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Hell's Angels (Penguin Modern Classics) Paperback – 1 May 2003

4.3 out of 5 stars 75 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (1 May 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014118745X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141187457
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,996 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

" 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"

From the Inside Flap

"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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Been after this since 1967 ! Fascinating historical stuff as to the origins of the Hells Angels, and the bad press they received at the time. Outlaws they may have been and targets by the police always but toally sensationalised in the then media for monetary gain. Mate of mine (who was a rocker at the time used to read out passages from it when we were apprentices - I was a Mod !!). A definitive story of Angels life style, written accurately by someone who was there. A must read for historical bikers.
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I love Thompson's writing style, but this could've been cut down by two thirds and wouldn't have lost anything. A lot of it was just repeating the same points over and over, and at some stages drifted off into a personal diatribe about sloppy and inaccurate reporting. If you've never read this before, you can safely put it down two thirds of the way in - the whole last third (perhaps with the exception of the final chapter) is just filler.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A great introduction to Thompson - less unhinged than Fear and Loathing, but with that same vividness and sharp observational writing. Also, it's a fascinating bit of social history - if you're a fan of Sons of Anarchy, this provides an interesting context and contrast.
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I'm a little biased, as I love Hunter S Thompson's writing style, but this is a gripping and intersting read all the way through, although it has to be said that there are some definite troughs among the peaks which could have been ironed out with a little more harsh editing. However, that is a minor complaint compared to how great it was to read this. Gave me a new perspective on the Hell's Angels, who I knew very little about before reading this other than that they were big beardy guys who rode Harleys, didn't shower much, and liked to party.

Macktastic Slim gives his stamp of approval to this book ;)
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Format: 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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this book for the first time in about 1970, a copy with the now-desirable 'back patch' front cover and have often thought over the years that I'd like to read it again.
Even now, nearly fifty years after it was first published, the book doesn't disappoint.

Delivered quickly and safely.
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