Hell's Angels

Mass Market Paperback Å Hell's Angels PDF/EPUB ï


Hell's Angels ➺ [Reading] ➼ Hell's Angels By Hunter S. Thompson ➯ – Polishdarling.co.uk In September, a cavalcade of motorbikes ripped through the city of Monterey, California It was a trip destined to make Hell s Angels household names across America, infamous for their violent, drunke In September,a cavalcade of motorbikes ripped through the city of Monterey, California It was a trip destined to make Hell s Angels household names across America, infamous for their violent, drunken rampages and feared for the destruction left in their wakeEnter Hunter S Thompson, the master of counter culture journalism who alone had the ability and stature to ride with the Angels on their terms In this hair raising expose, he journeys with the last outlaws of the American frontierA mixture of journalism, story telling and sheer bravado, Hell s Angels is Hunter S Thompson at full throttle.

    Mass Market Paperback Å Hell's Angels PDF/EPUB ï Hunter S Thompson, the master of counter culture journalism who alone had the ability and stature to ride with the Angels on their terms In this hair raising expose, he journeys with the last outlaws of the American frontierA mixture of journalism, story telling and sheer bravado, Hell s Angels is Hunter S Thompson at full throttle."/>
  • Mass Market Paperback
  • 326 pages
  • Hell's Angels
  • Hunter S. Thompson
  • English
  • 27 October 2017
  • 0241951585

About the Author: Hunter S. Thompson

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 substances and to a lesser extent, alcohol and firearms , his libertarian views, and his iconoclastic contempt for authority He committed suicide in .



10 thoughts on “Hell's Angels

  1. Petra-X Petra-X says:

    I d just read Jay Dobyn s extremely exciting and fully involved No Angel My Harrowing Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hells Angels Dobyn was an undercover cop whose total immersion in Angels culture led to him substituting his real life for what was really a job Because it was so involved, it took me a while to get into Hunter Thompson s cool, cynical, totally detached own year long involvement with the Angels, whose beer, drugs and addiction to speed he was happy to share, but I d just read Jay Dobyn s extremely exciting and fully involved No Angel My Harrowing Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hells Angels Dobyn was an undercover cop whose total immersion in Angels culture led to him substituting his real life for what was really a job Because it was so involved, it took me a while to get into Hunter Thompson s cool, cynical, totally detached own year long involvement with the Angels, whose beer, drugs and addiction to speed he was happy to share, but the rest was left behind when he drove home to his wife and child Although 40 years separate these books there is an enjoyable synchronicity between them some of Thompson s characters turn up in Dobyn s book, and the philosophy or politics of rejection by society s rejects remains the same.Stunning writing No padding, every word of every sentence adds to each developing story Oh to write like that, like an angel.Damn good read

  2. Kinga Kinga says:

    Hunter S Thompson is the writer you want to read if you want to pull all those cool guys They all love him, it seems, so just make a trip to some hipster caf , open one if his books and wait to score.I didn t go for the obvious Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas but instead I read his debut, a non fiction account of his time spent the Hell s Angels, a motorcycle gang It was also the book my book club was reading, so I didn t have that much of a choice Even growing up in the 80s and 90s in Pola Hunter S Thompson is the writer you want to read if you want to pull all those cool guys They all love him, it seems, so just make a trip to some hipster caf , open one if his books and wait to score.I didn t go for the obvious Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas but instead I read his debut, a non fiction account of his time spent the Hell s Angels, a motorcycle gang It was also the book my book club was reading, so I didn t have that much of a choice Even growing up in the 80s and 90s in Poland I had a good idea what a motorcycle gang was The symbolism of it is omnipresent it s like a cultural picklock The members of a motorcycle gang wear cut off dirt denim vest with their club colours, they drive big Harley Davidsons, they have beards and they are scary The message has always been clear don t step on their toes Of course, these days they are most often used for creating a comic effect when a big dangerous bearded thug turns out to be really fond of puppies and wouldn t hurt a fly.It seems that demythologising of Hell s Angels and some other motorcycle gangs was Thompson s main goal in this book On one hand he is trying to do away with the notion that they are the worst threat to the American society by putting their still quite shocking hooligan excesses in perspective On the other hand he is also trying to deromanticise their image and make it clear that they didn t have any agenda and that there was nothing glamorous about them They were mostly a bunch of lowlifes with few prospects that found a sense identity and belonging in joining the gang.The most fascinating part of the book was the role the media played in creating the Hell s Angels The media loved them They were dangerous and flamboyant A little Hell s Angels riot in a small town in California was like a Christmas come early for any journalist No wonder, the media created a story even when there was no story The public wanted it they liked to be scared And the Hell s Angels felt obliged to live up to their reputation.Currently, America has a new boogeyman the terrorists They are just as exciting for the media as Hell s Angels once were They are just as unpredictable, unreasonable and they aim to destroy all that is good and true in America Most of the public has been now driven into such a frenzy they would agree to just about anything to protect themselves from this horrifying threat And I guess we need another Hunter S Thompson to write a book to put things in perspective again

  3. Jonathan Ashleigh Jonathan Ashleigh says:

    I felt this was just too long I don t want to read a 300 page magazine article that doesn t have a cohesive story.

