Hell's Angels: A Strange And Terrible Saga

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Hell's Angels: A Strange And Terrible Saga

by Hunter S. Thompson

Random House Publishing Group | September 29, 1996 | Trade Paperback

Hell's Angels: A Strange And Terrible Saga is rated 4.5 out of 5 by 4.
"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.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 288 pages, 8.24 × 5.48 × 0.72 in

Published: September 29, 1996

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0345410084

ISBN - 13: 9780345410085

Found in: Popular Culture

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from As much as I didn't want to read it, I couldn't help myself! [Your] Director of Marketing http://yourdirectorofmarketing.com A classic piece of journalistic work by Hunter S Thompson, Hells Angels is probably the book that sparked my preference for non-fiction books authored by journalists - I really feel they have the chance to "stretch themselves" when working on their own projects, that will develop at their own pace, free from chaotic deadlines and space restrictions I recently read a novel called Raincloud that I reviewed as well: Genre: Murder Crime Suspense Thriller You’ll enjoy Raincloud if you liked: Hunter S Thompson’s journalist reports in Hell’s Angels: I can recall a similar change in my feelings towards primary characters - from being astounded by their graphic & violent lives to being touched by their sense of community pride & loyalty while enduring complex and deep-rooted personal struggles. Review of Raincloud: a Novel, by Richard S. Todd http://community.indigo.ca/reviews/Debbie-Horovitch/all-262315.html
Date published: 2009-01-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from We fight society and society fights us: A Review of Hunter S. Thompson's Hell's Angels After reading Hell’s Angels: A Strange and Terrible Sage, I’m left wondering why Hunter S. Thompson has the reputation that he does. It reads well enough but it is disturbingly apologetic for the Angels behaviour. The crowning claim is that Hells Angels 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” (261). This is ridiculous. I would imagine very few people for whom the moniker “loser” has been applied dream of this kind of “total retaliation” lifestyle. Far worse, his comments about rape must simply be denounced by anyone who reads the book: “Women are terrified of being raped, but somewhere in the back of every womb there is one rebellious nerve end that tingles with curiosity” (187). Shortly after he writes: “So the Hell’s Angles (sic), by several definitions, including their own, are working rapists . . . and in this downhill half of our twentieth century they are not so different from the rest of us” (193). This is a wretched and cruel expression of misogyny serving as an apology and justification for violence against women that is normalized for the Hell’s Angels. Apparently this attitude has been normalized for Thompson as well as he makes numerous comments throughout the text that minimize and downplay the serious and criminal aspects of sexual assault. His attribution that we are all rapists (and therefore none of us are) is pathetic and idiotic. There were maybe one or two quotes from women in the entire book, despite the fact that at least half of the Angels had wives or female partners that he would have come to know in his year long sojourn with the motorcycle gang. In spite of the overarching apologist tone of the book, Thompson successfully creates a compelling narrative about the meteoric celebrity and fascination that people have with the Hell’s Angels. He records the violence and the broken lives of the riders: no job, fractured teeth, and bills from doctors and lawyers that keep stacking up. When the (real) possibility of generating an income simply by being Angels arises the entire group gets giddy with visions of fame and fortune. Thompson notes that their presence became almost unpalatable as all they could talk about was what they’d do with the money. I should add, some of the tension and excitement of the narrative is created solely out of Thompson’s imagination. When a clash of wills and potentially explosive conflict emerges Thompson’s writes the possibility first, then indicates that this isn’t what happened. It is very clever and engaging but once you remove this you’re left with half the book. The Postscript of HELL’S ANGELS couldn’t be more asinine, although it does contain Thompson’s account of being stomped by the Angels. He quotes Kurtz’ final words from the heart of darkness: The horror! The horror! . . . Exterminate all the brutes!” (273). I suppose it is up to the reader to decide who the brutes are, although having just been stomped it seems to relate to the Angels. After over two hundred and fifty pages of apology and sympathy Thompson ends his narrative in a violent call for revenge? He must have seriously identified with his subject matter. For those that are interested in male violence this is a relevant and important case study, which is why it has earned three out of five rather than one or two. Another such case study, with greater insight into the issue, is Bill Buford’s AMONG THE THUGS dealing with football hooligans. Buford swiped his narrative template from Thompson, along with some of the sexism, all the way down to his own stomping at the end.
Date published: 2008-02-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A stompin good time After reading this novel, I couldn't help but wonder what Hunter Thompson wouldn't do to write a good story. How he lasted a year with vermin like the Hell's Angels without getting killed is beyond me. This novel is marvelous. It's a first-hand account of the life of the Hell's Angels in the 60s and their rise to infamy. I really enjoyed Hunter's detailed description of his trials and tribulations of riding with the most famous and notorious motorcyle gang in the U.S. An interesting read for anyone interested in American subculture.
Date published: 2002-05-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from His best Ask anyone about Hunter Thompson, and your reply will invariably be : a: huh? or; b: some reference to Fear and loathing. While Fear and Loathing is often mentionned as a (great) piece of fiction, Hells Angels is pure journalism. This is where gonzo journalism truly began, and appears at its purest. HST enters the lives of the HA (and they enter his). He goes beyond the sensationalism of the tabloid press and succeeds in painting a true portrait of these outlaw bikers, and how they tied into the society and the times in which they lived. Well worth picking up.
Date published: 2000-06-25

