Hell's Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga

Hunter S. Thompson

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Hell's Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga

Hell s Angels A Strange and Terrible Saga California Labor Day weekendearly with ocean fog still in the streets outlaw motorcyclists wearing chains shades greasy Levis roll out from damp garages all night diners cast off one night pads i

  • Title: Hell's Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga
  • Author: Hunter S. Thompson
  • ISBN: 9782221090732
  • Page: 436
  • Format: None
  • California, Labor Day weekendearly, with ocean fog still in the streets, outlaw motorcyclists wearing chains, shades greasy Levis roll out from damp garages, all night diners cast off one night pads in Frisco, Hollywood, Berdoo East Oakland, heading for the Monterey peninsula, north of Big SurThe Menace is loose again Thus begins Hunter S Thomps California, Labor Day weekendearly, with ocean fog still in the streets, outlaw motorcyclists wearing chains, shades greasy Levis roll out from damp garages, all night diners cast off one night pads in Frisco, Hollywood, Berdoo East Oakland, heading for the Monterey peninsula, north of Big SurThe Menace is loose again Thus begins Hunter S Thompson s vivid account of his experiences with California s most notorious motorcycle gang, the Hell s Angels In the mid 60s, Thompson spent almost two years living with the controversial Angels, cycling up 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 1st defined, when such countercultural movements were electrifying horrifying America Thompson, the creator of Gonzo journalism, writes with his usual bravado, energy brutal honesty, with a nuanced incisive eye as The New Yorker pointed out, For all its uninhibited sardonic humor, Thompson s book is a thoughtful piece of work As illuminating now as when originally published in 67, Hell s Angels is a gripping portrait, the best account we have of the truth behind an American legend.

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    One thought on “Hell's Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga

    1. Petra X on said:

      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 [...]

    2. Kinga on said:

      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 café, 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 9 [...]

    3. Jonathan Ashleigh on said:

      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 on said:

      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 far more straightforward 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 c [...]

    5. Brandon on said:

      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 [...]

    6. R.K. Gold on said:

      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 [...]

    7. Alex on said:

      You ever read a book where you can tell it was a magazine article padded out to book length? Here's one. Repetitive, circular and mostly boring, this is in no way worth reading.I had a little fun with Thompson's light jabs at Kesey - and having just read The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, I found the part where the two stories overlap very interesting - and he's sortof got a theme in there about society at the edge of society and masculinity and whatever (like all motorcycle riders, Thompson had s [...]

    8. Kate on said:

      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 little more than 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 [...]

    9. Kristina King on said:

      Both Hunter S. Thompson and the Hell's Angels bring preconceived notions to mind:Thompson was a crazy sonofabitch. He was a nutbag druggie who liked to blow things up.The Hell's Angel's are crazy motherfuckers. Remember Altamont? They killed like 500 people while providing concert security for the Rolling Stones.Both of these notions have some basis in reality. Thompson liked drugs and blowing things up. The Hell's Angels did provide security at Altamont, where one person was killed by an Angel [...]

    10. David Sarkies on said:

      Drinking with the bikies21 April 2012 I had been meaning to read this book for quite a while; ever since a friend of mine mentioned it to me years ago. Penguin then decided to release a number of books in a new mass market format, similar to their original releases back in the early days of the company. The books that they released in this new format were inexpensive and were collected from various authors throughout history. I actually appreciated this because they selected a lot of lesser know [...]

    11. Louise on said:

      Over 30 years ago I read excerpts of this book. In reading the whole piece now, I see that the work not only holds up over time but also that the full work is more impressive than the parts selected by national magazines. This portrait of the Hell’s Angels has all the info you would find in a dry academic sociological study but Thompson’s prose, personal experiences and reactions would never appear in an academic work, and these contribute greatly to the character of the work.Thompson has a [...]

    12. Still on said:

      Almost gave this 5 stars but HST padded the final 100 pages with about 50 unnecessary pages full of statistics, fantasies, and a ridiculous chapter on a riot in a Sierra national park that never occurs .The rest of the book is just about perfect.You can see in this, his first book that Hunter S. Thompson emerged on the publishing scene a true flame breathing dragon of a journalist.Highest Recommendation.

    13. Jason on said:

      This was an interesting book, it feels like he couldn't decide on what type of book he wanted to write. At times it is a piece of journalism, trying to uncover the truth of the Hell's Angels from the myth created by the news media. We know they are prone to exaggerating/making up stuff, but it is really surprising just how much bullshit they got away with writing about the Angels. The book also seems to be a nature documentary too, describing angels as if they were animals.Hunter S. Thompson spe [...]

    14. Andy on said:

      Still the best book about bikers ever written - and completely unromanticized, too. Their lifestyle is shown in all its greasy and grimy glory. And Hunter took a bad stomping at the end of the book by some vicious Angels. Written over forty years ago and still rawer than a lot of shit out there!

    15. Cbj on said:

      ***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 [...]

    16. Pete daPixie on said:

      I liked this, but did I really like it? Three stars or four? Finally I decided on three. 'Hell's Angels' was a book I think I may have read many decades back but I wasn't sure about that either. Thompson's reportage struck chords with me and I had music in my head on many occasions while reading this book. From late sixties through to mid eighties, two wheels were my mode of transport. In that time I should have been killed on at least a few occasions. Me and Kev had many a midnight thrash, raci [...]