  4. James James says:

    Hunter S Thompson s first book, Hell s Angels is not nearly as gonzo or as good as his later writings and not nearly as fresh and fascinating as, say, Electric Kool Aid Acid Test Hell s Angels is a farstraightforward piece of journalism than HST s later work but it is still an interesting read some 45 years on certainly no small feat.For one, it is cursorily interesting in how Hell s Angels has quickly become outdated with references like, Hell, eight dollars was a case of beer and Hunter S Thompson s first book, Hell s Angels is not nearly as gonzo or as good as his later writings and not nearly as fresh and fascinating as, say, Electric Kool Aid Acid Test Hell s Angels is a farstraightforward piece of journalism than HST s later work but it is still an interesting read some 45 years on certainly no small feat.For one, it is cursorily interesting in how Hell s Angels has quickly become outdated with references like, Hell, eight dollars was a case of beer and gas back to Oakland Because now eight dollars will probably get you a 6 pack or enough gas to get out of the station.Butimportantly than that, Hell s Angels, written about a 3 year period 64 66 , describes a country s utter fixation and fear about a perceived menace And reading it in 2008, it all seems rather quaint and foolish Motorcycle gangs Really The subtitle is A Strange and Terrible Saga Reading it now, it just doesn t seem very strange and terrible at all And not much of a saga either.And that makes me wonder about our current era s perceived threats Terrorists Immigrants Religious Fundamentalists Health Care Global Warming Food Production Disease Radical Economists Nefarious CEOs Dwindling Natural Resources Greedy and Compromised Politicians Will they all seem quaint and insignificant in forty years I read books like The Shock Doctrine and Under the Banner of Heaven and Fiasco, and confidently throw them across the room in a violent rage knowing that I have found our age s plague How na ve and simple am I So what wicked monsters wait for us in the future to render our current perils dust bunnies in a dollhouse Hell s Angels is important, like all of Thompson s writing, for his uncanny ability to summarize the consequence of whatever it is he has set his special acuity upon, this case motorcycle gangs In Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas it was the American Dream and the 70s hippie movement In Hell s Angels, Thompson does not, nor did he ever, shy from bludgeoning his subjects with the cruel truth HST had a special ability to place his topics in context, which, if you read Pierre Bayard, is all that matters

  5. Mike Mike says:

    Far from being freaks, the Hell s Angels are a logical product of the culture that now claims to be shocked at their existencefor twenty years they have sat with their children and watched yesterday s outlaws raise hell with yesterday s worldand now they are bringing up children who think Jesse James is a television character This is the generation that went to war for Mom, God and Apple Butter, the American Way of Life When they came back, they crowned Eisenhower and then retired to the Far from being freaks, the Hell s Angels are a logical product of the culture that now claims to be shocked at their existencefor twenty years they have sat with their children and watched yesterday s outlaws raise hell with yesterday s worldand now they are bringing up children who think Jesse James is a television character This is the generation that went to war for Mom, God and Apple Butter, the American Way of Life When they came back, they crowned Eisenhower and then retired to the giddy comfort of their TV parlors, to cultivate the subtleties of American history as seen through Hollywood.To them the appearance of the Hell s Angels must have seemed like a wonderful publicity stuntCharles Starkweather had something extra too, but he couldn t get an agent, and instead of taking his vitality to Hollywood, he freaked out in Wyoming and killed a dozen people for reasons he couldn t explain So the state put him to death There were other outlaws who missed the brass ring in the fifties Lenny Bruce was one he was never quite right for television Bruce had tremendous promise until about 1961, when the people who d been getting such a kick out of him suddenly realized he was serious Just like Starkweather was seriousand like the Hell s Angels are serious.A wild and prescient book that starts out a bit unevenly the early chapters read like fairly standard magazine pieces but the longer sections showcase some of Thompson s very best writing He immersed himself in the Angels world riding with them, inviting them into his living room to get drunk and listen to Bob Dylan, while first indicating the loaded shotgun he kept on his walland finally getting stomped, kind of like Timothy Treadwell, who lived with grizzlies for ten years before his luck ran out Thompson charts a path between the counterculture s romantic notions of the Angels on one hand and the sensationalism of the media on the other Ginsberg and Kesey and much of the Bay Area counterculture, it seems were initially enthralled by the Angels, but the honeymoon ended when the bikers attacked an anti Vietnam protest in Berkley Sonny Barger, leader of the Oakland chapter, later wrote to Lyndon Johnson, offering the Angels services behind the lines in Vietnam Altamont came a few years later The most prescient writers are often those who are less concerned with making predictions than with paying attention to the present moment Thompson wasn t under any illusions he describes the Angels outlook as essentially fascist but by spending so much time with them, he was able to come away with a compelling vision of how they had become what they were, and what that said about America True, the most frightening bikers these days don t do much worse than gun it while loitering outside 7 11, but Thompson s notion that there is not much mental distance between a feeling of having been screwed over and an ethic of total retaliation has a striking resonance in modern America But it would be better to quote at length For nearly a year I had lived in a world that seemed, at first, like something original It was obvious from the beginning that the menace bore little resemblance to its publicized image, but there was a certain pleasure in sharing the Angels amusement at the stir they d created Later, as they attractedandattention, the mystique was stretched so thin that it finally became transparent One afternoon as I sat in the El Adobe and watched an Angel sell a handful of barbiturate pills to a brace of pimply punks nothan sixteen, I realized that the roots of this act were not in any time honored American myth but right beneath my feet in a new kind of society that is only beginning to take shape To see the Hell s Angels as caretakers of the old individualist tradition that made this country great is only a painless way to get around seeing them for what they really are not some romantic leftover, but the first wave of a future that nothing in our history has prepared us to cope with The Angels are prototypes Their lack of education has not only rendered them completely useless in a highly technical economy, but it has also given them the leisure to cultivate a powerful resentmentand to translate it into a destructive cult which the mass media insists on portraying as a sort of isolated oddity, a temporary phenomenon that will shortly become extinct now that it s been called to the attention of the policeThere is not much mental distance between a feeling of having been screwed and the ethic of total retaliation, or at least the kind of random revenge that comes with outraging the public decencyIn the terms of our Great Society the Hell s Angels and their ilk are losers dropouts, failures and malcontents They are rejects looking to get even with a world in which they are only a problem The Hell s Angels are not visionaries, but diehards, and if they are the forerunners or the vanguard of anything it is not the moral revolution in vogue on college campuses, but a fast growing legion of young unemployables whose untapped energy will inevitably find the same kind of destructive outlet that outlaws like the Hell s Angels have been finding for years The difference between the student radicals and the Hell s Angels is that the students are rebelling against the past, while the Angels are fighting the future Their only common ground is their disdain for the present

