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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bikerboy
I first bought a 1967 copy of this book in the seventies, which is now falling to bits. So in order to read it for the six or seventh time I ordered a new copy. If you are happy to read it on the understanding that it is a very one sided version of events from Hunter S Thompson - it is a great read. You get a real feel and appreciation of what life amongst the original...
Published on 18 Dec 2011 by Mirabelle

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3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read, but definitely not his best
I think Hunter S. Thompson is great, but this book left me neither here nor there - the flow is somewhat disjointed, and the slips into fantasy aren't as smooth and bizarre as they are in his other works. This is worth a read if you're a fan of Thompson, but I wouldn't recommend it as a first read - he's done better!
Published on 30 May 2000


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bikerboy, 18 Dec 2011
I first bought a 1967 copy of this book in the seventies, which is now falling to bits. So in order to read it for the six or seventh time I ordered a new copy. If you are happy to read it on the understanding that it is a very one sided version of events from Hunter S Thompson - it is a great read. You get a real feel and appreciation of what life amongst the original sixties Hells Angels must have been like, written by a clever and interesting writer in Thompson.
For a balanced and I would guess more accurate view of events you need go no further than original Angel - Sonny Barger's autobiography, in which references are made to Thompsons book, and from reading both - interesting comparisons and view points can be made.
For an acid tripping, drug and booze fuelled crazy view of the Hells Angels, and the best of all in my opinion has to be 'Freewhweelin Frank' by an early Frisco member Frank Reynolds. A great read, mainly I think because Frank comes across as wild, stoned and crazy as most of us imagine these guys were back then,
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hells Angels - A Must For any Follower of Biker Culture, 25 Feb 2004
By A Customer
An interesting historical account of one side of 60's American Society which still remains hidden territory to this day.
Hells Angels is a well written, informative and entertaining book documenting the history of, and the author's involvement with the Hells Angels. It illustrates the conflicting views of the Angels, society, press and authorities of the mid 60's. Though the accuracy of the account is still limited to that of an outside observer, so readers may wish to also read the leader of the Oakland Hells Angels own account : Sonny S. Barger's 'Hell's Angel: The Life and Times of Sonny Barger and the Hell's Angels Motorcycle Club' to get an insider viewpoint. The two books provide an interesting contrast in views.
Never-the-less 'Hells Angels' remains a rich and involving read which, once started, is difficult to put down - a must for all who are even mildly interested in Biker culture.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Getting drunk and running amok amongst the worthy citizens, 4 Oct 2009
By 
Eileen Shaw "Kokoschka's_cat" (Leeds, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Hunter S Thompson depicts the rise of the phenomenon known as Hell's Angels from the early 1950s, when they were epitomised as lonely, misunderstood rebels in the film The Wild Ones, with a young Marlon Brando playing the lead, to the mid 1960s when their favourite occupation, according to the media, was terrorizing isolated backwoods American townships by getting drunk and running amok amongst the worthy citizens. Though this did happen occasionally, the `runs' of the gangs were usually more apt to involve violence amongst the groups themselves than towards outsiders. The whole ethos of the Hell's Angels and associated gangs such as the Booze Fighters and Satan's Slaves, to name just two, was to avoid getting slammed in jail. Since they rarely had jobs, incarceration involved expensive Bond Bails, which could tie up their finances for years. Yet this ran counter to their whole way of life, which was antithetical to society's norms. A mass of contradictions occurs when trying to figure out what they really stood for.

Thompson's account is a sobering one. The media talked up even minor incidents so that a whole set of assumptions applied to anyone on a trademark Harley Davidson bike. It became `known' that they were given to rapes and gangbangs, but it emerges from the statistics that there have been very few successful convictions for rape in the history of the motorcycle gang's activities. The explanation given is that they don't need to rape since a coterie of girls known as Mamas accompany them on their `runs' and are available for anyone. In any case, by the 1960s many Hell's Angels were married, with families, and wives came on the `runs' too. The female hierarchies are fascinating - wives had the power and the protection, anyone else was fair game.

