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Riding on the Edge: A Motorcycle Outlaw's Tale by [Hall, John]
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Riding on the Edge: A Motorcycle Outlaw's Tale Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 67 customer reviews

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Length: 306 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled Page Flip: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

Review

RoadRUNNER Magazine

“If you've ever dreamed of being an outlaw, you might think each chapter of Riding on the Edge is a badass bedtime story for adults. But if anecdotes of beer drinking and womanizing don't appeal to your inner rebel, then the thought-provoking reflections of author John Hall might interest you. A college professor and political columnist, Hall's "first life" was spent riding a Triumph in the 1960s with the outlaw club, the Pagans. Ever wondered why bikers get a bad name? Riding on the Edge breaks down the stereotypes and newspaper headlines to reveal the raw moments in time which spawned them. And there is no shortage of historical references or interesting facts in this book. However, John Hall's writing is so down-to-earth it seems as if you're listening to a favorite uncle spin a tale. And with characters like Satan, Big Dutch, & Sleepy weaving in and out of the storyline, you may never want that tale to end.”


Motorcycle.com Review by Dustin Woods (5.28.09)

"Few people are able to retrospectively recount the life of an outlaw biker with such accuracy and candor as John Hall, mostly because few people so deeply entrenched within such a culture ever make it out alive. If rival gangs, bar brawls or bike accidents don’t kill them, years of hard drinking and hard living usually do. Hall is an exception to these rules as he successfully transcended this great divide. Proving that sometimes our justice system actually works and men can be rehabilitated, Hall turned his life around from being the leader of an outlaw motorcycle gang the FBI called “the most violent criminal organization in America” and being incarcerated to becoming an acclaimed journalist and college professor.


Hall demonstrates eloquence and intellect, traditionally unheard of with first person recounts of biker culture. Documenting historical sociological connections to the beliefs and brotherhood of medieval Vikings, Hall paints a sometimes entertaining, occasionally chilling picture of men who live beyond the boundaries of our society yet will do anything to uphold the sacred values and tradition of their heritage. While other biker clubs were merely cruising for chicks and looking for kicks, Hall explains how the Pagans became one of the most feared and respected clubs in the country. Men who lack the fear of pain, death or any consequences whatsoever create a truly unruly and terrifying opponent. The often vulgar yet intuitive book definitively explains where biker culture stems from within our society and more specifically the individual, offering incredible insight into the hearts and minds of men who were vicious and violent, while at the same time adamant at preserving the structure and sanctity of their brotherhood, at all costs. Not merely anarchy for the sake of it, Hall effectively describes this truly fascinating dichotomy.

While often glorifying a lifestyle that shocked and terrified the dreams and towns of law-abiding citizens, Hall also portrays the grim reality of the consequences that befall the men who live outside the laws of society. Whether you are interested in the sociology of such sub cultures or just want to read a firsthand account of life within an outlaw biker club, Riding on the Edge will surely quench this thirst like a cold beer at a biker rally."



Steppin' Out Magazine

“Unlike a ranting hoodlum who might say whatever he feels like saying or exaggerate details, this author did his homework with regard to facts, figures and dates. This is truly a smart, solid and just plain damn good read! If you would like to tak ea look back through the window of time to the late 60’s biker scene at its most intense level, you should pick up a copy of Mr. Hall’s book.”

From the Back Cover

In the 1960s, John Hall, a Harley-riding hell-raiser, hooked up with the Pagans, a group of like-minded individuals who went on to become the largest outlaw motorcycle club on the East Coast. Hall and the Pagans rode roughshod across the Eastern Seaboard throughout the 1960s, until John and six other Pagans ended up in the Pennsylvania State Penitentiary. While in prison John began taking college classes and earned several degrees.
 
Now after a career as a journalist and college professor, he returns to the violent days of his youth and smashes up stereotypes like he once smashed up bars, resurrecting long-dead brothers in a writing style that is part Raymond Carver and part Jack Kerouac. Hall presents the Pagans as they really were: hard-living, hard-loving, hard-drinking, hard-fighting rebels, but also hardworking patriots, loyal, lovable characters, a band of brothers whose outlandish behavior forged an all-American outlaw legend in the tradition of Jesse James, Doc Holliday, John Dillinger, and Pretty Boy Floyd.
 
Riding on the Edge: A Motorcycle Outlaw’s Tale tells the story of John and the Pagans as they rode hard through the tumultuous decade of the 1960s, doing their damnedest to die young and leave good-looking corpses.
 
Bikernet.com
“This is a good story about a lifestyle and chapter in American history that we will never see again. Back when America was a free country and you were innocent until proven guilty, before political correctness and before the patriot act. Read this and remember or imagine what it must have been like to be so free!”
 
Motorcycle.com
Few people are able to retrospectively recount the life of an outlaw biker with such accuracy and candor as John Hall, mostly because few people so deeply entrenched within such a culture ever make it out alive. If rival gangs, bar brawls or bike accidents don’t kill them, years of hard drinking and hard living usually do. Documenting historical sociological connections to the beliefs and brotherhood of medieval Vikings, Hall paints a sometimes entertaining, occasionally chilling picture of men who live beyond the boundaries of our society yet will do anything to uphold the sacred values and tradition of their heritage. Whether you are interested in the sociology of such sub cultures or just want to read a firsthand account of life within an outlaw biker club, <I>Riding on the Edge <M> will surely quench this thirst like a cold beer at a biker rally.
 