  6. Brandon Brandon says:

    I just read this for perhaps the fifth time From this book up to about 1978 Hunter was at his peak and every book he wrote in that period is writing of the highest order The guy was a major American prose stylist Those of you who may scoff at this assertion will one day realize that I m right Hunter doesn t get nearly enough credit for being the very intelligent guy he was, and that intelligence is very visible in this book, written before the character of Hunter Thompson was developed enoug I just read this for perhaps the fifth time From this book up to about 1978 Hunter was at his peak and every book he wrote in that period is writing of the highest order The guy was a major American prose stylist Those of you who may scoff at this assertion will one day realize that I m right Hunter doesn t get nearly enough credit for being the very intelligent guy he was, and that intelligence is very visible in this book, written before the character of Hunter Thompson was developed enough to get in between the text and the reader The guy simply knows his shit His use of literary references alone is interesting, revealing a real understanding of just about everything that had come before, especially everything American If somebody hasn t written a thesis comparing Hunter to Mark Twain yet, they should If you scoff at that, go read Life on the Mississippi and then call me Also, Hunter was a very good, very professional journalist All his facts are straight, his figures are correct and his opinions and analysis are always labeled as such This is a home run

  7. Cbj Cbj says:

    SPOILERS ALERT Hell s Angel s is an account of the exaggerated myths, the terrible truths, the origins, motivations and the ethos of the motorcycle gang that terrorized American cities and small towns in the 1960s A substantial portion of the book is dedicated to disproving the myths about the Angel s which were created by the paranoid American media Thompson investigates negative news reports about the Angels and shows how most of them were biased and hollow But he also harbors no illus SPOILERS ALERT Hell s Angel s is an account of the exaggerated myths, the terrible truths, the origins, motivations and the ethos of the motorcycle gang that terrorized American cities and small towns in the 1960s A substantial portion of the book is dedicated to disproving the myths about the Angel s which were created by the paranoid American media Thompson investigates negative news reports about the Angels and shows how most of them were biased and hollow But he also harbors no illusions about the Angels He writes about them with a mix of fascination and disgust While he is mostly sympathetic to their cause which involves getting riding across the country on motorcycles, getting stone drunk and occasionally raping women , he does admit that he would have pulled a gun if the Angel s ever rode into the town where he lived He also busts any romantic notions that hippies, anti war activists Ken Kesey and Allen Ginsberg and student activists might have about the Angel s by showing that despite their anti social image, they were fiercely patriotic and also very racist Thompson traces their origins to the Linkhorns who came to California as slave laborers The Second World War left many of these Linkhorns with separation bonuses which they spent on motorcycles in a new rootless world When it came to women, the Angels were not unlike conservative religious societies They were men who would not shy away from rape, often indulging in gang rape of women who ditched a member or gave out information to the wrong people Even though the subject matter is very interesting, a book like this can end up as a failure in the hands of a lesser writer While I found the first 100 pages to be a bit tedious with Thompson rebutting many negative articles about the Angels and their celebrity, there were some interesting bits like when he explains why California was the perfect home for the Angels His description of the Angel s machines Harley 74 s and how they came into being went a little over my head because I am not interested in bikes Thompson writes clear sentences of medium length His humor and there is a lot of it is caged in with occasional outbursts His commentary on why the whole of American is fascinated with the Hell s Angels is what truly makes this book a pleasure to read For example There is an important difference between the words losers and outlaw One is passive and the other is active, and the main reason the Angels are such good copy is that they are acting out the day dreams of millions of losers who don t wear any defiant insignia and who don t know how to be outlaws The streets of every city are thronged with men who would pay all the money they could get their hands on to be transformed even for a day into hairy, hard fisted brutes who walk over cops, extort free drinks from terrified bartenders and thunder out of town on big motorcycles after raping the banker s daughter Even people who think the Angels should all be put to sleep find it easy to identify with them They command a fascination, however reluctant, that borders on psychic masturbation. In the end, this book is about Hunter.S.Thompson as much as it is about the Hell s Angels You ve got to admire this man He was married with a kid when he collected material for this book He got in his car and followed the Hell s Angels across America, often sleeping in his car which had a large beer cooler He became friends with some of the Angels and lived with them for almost a year, hanging out with them in bars, taking drugs and even riding with them It was a life well lived

