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Hell's Angel: The Life and Times of Sonny Barger and the Hell's Angels Motorcycle Club Audio Download – Unabridged

4.3 out of 5 stars 81 customer reviews

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
On recent holiday, I read this book - partly as a holiday read and also because I ride a Harley-Davidson. I read a lot of biographies and many times get inspiration from the main characters; I always look for something in someone to take with me when I've finished the book.
Sonny Barger's "party and ride" approach to life seems to have been at the expense of everybody else - however, he tells it as it was and his no holds barred approach is at least honest if not commendable. He's no Heaven's Angel - that's for sure. I felt that throughout the book, Sonny should somehow apologise for his drug-using, police-hating, brawling, bullying lifestyle - but I knew we wouldn't get this. I think the only thing he regrets is smoking so many Camels.
I found the book jumped around a lot and also assumed that the reader already knew a lot about HAMC (which I didn't). Many characters made brief appearances and it was sometimes hard to follow whom they were. There is genuine sadness at the loss of so many of his comrades.
I would recommend this book to others who want to get inside the mind of hell raisers like Sonny.
As for taking something from this book? In a fight, Sonny is definitely the kind of guy you want on your side. If he is your "brother" - then your enemies are his, doesn't matter what the cause of enmity is about. The Army probably blew its chances of winning the Vietnam War when they kicked him out!
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Format: Hardcover
This book comes accross as being a true account of the times and events and what it was like being not only a member of the HAMC but a leader of the HAMC. If a total outsider was to read this book I find it hard to imagine that they would understand the way that bikers look after their own kind, there is no other culture on this planet that has the same commitment to looking after each other and if you can try to understand that at least a little bit, then you would understand the passion that the people in the book had about their life style and their bikes. The subject is very serious but it's been put over in a way most people can understand and smile at, if you have an open mind and let people get on with their lives when they are doing you no harm, then I think you would enjoy the book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great dycotomy of the life and times of a Hells Angel told by the grandfather of this great brotherhood. Although at times it seems a little too 'American gung ho' it is a superb book and well worth the read though I confess that I preferred Sonny's "Credos - Freedom of the Road" better though that is more of a handbook on how to live your life by a moral code whereas this is a history of the Hells Angels. If you are at all curious or support the Red & White then buy it, you won't regret it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book could be called "Sonny Barger, a self proclaimed anarchist" because that's what he is. He'd be happy if America did away with law enforcement agencies all together and he was allowed to do exactly as he wanted. Sonny has lead a tough life, but made it all the harder by thinking he can beat the system. I wouldn't recommend this tome as it's pretty joyless and requires a certain amount of committment to get through as Barger does tend to write with his fists. However, if interesting insights into the internal workings of a hard man is your thing, then this will do nicely.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An interesting and entertaining little book that teeters a fine line between "I'm not really a bad man, honestly guvnor" and "Nobody f**ks with me, because I'm a c*nt". But it does leave you with more questions than answers.

It's not as free flowing and truthful as other autobiographies, like "Broadmoor" by Charlie Bronson for instance, where he's already paid the price and so can speak freely.

Barger comes across as someone who has got away with a lot more than he's letting on, and so can't say as much as he would like to, for fear of being called to account.

I don't wholly believe a lot of what Barger claims, and still question how a *club* whose only proclivity is to ride and party could support millions of dollars in legal costs, fighting a RICO case without a substantial source of combined income.

What the book lacks most is emotional depth. It's an almost mechanical recounting of situations and circumstances, with very little about how Barger felt or what drove his decisions and actions beyond a crude kind of teenage revolt that he should have outgrown long ago.

He comes across as a bit of a childish, petulant bully. He refers to himself as a "warrior" and a vet because he happened to be in the services, despite having managed to avoid the draft and having never seen any action at all.

The picture he paints is of a group of frightened, hopeless young men who band together to feel safe, never fight one-on-one and do everything they can to create an aggressive and intimidating image so that no one will ever mess with them. Genuinely tough people don't need any of this. No wonder brotherhood is so important.

It's definitely worth reading alongside Thompson's book for a broader picture - both sides are clearly underplayed, exaggerated and embellished in different places for different purposes.
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