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Keep This Quiet! My Relationship with Hunter S. Thompson, Milton Klonsky, and Jan Mensaert Paperback – September 20, 2011

4.7 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Readers will be privy to never-before-published letters from Hunter Thompson, deepening insight into the turning point in his career and emergence into Gonzo" - Bernie Nelson, The MindQuest Review

"Keep This Quiet offers an illuminating look at Hunter S. Thompson in full throttle trying to make it as a Top Notch prose-stylist. Harrell fills in many important biographical gaps. A welcome addition to what is becoming the HST cottage industry. Read it" - Douglas Brinkley, editor of The Proud Highway and Fear and Loathing in America. 

"KEEP THIS QUIET! a memoir: My Relationship with Hunter S. Thompson, Milton Klonsky, and Jan Mensaert by Margaret A. Harrell is a masterpiece! I never expected to say that about a memoir" - Ron Whitehead, outlaw poet

"If you want to know what the Sixties were really like, read Keep This Quiet: A Memoir. It's all there: the openness, the hope, the ideals, the risks, the highs and lows, the travel, the love" -Robert Morgan, author of Gap Creek and Terroir

"Harrell beautifully tells the story of how her relationships with the three men, predominantly Thompson, progressed, sharing intimate moments and keeping the reader turning the page" - Portland Book Review

"Harrell is an excellent storyteller, in a story that is never about the narrative, but about the real people. Every person in the book is bold and well defined" - San Francisco Book Review "Harrell beautifully tells the story of how her relationships with the three men, predominantly Thompson, progressed, sharing intimate moments and keeping the reader turning the page - Portland Book Review" "If you want to know what the Sixties were really like, read 'Keep This Quiet: A Memoir.' It's all there: the openness, the hope, the ideals, the risks, the highs and lows, the travel, the love" - Robert Morgan, author of "Gap Creek" and "Terroir" "A Feast for the Gonzo Soul"-Martin Flynn, owner of www.hstbooks.org "Margaret Harrell's Keep This Quiet offers an illuminating look at Hunter S. Thompson in full throttle trying to make it as a Top Notch prose-stylist. Harrell fills in many important biographical gaps. A welcome addition to what is becoming the HST cottage industry. Read it"-Douglas Brinkley, editor of The Proud Highway and Fear and Loathing in America "Keep This Quiet! is a moving read and much recommended to any literary studies or memoir collection"-Midwest Book Review "In the ever expanding list of biographies and memoirs about Hunter S. Thompson, this latest offering, Keep This Quiet! by Margaret A. Harrell, is quite simply a breath of fresh air. . . . What sets 'Keep This Quiet!' apart is the extent to which Harrell explores the question of identity and myth, in her quest to simultaneously answer questions concerning her own character and that of one Hunter S. Thompson . . . In closing, this book is a joy to read, particularly for anyone that has that urge to express themselves through the creative arts in all their forms."

From the Author

Hunter begins practically his first letter to me - about Hell's Angels - like this: "It is now four hours and twenty minutes past the midnight hour deadine for my leaving ths house but I'm still here, sitting in a heap of boxes and debris....working on this, my final effort on what now appears to be a doomed book." Yes, that was Hell's Angels. We all know how the story ended, but there's a story there - a Gonzo one - in getting the manscript past the deadline, over the wire, and into the book pages. That's the story of Keep This Quiet! The real close-up, inside look at Hunter in those days. Some commenter on Hell's Angels raise such questions as how much the stomping affected the perspective of the book. Questions like that are answered in Keep This Quiet! In this case, none. Not one bit. The manuscript was already turned in. It was the usual situation for Hunter: Hold the presses!!! There's been a development. And we did.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 258 pages
  • Publisher: Saeculum University Press (September 20, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0983704503
  • ISBN-13: 978-0983704508
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,723,782 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Martin Flynn on September 27, 2011
Format: Paperback
There are folks who enjoy reading Hunter Thompson's work and are happy to leave it there. Then there are those who want more. More being a need to know as much about Hunter's process as possible, the nitty-gritty, who helped him? Who influenced him? Call them freaks if that's your pleasure, Gonzo freaks. I'm one. We are out there. Unashamedly. And we love to see new HST-related stuff.

Margaret A. Harrell showed up to tell me about her new book Keep This Quiet: My Relationship with Hunter S. Thompson, Milton Klonsky, and Jan Mensaert.This is no ordinary book about or including Thompson. It's a memoir detailing personal relationships with three authors, the main focus being on Hunter. I'm going to focus on the HST part but must stress that this book, as a memoir is quite deep and holds the door open for the reader. While Hunter is a huge selling point, the book has the legs to stand alone.