  8. P.E. P.E. says:

    A well rounded survey of the gang in their forrays, their ramblings, their symbols, their coverage, and their blunders too.Matching Soundtrack Peasantry Or Light Inside of Light GSY BE

  9. R.K. Gold R.K. Gold says:

    This was the first hunter Thompson book I ever read and made me an instant fan of his work.Talk about a man who wanted to see the world from every angle The scene I remember most was when he talked about the Angels getting hooked on acid It was one thing they had in common with the hippies they hated, the difference being the angels didn t necessarily take LSD because they loved its effects While the merry pranksters were all about the hallucinations, the angels only took it because it was th This was the first hunter Thompson book I ever read and made me an instant fan of his work.Talk about a man who wanted to see the world from every angle The scene I remember most was when he talked about the Angels getting hooked on acid It was one thing they had in common with the hippies they hated, the difference being the angels didn t necessarily take LSD because they loved its effects While the merry pranksters were all about the hallucinations, the angels only took it because it was the cheapest drug they could find and any high was better than being sober

  10. Kate Kate says:

    Trigger Warning violence, rape, etc.Hunter S Thompson s Hell s Angels purports to be an inside look at the Hell s Angels motorcycle gang, but in the end it s littlethan Thompson striking poses as an insider and issuing apologias for everything the Angels have done or are alleged to have done For example, he frequently refers to them as rapists and to their penchant for rape , but when it comes to specific incidents, he becomes a rape apologist, resorting to tactics ranging from the r Trigger Warning violence, rape, etc.Hunter S Thompson s Hell s Angels purports to be an inside look at the Hell s Angels motorcycle gang, but in the end it s littlethan Thompson striking poses as an insider and issuing apologias for everything the Angels have done or are alleged to have done For example, he frequently refers to them as rapists and to their penchant for rape , but when it comes to specific incidents, he becomes a rape apologist, resorting to tactics ranging from the ridiculous to the outright misogynist to explain it away Either it never really happened, or the girls women involved wanted it, or it was wrong, but was it really rape that sort of thing He refers often to their love of violence, but considers it either overblown or rather charming until he gets stomped himself Incidentally, it isn t until he falls out of favor with the Angels and is later stomped that he manages to take a clearer look at what their lifestyle entails actual violence with real consequences poverty drug abuse ultimately, a dead end existence He throws in some decline of American culture and new, evil delinquency of America s youth business for good measure I thought he d been using too much acid and casually observing too many gang rapes to have any room to speak there, but I imagine Mr Thompson disagreed The casualness of his attitude towards the Hell s Angels violence against women and outright misogyny is only surpassed by his casual embrace of their racism The Angels enthusiastically display Nazi symbols swastikas primarily , but when confronted by the press, they typically deny being actual Nazi sympathizers and claim they just want to freak people out but you know, there were some good things about those Nazis, of course, the way they had each others backs and all Thompson lets all of this slide Maybe the rest of the press did, too Thompson does like to point to the three or four Angels affiliates who don t happen to be white, even though he writes clearly later in the book that one in particular will never get in because he s black The Angels throw around racial slurs with abandon and disparage those scary, angry black people who keep rioting the book is set in, and was originally published in, the early to mid 1960s , as do the police Thompson lets it all pass He goes out of his way to note that the Angels are capable of getting along with mostly black motorcycle gangs, and uses that to excuse their obvious racism Ultimately, I don t feel like I learned much about the Hell s Angels from Hunter S Thompson I feel as though I learned about how Hunter S Thompson felt special being allowed to hang out with the Angels for about a year, and how he used that time to try to explain away every bad thing anyone could ever say about America s most notorious motorcycle gang He idolized them as outlaws using an odd definition of outlaw that later also included Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, and Charlie Starkweather some of these are not like the others I mean REALLY He waxed poetic about how some people found them heroic, but never said why anyone would find them worth looking up to Maybe the book as a whole is the answer to that nearly three hundred pages of a writer who liked to party and felt like he got to roll with the Cool Kids for a while

