- Paperback: 273 pages
- Publisher: Ballantine Books; 1st Ballantine Books trade ed edition (September 29, 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780345410085
- ISBN-13: 978-0345410085
- ASIN: 0345410084
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 431 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,984 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Hell's Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga Paperback – September 29, 1996
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"Thompson has presented us with a close view of a world most of us would never encounter. His language is brilliant, his eye remarkable."
--The New York Times Book Review
"Superb and terrifying." --Studs Terkel, Chicago Tribune
From the Inside Flap
"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.
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Top customer reviews
With respect to the content, I guess I expected more detailed personal first hand experiences rather than summaries of historical events so I pulled 1 star away for that. To be fair, Thompson added some notes regarding the Angels' side of the story, but nonetheless I felt a bit deceived as I expected the book to be all first hand knowledge given that he had supposedly ridden with the Angels for a year. I was also disappointed that his version of "riding" with the Angels consisted of riding to their hangouts on a bike, but for longer runs such as Bass Lake he took his car - how lame is that?
One curiosity was the post script which referred to an event (which I won't divulge out of respect for the readers who haven't yet read the book) which took place after he wrote the book. According to Hunter's account, the event came out of the blue with no provocation at all. I find that somewhat suspicious and would be interested in knowing a little more detail on what precipitated that particular event. Perhaps it is as he described, but I just got the feeling that there was more to it than met the eye.
All in all, if one is truly interested in the subject matter I feel the book is worth the read because it's considered by some a classic, but more importantly because it contains another angle not addressed in other books recounting HAMC history and events. (namely Sonny Barger's Hells Angel: The Life and Times of Sonny Barger and the Hell's Angels Motorcycle Club, which I am reading now and so far have found to be a bit one sided and self indulgent, but that's another review yet to be written...).