– More About This Product –

Hell's Angels: A Strange And Terrible Saga

by Hunter S. Thompson

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 288 pages, 8.24 × 5.48 × 0.72 in

Published: September 29, 1996

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0345410084

ISBN - 13: 9780345410085

Read from the Book

Roll em, boys 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, the Hell''s Angels, the hundred-carat headline, running fast and loud on the early morning freeway, low in the saddle, nobody smiles, jamming crazy through traffic and ninety miles an hour down the center stripe, missing by inches . . . like Genghis Khan on an iron horse, a monster steed with a fiery anus, flat out through the eye of a beer can and up your daughter''s leg with no quarter asked and none given; show the squares some class, give em a whiff of those kicks they''ll never know . . . Ah, these righteous dudes, they love to screw it on . . . Little Jesus, the Gimp, Chocolate George, Buzzard, Zorro, Hambone, Clean Cut, Tiny, Terry the Tramp, Frenchy, Mouldy Marvin, Mother Miles, Dirty Ed, Chuck the Duck, Fat Freddy, Filthy Phil, Charger Charley the Child Molester, Crazy Cross, Puff, Magoo, Animal and at least a hundred more . . . tense for the action, long hair in the wind, beards and bandanas flapping, earrings, armpits, chain whips, swastikas and stripped-down Harleys flashing chrome as traffic on 101 moves over, nervous, to let the formation pass like a burst of dirty thunder . . . They call themselves Hell''s
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From the Publisher

"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.

From the Jacket

"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.

About the Author

The Modern Library has played a significant role in American cultural life for the better part of a century. The series was founded in 1917 by the publishers Boni and Liveright and eight years later acquired by Bennett Cerf and Donald Klopfer. It provided the foundation for their next publishing venture, Random House. The Modern Library has been a staple of the American book trade, providing readers with affordable hardbound editions of important works of literature and thought. For the Modern Library''s seventy-fifth anniversary, Random House redesigned the series, restoring as its emblem the running torchbearer created by Lucian Bernhard in 1925 and refurbishing jackets, bindings, and type, as well as inaugurating a new program of select-ing titles. The Modern Library continues to provide the world''s best books, at the best prices.

From Our Editors

Hop on the back of a low-slung, sexy Harley-Davidson as this book whisks you off to parties and life on the edge with the Hell's Angels. You can almost feel the motor purring between your legs as you turn the pages, Thompson's prose is so vigorous. This legendary book solidified Hunter S. Thompson's reputation as the prototypical gonzo journalist and it's easy to see why. Hell's Angels does more than take you behind the scenes: it rips you out of your comfy armchair and cruelly plops you down in the middle of the mess. Look around, take in the sights and remember that this is as close as you're going to get to knowing what it was really like to be a biker at the time.

Editorial Reviews

"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