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10 thoughts on “Hell's Angels

  1. Petra-X Petra-X says:

    I d just read Jay Dobyn s extremely exciting and fully involved No Angel My Harrowing Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hells Angels Dobyn was an undercover cop whose total immersion in Angels culture led to him substituting his real life for what was really a job Because it was so involved, it took me a while to get into Hunter Thompson s cool, cynical, totally detached own year long involvement with the Angels, whose beer, drugs and addiction to speed he was happy to share, but I d just read Jay Dobyn s extremely exciting and fully involved No Angel My Harrowing Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hells Angels Dobyn was an undercover cop whose total immersion in Angels culture led to him substituting his real life for what was really a job Because it was so involved, it took me a while to get into Hunter Thompson s cool, cynical, totally detached own year long involvement with the Angels, whose beer, drugs and addiction to speed he was happy to share, but the rest was left behind when he drove home to his wife and child Although 40 years separate these books there is an enjoyable synchronicity between them some of Thompson s characters turn up in Dobyn s book, and the philosophy or politics of rejection by society s rejects remains the same.Stunning writing No padding, every word of every sentence adds to each developing story Oh to write like that, like an angel.Damn good read


  2. Kinga Kinga says:

    Hunter S Thompson is the writer you want to read if you want to pull all those cool guys They all love him, it seems, so just make a trip to some hipster caf , open one if his books and wait to score.I didn t go for the obvious Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas but instead I read his debut, a non fiction account of his time spent the Hell s Angels, a motorcycle gang It was also the book my book club was reading, so I didn t have that much of a choice Even growing up in the 80s and 90s in Pola Hunter S Thompson is the writer you want to read if you want to pull all those cool guys They all love him, it seems, so just make a trip to some hipster caf , open one if his books and wait to score.I didn t go for the obvious Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas but instead I read his debut, a non fiction account of his time spent the Hell s Angels, a motorcycle gang It was also the book my book club was reading, so I didn t have that much of a choice Even growing up in the 80s and 90s in Poland I had a good idea what a motorcycle gang was The symbolism of it is omnipresent it s like a cultural picklock The members of a motorcycle gang wear cut off dirt denim vest with their club colours, they drive big Harley Davidsons, they have beards and they are scary The message has always been clear don t step on their toes Of course, these days they are most often used for creating a comic effect when a big dangerous bearded thug turns out to be really fond of puppies and wouldn t hurt a fly.It seems that demythologising of Hell s Angels and some other motorcycle gangs was Thompson s main goal in this book On one hand he is trying to do away with the notion that they are the worst threat to the American society by putting their still quite shocking hooligan excesses in perspective On the other hand he is also trying to deromanticise their image and make it clear that they didn t have any agenda and that there was nothing glamorous about them They were mostly a bunch of lowlifes with few prospects that found a sense identity and belonging in joining the gang.The most fascinating part of the book was the role the media played in creating the Hell s Angels The media loved them They were dangerous and flamboyant A little Hell s Angels riot in a small town in California was like a Christmas come early for any journalist No wonder, the media created a story even when there was no story The public wanted it they liked to be scared And the Hell s Angels felt obliged to live up to their reputation.Currently, America has a new boogeyman the terrorists They are just as exciting for the media as Hell s Angels once were They are just as unpredictable, unreasonable and they aim to destroy all that is good and true in America Most of the public has been now driven into such a frenzy they would agree to just about anything to protect themselves from this horrifying threat And I guess we need another Hunter S Thompson to write a book to put things in perspective again


  3. Jonathan Ashleigh Jonathan Ashleigh says:

    I felt this was just too long I don t want to read a 300 page magazine article that doesn t have a cohesive story.


