Hell's Angels

Hell's Angels

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'A phalanx of motorcycles cam roaring over the hill from the west ...the noise was like a landslide, or a wing of bombers passing over. Even knowing the Angels I couldn't quite handle what I was seeing.' Huge bikes, filthy denim and an aura of barely contained violence; the Hell's Angels could paralyse whole towns with fear, so terrible was their reputation. But how much of that reputation was myth and how much was brutal reality? Only one man could discover the truth about these latter-day barbarians; Hunter Stockton Thompson, Dr Gonzo himself, the man who saw the fear and loathing in the heart of the American dream. This counter-culture classic is the hair-raising result.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 288 pages
  • 128 x 194 x 20mm | 222.26g
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 014118745X
  • 9780141187457
  • 30,739

Flap copy

"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.show more

Review quote

" 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"show more

About Hunter S. Thompson

Hunter S. Thompson's research on the Hell's Angels involved more than a year of close association with the outlaws - riding, loafing, plotting and eventually being stomped. A native of Kentucky, he began writing as a sports columnist in Florida. He has worked on newspapers and magazines, becoming South American correspondent for the National Observer. His novels include: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, 1972 and The Great Shark Hunt.show more

Review Text

'My own acid-eating experience is limited in terms of total consumption'... This is not the drug-addled Hunter S Thompson of later years, but the product of diligent research on the early days of the Hell's Angel phenomenon of 1960s America. Thompson associated himself with the Angels for a year; drinking with them, riding with them, and eventually pushing his luck too far and being 'stomped' by them. He came up with an entertaining and rounded picture of the 'outlaws', broadly sympathetic, but neither an apology for their excesses, nor a condemnation of their sometimes terrible crimes. This highly enjoyable book is distinctively Thompson; free-wheeling journalism shot through with a snarling distaste for authority. (Kirkus UK)show more

Customer reviews

"I read this book right before reading sonny bargers, and I found hunters account on the angels to be saturated in the fact he is an outsider bragging about what a crazy bunch he made (bribed to be) friends with. Hunters drugged up writing fails to keep me in for the read, pretty sad with such an interesting subject as hells angels. Being in it only for the fame of it, Hunter never seems to get the idea of things. Violating codes of honour and splitting when shit hits, Hunter finally gets a well deserved ass kicking. Bargers book, though not being an articulate masterpiece, fills in the blanks of Hunters misprint. "show more
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