Thompson liked these guys, and although this was written before he got his name for "Gonzo journalism", his partisanship is obvious right up until the very last section of the book, when he recounts how he was suddenly turned on by a gang of Hell's Angels in a bar and beaten bloody. Maybe they just got fed up of their pet journalist?

Much of the detail of their history is frankly depressing. Individually, too there is not much to distinguish them from the clichés they have embraced. Over the years they have evolved rather cleaner habits - and now there is even a Hell's Angels Chapter in Windsor, UK. What would our own dear Queen have to say?
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4.0 out of 5 stars Nice one Hunter. RIP., 26 Mar 2010
By 
S. Donald "Survivor" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Hunter S. lives on a dangerous tightrope trying to stay factual and alive in his expose` of life with the big 81. (8=H and 1=A) Get it? This virtually historical book is both an insight into the Angels and Hunter Thompson's mindset.

The fact that he only gets beaten up once and actually survived the experience is a testimony to his intelligence and blind luck. By taking on the role of a neutral observer, he flatters Sonny Berger and Co into giving him access to the Angels' lifestyle which few people would either risk or want. The overall impression that this book leaves in the mind is not of the Angel's apparent lust for destruction, but of the change in social values between the 70s and now. One thing that has not changed is the desire to be free of Society's constraints and this is still embodied in the motorcycle fraternity. Buy a bike, learn to handle it and hit the road.

Hunter S. illustrates the total nihilism of the Angels' lifestyle during this era of American recent history, with much to admire and also despise. There is no relevence to the present day Angels, who are smarter and more organized. Check out the Bulldog Bash if you want to see a few close-up. To sum-up: read the book and be amazed at Hunter S. Thompsons guts (stupidity?).

Steve. LW NC.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Off beat journalists view of an off beat society, 27 July 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Hell's Angels (Essential Penguin) (Paperback)
Hunter S. Thompson, one of the most unusuall journalists out there, tells us of his interactions with the Oakland Hells Angles, one of the oldest Hells Angels chapters in existance. The book is both entertaining and informative. The only drawback is that as with all of HST work, you are never really sure where the line between reality and imagination lies. Still, a good read and a must for any HST fan.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A good book written in Hunter S Thompson's renowned style with some laugh out loud funny moments along the way, 4 Sep 2014
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A good book written in Hunter S Thompson's renowned style with some laugh out loud funny moments along the way. He charts the time he spent riding around/drinking/partying/trying to avoid getting in trouble with the Hells Angles back in the 1960's. Crazy that this true story is set such a long time ago yet still seems so relevant and fun. Love this writer.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A book that actually put the Angels in a "good light", 29 Jan 2002
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This review is from: Hell's Angels (Essential Penguin) (Paperback)
This is certainly an interesting read and who better to cast his eye over the last outlaw group of the 20th century than one of the original outlaw journalists. This is a very entertaining read and I would reccomend this to anybody who lives any kind of "alternative" lifestyle. However once you have read this you must read Hells Angel by Sonny Barger who is mentioned throughout this book and reading his book you notice that Thompson's book is not quite as good as it first seems so read it before you read Sonny's. Enjoy
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3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read, but definitely not his best, 30 May 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Hell's Angels (Essential Penguin) (Paperback)
I think Hunter S. Thompson is great, but this book left me neither here nor there - the flow is somewhat disjointed, and the slips into fantasy aren't as smooth and bizarre as they are in his other works. This is worth a read if you're a fan of Thompson, but I wouldn't recommend it as a first read - he's done better!
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5.0 out of 5 stars hells angels., 5 Jun 2014
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A cracking book by Hunter S Thompson.
It gives a really good insight into these outlaw bikers lifestyle.
I read this book over a couple of days, just couldn't put it down, great read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great read..., 8 May 2014
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If you like motorcycles and happen to be interested in American Motorcycle culture and history then I can recommend this book.
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