  4. James James says:

    Hunter S Thompson s first book, Hell s Angels is not nearly as gonzo or as good as his later writings and not nearly as fresh and fascinating as, say, Electric Kool Aid Acid Test Hell s Angels is a farstraightforward piece of journalism than HST s later work but it is still an interesting read some 45 years on certainly no small feat.For one, it is cursorily interesting in how Hell s Angels has quickly become outdated with references like, Hell, eight dollars was a case of beer and Hunter S Thompson s first book, Hell s Angels is not nearly as gonzo or as good as his later writings and not nearly as fresh and fascinating as, say, Electric Kool Aid Acid Test Hell s Angels is a farstraightforward piece of journalism than HST s later work but it is still an interesting read some 45 years on certainly no small feat.For one, it is cursorily interesting in how Hell s Angels has quickly become outdated with references like, Hell, eight dollars was a case of beer and gas back to Oakland Because now eight dollars will probably get you a 6 pack or enough gas to get out of the station.Butimportantly than that, Hell s Angels, written about a 3 year period 64 66 , describes a country s utter fixation and fear about a perceived menace And reading it in 2008, it all seems rather quaint and foolish Motorcycle gangs Really The subtitle is A Strange and Terrible Saga Reading it now, it just doesn t seem very strange and terrible at all And not much of a saga either.And that makes me wonder about our current era s perceived threats Terrorists Immigrants Religious Fundamentalists Health Care Global Warming Food Production Disease Radical Economists Nefarious CEOs Dwindling Natural Resources Greedy and Compromised Politicians Will they all seem quaint and insignificant in forty years I read books like The Shock Doctrine and Under the Banner of Heaven and Fiasco, and confidently throw them across the room in a violent rage knowing that I have found our age s plague How na ve and simple am I So what wicked monsters wait for us in the future to render our current perils dust bunnies in a dollhouse Hell s Angels is important, like all of Thompson s writing, for his uncanny ability to summarize the consequence of whatever it is he has set his special acuity upon, this case motorcycle gangs In Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas it was the American Dream and the 70s hippie movement In Hell s Angels, Thompson does not, nor did he ever, shy from bludgeoning his subjects with the cruel truth HST had a special ability to place his topics in context, which, if you read Pierre Bayard, is all that matters


  5. Mike Mike says:

    Far from being freaks, the Hell s Angels are a logical product of the culture that now claims to be shocked at their existencefor twenty years they have sat with their children and watched yesterday s outlaws raise hell with yesterday s worldand now they are bringing up children who think Jesse James is a television character This is the generation that went to war for Mom, God and Apple Butter, the American Way of Life When they came back, they crowned Eisenhower and then retired to the Far from being freaks, the Hell s Angels are a logical product of the culture that now claims to be shocked at their existencefor twenty years they have sat with their children and watched yesterday s outlaws raise hell with yesterday s worldand now they are bringing up children who think Jesse James is a television character This is the generation that went to war for Mom, God and Apple Butter, the American Way of Life When they came back, they crowned Eisenhower and then retired to the giddy comfort of their TV parlors, to cultivate the subtleties of American history as seen through Hollywood.To them the appearance of the Hell s Angels must have seemed like a wonderful publicity stuntCharles Starkweather had something extra too, but he couldn t get an agent, and instead of taking his vitality to Hollywood, he freaked out in Wyoming and killed a dozen people for reasons he couldn t explain So the state put him to death There were other outlaws who missed the brass ring in the fifties Lenny Bruce was one he was never quite right for television Bruce had tremendous promise until about 1961, when the people who d been getting such a kick out of him suddenly realized he was serious Just like Starkweather was seriousand like the Hell s Angels are serious.A wild and prescient book that starts out a bit unevenly the early chapters read like fairly standard magazine pieces but the longer sections showcase some of Thompson s very best writing He immersed himself in the Angels world riding with them, inviting them into his living room to get drunk and listen to Bob Dylan, while first indicating the loaded shotgun he kept on his walland finally getting stomped, kind of like Timothy Treadwell, who lived with grizzlies for ten years before his luck ran out Thompson charts a path between the counterculture s romantic notions of the Angels on one hand and the sensationalism of the media on the other Ginsberg and Kesey and much of the Bay Area counterculture, it seems were initially enthralled by the Angels, but the honeymoon ended when the bikers attacked an anti Vietnam protest in Berkley Sonny Barger, leader of the Oakland chapter, later wrote to Lyndon Johnson, offering the Angels services behind the lines in Vietnam Altamont came a few years later The most prescient writers are often those who are less concerned with making predictions than with paying attention to the present moment Thompson wasn t under any illusions he describes the Angels outlook as essentially fascist but by spending so much time with them, he was able to come away with a compelling vision of how they had become what they were, and what that said about America True, the most frightening bikers these days don t do much worse than gun it while loitering outside 7 11, but Thompson s notion that there is not much mental distance between a feeling of having been screwed over and an ethic of total retaliation has a striking resonance in modern America But it would be better to quote at length For nearly a year I had lived in a world that seemed, at first, like something original It was obvious from the beginning that the menace bore little resemblance to its publicized image, but there was a certain pleasure in sharing the Angels amusement at the stir they d created Later, as they attractedandattention, the mystique was stretched so thin that it finally became transparent One afternoon as I sat in the El Adobe and watched an Angel sell a handful of barbiturate pills to a brace of pimply punks nothan sixteen, I realized that the roots of this act were not in any time honored American myth but right beneath my feet in a new kind of society that is only beginning to take shape To see the Hell s Angels as caretakers of the old individualist tradition that made this country great is only a painless way to get around seeing them for what they really are not some romantic leftover, but the first wave of a future that nothing in our history has prepared us to cope with The Angels are prototypes Their lack of education has not only rendered them completely useless in a highly technical economy, but it has also given them the leisure to cultivate a powerful resentmentand to translate it into a destructive cult which the mass media insists on portraying as a sort of isolated oddity, a temporary phenomenon that will shortly become extinct now that it s been called to the attention of the policeThere is not much mental distance between a feeling of having been screwed and the ethic of total retaliation, or at least the kind of random revenge that comes with outraging the public decencyIn the terms of our Great Society the Hell s Angels and their ilk are losers dropouts, failures and malcontents They are rejects looking to get even with a world in which they are only a problem The Hell s Angels are not visionaries, but diehards, and if they are the forerunners or the vanguard of anything it is not the moral revolution in vogue on college campuses, but a fast growing legion of young unemployables whose untapped energy will inevitably find the same kind of destructive outlet that outlaws like the Hell s Angels have been finding for years The difference between the student radicals and the Hell s Angels is that the students are rebelling against the past, while the Angels are fighting the future Their only common ground is their disdain for the present