Margaret worked with Hunter as his copy editor (for Random House) on none other than Hell's Angels, his first book. According to Hunter she was the best copy editor he'd ever worked with. The Gonzo freaks among us will remember her getting hefty mentions in Fear and Loathing in America. I'd (needlessly) be inclined to ask myself where does one go from there? Lots of places as it turns out. Harrell clearly had an impact on Hunter, and witnessed the unfolding of the Gonzo legacy. What gives this book more pull is that until now Harrell has never published a word about Hunter. She says "The two other males in this book, I've written about in the past but not Hunter. Never Hunter. I write this book, triggered by his death."

And so she wrote. Looking at the picture of Margaret on the back cover and the few inside she strikes me as being an innocent sort.
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What a special gift to have the thoughts and feelings of this idealistic, intellectual young woman, on the cutting edge of the 60s, a time of great cultural change. Harrell's sense of freedom and exuberance cannot be missed. She articulates the hopeful sense of possibility, excitement, and creativity special to people who were young during that time, and has not lost it.

Margaret Harrell edited Hunter Thompson's "Hells Angels," meeting him as he was finding his power as a writer at 27. She was romantically involved with Hunter, and writes about their relationship, sharing many funny and telling incidents and their personal correspondence for the first time.

Other people in Hunter's milieu appear, and the setting moves from New York to California, and Europe. Two other innovative writers of the 60s who impacted her life, the Flemish poet Jan Mensaert, who would become her husband, and poet Milton Klonsky, are major figures in the book as well.

--Simone Corday is the author of 9 1/2 Years Behind the Green Door: A Mitchell Brothers Stripper Remembers her Lover Artie Mitchell, Hunter S. Thompson, and the Killing that Rocked San Francisco.
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Margaret Harrell brilliantly illuminates the sentiments of three complicated relationships. This memoir is a unique exploration of Margaret's memories, supplemented by letters from her three main characters. The letters allow the reader to become familiar with the men in a way that dialogue cannot. The heart-wrenching ambiguity of what is lost in translation is augmented by this form of conversation. Harrell's writing is crisp and easy to follow. I found it nearly impossible to put the book down. Her adventurous spirit keeps the reader guessing what she will do next, and how these men will manage to keep up. This rare peek into the lives of three literary legends is seen through the eyes of a legend herself. The enthusiasm she brings to each page in her writing is a clear demonstration of her approach to life. Harrell is just as unforgettable as her characters. She has taught me to always search for artistic beauty, even in the most complicated of situations.

I highly recommend Harrell's memoir. I wish there was a sixth star option for the rare, exquisite pieces of literature such as, "Keep This Quiet!"
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Being so royally pissed off at NOT being able to receive THE MUTINEER: RANTS, RAVINGS, MISSIVES FROM THE MOUNTAINTOP, I'm ever so thrilled and delighted to read this 'ginger' tale of a woman who's met all three of these interesting characters. I'm definitely ordering her other book.
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In the ever expanding list of biographies and memoirs about Hunter S. Thompson, this latest offering, Keep This Quiet! by Margaret A. Harrell, is quite simply a breath of fresh air. This is by no means intended as a slight against previous publications, the majority of which are solid and have contributed much to our understanding of Hunter S. Thompson - the man and the myth. However, what sets Keep This Quiet! apart is the extent to which Harrell explores the question of identity and myth, in her quest to simultaneously answer questions concerning her own character and that of one Hunter S. Thompson. As Harrell writes early on - "Who was he? There was no indication how complicated that answer was."

Keep This Quiet! is a fascinating memoir in this regard, one that is multi-faceted in terms of Harrell's own journey of self-discovery, both in a personal and artistic sense and the manner in which this is mirrored by the events of the period, with the tumultuous Sixties marking a nation tragically losing its innocence courtesy of the assassins bullet and the toil of war. It is also, of course, a time of exuberant creativity and this is evident throughout, with Harrell also detailing her relationship with "poète maudit" Jan Mensaert and Greenwich Village "poet genius" Milton Klonsky. Working at Random House placed Harrell at the centre of a literary world and this is reflected by the many different characters that make an appearance - from Hunter's oldest friends William Kennedy and David Pierce to non other than Oscar Zeta Acosta, of whom Harrell includes rare letters that he sent to her concerning getting published at Random House.

It is Harrell's insight into the development of Thompson both as an author and a character that truly set this memoir apart.
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