the notorious California Motorcycle gang. Unless you were previously exposed to some (true) stories of the Hell's Angels, much of this book will be eye-opening for the gang did and didn't do. I hadn't been and only knew the myth perpatrated by the media. Hunter does his best to expose the NY Times, Time Magazine and others for their taget-picking, fear-baiting, if-we-printed-it-it-must-be-real style of reporting and de-myths many of the groups exploits. Hunter focuses his story of two or three "runs" the Angel's take. He captures the anti-social attitudes and behaviors of the gang without judging and relates the booze, pills, sex and thuggery stories without embellishment (or so it seemed to me). Read this book if you've ever wondered what the gang life was like for this group of misfits '60's drop-outs. Read this book if you enjoy HST and his eye for the real story.

Jul 06, 2010
  • cdfisher rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

WOW! Another great book by Hunter. I think everyone needs to read this at least once.

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