  6. Brandon Brandon says:

    I just read this for perhaps the fifth time From this book up to about 1978 Hunter was at his peak and every book he wrote in that period is writing of the highest order The guy was a major American prose stylist Those of you who may scoff at this assertion will one day realize that I m right Hunter doesn t get nearly enough credit for being the very intelligent guy he was, and that intelligence is very visible in this book, written before the character of Hunter Thompson was developed enoug I just read this for perhaps the fifth time From this book up to about 1978 Hunter was at his peak and every book he wrote in that period is writing of the highest order The guy was a major American prose stylist Those of you who may scoff at this assertion will one day realize that I m right Hunter doesn t get nearly enough credit for being the very intelligent guy he was, and that intelligence is very visible in this book, written before the character of Hunter Thompson was developed enough to get in between the text and the reader The guy simply knows his shit His use of literary references alone is interesting, revealing a real understanding of just about everything that had come before, especially everything American If somebody hasn t written a thesis comparing Hunter to Mark Twain yet, they should If you scoff at that, go read Life on the Mississippi and then call me Also, Hunter was a very good, very professional journalist All his facts are straight, his figures are correct and his opinions and analysis are always labeled as such This is a home run


  7. Cbj Cbj says:

    SPOILERS ALERT Hell s Angel s is an account of the exaggerated myths, the terrible truths, the origins, motivations and the ethos of the motorcycle gang that terrorized American cities and small towns in the 1960s A substantial portion of the book is dedicated to disproving the myths about the Angel s which were created by the paranoid American media Thompson investigates negative news reports about the Angels and shows how most of them were biased and hollow But he also harbors no illus SPOILERS ALERT Hell s Angel s is an account of the exaggerated myths, the terrible truths, the origins, motivations and the ethos of the motorcycle gang that terrorized American cities and small towns in the 1960s A substantial portion of the book is dedicated to disproving the myths about the Angel s which were created by the paranoid American media Thompson investigates negative news reports about the Angels and shows how most of them were biased and hollow But he also harbors no illusions about the Angels He writes about them with a mix of fascination and disgust While he is mostly sympathetic to their cause which involves getting riding across the country on motorcycles, getting stone drunk and occasionally raping women , he does admit that he would have pulled a gun if the Angel s ever rode into the town where he lived He also busts any romantic notions that hippies, anti war activists Ken Kesey and Allen Ginsberg and student activists might have about the Angel s by showing that despite their anti social image, they were fiercely patriotic and also very racist Thompson traces their origins to the Linkhorns who came to California as slave laborers The Second World War left many of these Linkhorns with separation bonuses which they spent on motorcycles in a new rootless world When it came to women, the Angels were not unlike conservative religious societies They were men who would not shy away from rape, often indulging in gang rape of women who ditched a member or gave out information to the wrong people Even though the subject matter is very interesting, a book like this can end up as a failure in the hands of a lesser writer While I found the first 100 pages to be a bit tedious with Thompson rebutting many negative articles about the Angels and their celebrity, there were some interesting bits like when he explains why California was the perfect home for the Angels His description of the Angel s machines Harley 74 s and how they came into being went a little over my head because I am not interested in bikes Thompson writes clear sentences of medium length His humor and there is a lot of it is caged in with occasional outbursts His commentary on why the whole of American is fascinated with the Hell s Angels is what truly makes this book a pleasure to read For example There is an important difference between the words losers and outlaw One is passive and the other is active, and the main reason the Angels are such good copy is that they are acting out the day dreams of millions of losers who don t wear any defiant insignia and who don t know how to be outlaws The streets of every city are thronged with men who would pay all the money they could get their hands on to be transformed even for a day into hairy, hard fisted brutes who walk over cops, extort free drinks from terrified bartenders and thunder out of town on big motorcycles after raping the banker s daughter Even people who think the Angels should all be put to sleep find it easy to identify with them They command a fascination, however reluctant, that borders on psychic masturbation. In the end, this book is about Hunter.S.Thompson as much as it is about the Hell s Angels You ve got to admire this man He was married with a kid when he collected material for this book He got in his car and followed the Hell s Angels across America, often sleeping in his car which had a large beer cooler He became friends with some of the Angels and lived with them for almost a year, hanging out with them in bars, taking drugs and even riding with them It was a life well lived