RoadRUNNER Magazine
“Riding on the Edge breaks down the stereotypes and newspaper headlines to reveal the raw moments in time which spawned them. John Hall's writing is so down-to-earth it seems as if you're listening to a favorite uncle spin a tale.”


Product Details

  • File Size: 743 KB
  • Print Length: 306 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0760332762
  • Publisher: Motorbooks; First edition (September 15, 2008)
  • Publication Date: September 15, 2008
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004GJVXUM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #411,008 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Gregory A. Walker on September 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover
"Riding on the Edge" is, IMHO, the finest work of 1%er biker literature on the stands today. Written by an Old School biker and original member of the Pagans MC, this is a thoughtful, respectful and captivating story of what it was like to be a 1960s motorcycle outlaw.

Written by John Hall, today a professional journalist and academic, Hall's book eclipses Sonny Barger's very successful effort (Hell's Angel) and, when compared, makes a mockery of Ruben "Doc" Cavazo's recent book about himself (oh, and the Mongols MC, too).

"Riding" is a wonderful read with the best outlaw biker book cover on the stands to date. Well worth the purchase.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is certainly the most well-written book by an ex-insider that was close to or at the top of one of the major 1% clubs. John Hall is a literate guy who seems to borrow some of his style from Hunter S. Thompson among others. Unlike some of the drivel that is being pumped out by some real and imagined ex-outlaws, Hall's work is superbly readable.

The only knock I have on it, and it's a Catch-22 endured by all authors in Hall's position, is that he really isn't in a position to tell us what we want to hear about some of the more "outlaw" aspects of his life with the club. He isn't going to implicate himself or others. Doc Cavazos' book about the Mongols has the same issue - there are stories to tell, but what can he do without harming his brothers? In this vein, I would say that Sonny Barger's book "Hells Angel" comes the closest to getting at the "meat." But Sonny has a huge advantage because of the ability to allude to untold published articles, stories, books, truths, untruths, etc. about the Hells Angels. There is so much out there for Sonny to address that he doesn't run the risk of exposing anything new. John Hall doesn't have that luxury.

In addition, Hall, like Cavazos, exhibits very little ego in this writing. This makes for what seems to be pretty honest, if a bit bland, account of the life as a club leader.

Also, I would have to say that the knock Hall tosses in at the end about people like Yves Lavigne and Anthony Tait is a bit clumsy, because it is out of place. But he is dead on.

This is your book if you want to experience real writing while getting an excellent account of the development of the Pagans as a club, and maybe a little history of the people and culture of eastern Pennsylvania thrown in as a bonus!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Interesting read on the early days of the Pagans MC (motorcycle club). It took me a little while to get into the book. In fact the author's choice of words and arrogance nearly drove me to shelf the book. I stuck with it though, and much to my surprise came to actually enjoy the read. I did find myself wondering at times how much of the book was fact, and how much fiction. The book focuses around the author's time in the MC in the late 1960's, up until the time when he found himself in the penitentiary. Although the author doesn't tell us readers what happened to him and his status in the club, I gather he got out of the club all together. After reading this I did a little online research and it seems there is some controversy surrounding the author and his time / status as a Pagan. I suppose though, that is to be expected. When a person spends time within an Outlaw motorcycle gang and goes on to write about it there are surely going to be people that are unhappy about such a thing. Overall I'd recommend this as good reading material, but I'd recommend not letting it go to your head.
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Format: Hardcover
In 2006 John Hall's literary agent James Fitzgerald of New York contacted us about the book. At that time Fitzgerald was informed that John Hall in fact did not have authorization to write, print or publish any thing about the Pagan's MC. John Hall has never contacted the club at all to seek authorization. The book is interesting to read for the most part, however it is by no means a acurate and true account of the 1 1/2 years that John Hall was a member of the club. Not only is it an exageration of his own status and position within the club, but also certain alleged events written of in the book are totally fictional and never happened. For the most part he dropped names of men that are dead now, however others are still alive and atest to the false nature of this personal account of John Hall. John Hall was nothing more than a spoke in a wheel. John Hall is not a original member of the club and does not have the respect or honor that position would grant.
Pagan Ronnie 1%
Pagan's MC
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is one of the best snapshots of early outlaw MC culture I have ever read, and I have read all of them. This book takes you way back into the 60s, before the Hells Angels had taken a foothold into the east coast. This extremely well written and gritty book takes you from the streets of Brooklyn and Long Island to the tough-as-nails factory and industrial towns of Pennsylvania. The fights, the parties, the rivalries, the hangovers, the sleeping outdoors., the grit, the violence.. this book tells of it all with an unreal sense of eloquence and clarity. Sons of Anarchy has single-handedly diluted and trivialized biker culture, so it is important for anyone interested in the life to read this book to see what it was really like.

The book is about the Pagans MC, but this book transcends club loyalty. I am a staunch 81 supporter and could not put this book down. It even mentions Big Vinny Girolamo when he was in the Aliens MC before he was in the Hells Angels NYC. What a surprise that was! Anyhow, this is a great, lucid book that brings to life the world of an outlaw biker before there were major biker wars and before biker were a big part of our popular culture.
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