    17. Nick on said:

      ReviewHell's Angels is pretty typical Hunter S. Thompson in that it is of inconsistent quality, a mixture with some passages of stellar psychotropic brilliance and others of filler and rushed garbage copy. 'Angels' is not one of Hunter's more messed-up books -- most of it is almost smoothly disjointed, with surprisingly long sections of fairly standard journalistic prose. What the reader of 'Hell's Angels' will find is an often slow, rambling and sometimes boring, but very detailed and illuminat [...]

    18. Kelly B on said:

      I love Hunter S and granted, this is his first book, and I love books written about this time, and there's great insight and observations and great writing and all, but I got halfway through this book more than once and (granted again, this was during my A.D.D. phase where I couldn't finish any book, I usually had 4-6 books going at the same time and never finished any of them) didn't reach the end. Well I finally picked it up again and read it from beginning to end, without reading a bunch of o [...]

    19. John on said:

      "Everyone an outlaw, until it time to do outlaw shit."I picked this up because THE NATION recommended that if I, a pasty suburban leftie liberal, wanted to understand the "forgotten man" Trump voter, I should read this. I find out near the the end, that the goddamn NATION magazine paid the tab on HST's drink account to dictate this into a handheld tape recorder. Shady. But the suggestion is not "that" wrong. As with everything HST wrote, there is a near perfect, poetic epiphany right near the en [...]

    20. Jake on said:

      Who among us, in some secret moments, doesn't want to see society burnt to the ground? What separates us from the Hell's Angels, according to Hunter S. Thompson, is that most of the time we've got other options- where the average outlaw biker has none:Two dozen gleaming, stripped-down Harleys filled the parking lot of the bar called the El Adobe. The angels were shouting, laughing and drinking beer- paying no attention to two teenaged boys who stood on the fringe of the crowd, looking scared. Fi [...]

    21. Peter Mcloughlin on said:

      He who makes a beast of himself doesn't have to feel the pain of being a man. -Quote from Samuel Johnson found in the book. I read Thompson when I was younger and could afford to indulge more dissipative appetites. I read fear and loathing in Las Vegas and on the campaign trail 72 required reading for a neo-hippie of the 80s. Never got around to Hell's Angels until this week after reading an article in the nation magazine claiming Hunter S. Thompson saw Trumpism coming in his expose of the Hell' [...]

    22. illiterate Inconsiderate on said:

      Well, Mr. Thompson I have to say that as a piece of investigative gonzo journalism, I think I finally feel a little let down by your critique of the Hell's Angels. I do appreciate the submersion you endured within the novel. However my major contensions are with how the hell's angels are never pressed or asked about obvious racist patches the adorn themselves with, such as iron crosses and swastikas. Instead you try to show how they sling around the word "nigger" and have members of different ra [...]

    23. Scott on said:

      I recently read Ancient Gonzo Wisdom, which is a collection of all of the interviews HST ever gave, going all the way back to when he was barely a writer at all. Most of the early pages of AGW are devoted to his new book Hell’s Angels, and the trouble he got into toward the end of it. Long story kinda short: Hunter was a broke magazine writer that wrote an article about the Hell’s Angels. Some publisher wanted him to write a book about them and gave him some money to do it. This was in the m [...]

    24. Ensiform on said:

      The book that cemented Thompson’s reputation as the premier journalist of the crazed, and deservedly so. Thompson rode and hung with the Angels for a couple of years, and he presents them, at the height of their notoriety, through his own cynical, paranoiac freak prism. So we see the Angels as bearded, drooling, vicious outlaws ready to rape or stomp anything and anyone who crosses their path, but we also see them as tired old goons, knowing full well that they’re losers, and just trying to [...]

    25. Guillermo Galvan on said:

      Rape, lead pipe to the teeth, gang bangs, LSD, motorcycle outlaws roaming across California. Nobody is better qualified, or crazy enough, to live and ride with the Hell's Angels for two years. The result of Hunter's "strange and terrible saga" was his book Hell's Angels and a savage beating stopped just short of having his head caved in with a massive rock. Luckily, he was not brained.The book reads like a massive magazine article, spattered with person experiences, and occasionally graced with [...]

    26. Erik Graff on said:

      I first saw this book after reading Thompson's Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail in a little bookstore on the street paralleling the east side of the Red Line here in East Rogers Park, Chicago. It was this edition. It wasn't cheap. I didn't buy it--a regret ever since. Finally, years later, after reading some more of Thompson's earlier work, I did get around to the thing and thoroughly enjoyed it--not just for the author's luridly over-the-top writing style, but also for the angle it threw [...]

    27. Donovan on said:

      Motorcycles! Booze! Violence! Debauchery! Coming to a Southern California town near you! I could only read two thirds of this, but what I did read was super well written and very intense. As non-fiction, which I have a bias against and don't find all that interesting, it tends to get a little newspapery and repetitive. While Hunter probably writes the best journalism ever it is still journalism, so thank god it's gonzo. Worth checking out for serious fans of HST and biker gangs.

    28. Stephanie on said:

      Definitely didn't enjoy this as much as Fear and Loathing, but it was still a really good read. I love his writing style. Although he seems to make it hard to discern between fact from fiction, but he still has a way of presenting you all the facts that's often humorous and also bizarre. I also really enjoyed reading about the Hell's Angels in general. He was able to leave nothing out and described them as the raw and grimy people they were and I'm assuming still are.

    29. Raegan Butcher on said:

      Probably Thompson's best written book aside from Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas.

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