  8. P.E. P.E. says:

    A well rounded survey of the gang in their forrays, their ramblings, their symbols, their coverage, and their blunders too.Matching Soundtrack Peasantry Or Light Inside of Light GSY BE


  9. R.K. Gold R.K. Gold says:

    This was the first hunter Thompson book I ever read and made me an instant fan of his work.Talk about a man who wanted to see the world from every angle The scene I remember most was when he talked about the Angels getting hooked on acid It was one thing they had in common with the hippies they hated, the difference being the angels didn t necessarily take LSD because they loved its effects While the merry pranksters were all about the hallucinations, the angels only took it because it was th This was the first hunter Thompson book I ever read and made me an instant fan of his work.Talk about a man who wanted to see the world from every angle The scene I remember most was when he talked about the Angels getting hooked on acid It was one thing they had in common with the hippies they hated, the difference being the angels didn t necessarily take LSD because they loved its effects While the merry pranksters were all about the hallucinations, the angels only took it because it was the cheapest drug they could find and any high was better than being sober


  10. Kate Kate says:

    Trigger Warning violence, rape, etc.Hunter S Thompson s Hell s Angels purports to be an inside look at the Hell s Angels motorcycle gang, but in the end it s littlethan Thompson striking poses as an insider and issuing apologias for everything the Angels have done or are alleged to have done For example, he frequently refers to them as rapists and to their penchant for rape , but when it comes to specific incidents, he becomes a rape apologist, resorting to tactics ranging from the r Trigger Warning violence, rape, etc.Hunter S Thompson s Hell s Angels purports to be an inside look at the Hell s Angels motorcycle gang, but in the end it s littlethan Thompson striking poses as an insider and issuing apologias for everything the Angels have done or are alleged to have done For example, he frequently refers to them as rapists and to their penchant for rape , but when it comes to specific incidents, he becomes a rape apologist, resorting to tactics ranging from the ridiculous to the outright misogynist to explain it away Either it never really happened, or the girls women involved wanted it, or it was wrong, but was it really rape that sort of thing He refers often to their love of violence, but considers it either overblown or rather charming until he gets stomped himself Incidentally, it isn t until he falls out of favor with the Angels and is later stomped that he manages to take a clearer look at what their lifestyle entails actual violence with real consequences poverty drug abuse ultimately, a dead end existence He throws in some decline of American culture and new, evil delinquency of America s youth business for good measure I thought he d been using too much acid and casually observing too many gang rapes to have any room to speak there, but I imagine Mr Thompson disagreed The casualness of his attitude towards the Hell s Angels violence against women and outright misogyny is only surpassed by his casual embrace of their racism The Angels enthusiastically display Nazi symbols swastikas primarily , but when confronted by the press, they typically deny being actual Nazi sympathizers and claim they just want to freak people out but you know, there were some good things about those Nazis, of course, the way they had each others backs and all Thompson lets all of this slide Maybe the rest of the press did, too Thompson does like to point to the three or four Angels affiliates who don t happen to be white, even though he writes clearly later in the book that one in particular will never get in because he s black The Angels throw around racial slurs with abandon and disparage those scary, angry black people who keep rioting the book is set in, and was originally published in, the early to mid 1960s , as do the police Thompson lets it all pass He goes out of his way to note that the Angels are capable of getting along with mostly black motorcycle gangs, and uses that to excuse their obvious racism Ultimately, I don t feel like I learned much about the Hell s Angels from Hunter S Thompson I feel as though I learned about how Hunter S Thompson felt special being allowed to hang out with the Angels for about a year, and how he used that time to try to explain away every bad thing anyone could ever say about America s most notorious motorcycle gang He idolized them as outlaws using an odd definition of outlaw that later also included Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, and Charlie Starkweather some of these are not like the others I mean REALLY He waxed poetic about how some people found them heroic, but never said why anyone would find them worth looking up to Maybe the book as a whole is the answer to that nearly three hundred pages of a writer who liked to party and felt like he got to roll with the Cool Kids for a while


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