Who better to report the story of the infamous Hell’s Angels than the bizarre and eccentric father of Gonzo journalism? Thompson, while never becoming an Angel himself, spent years delving into the underworld of the motorcycle organization, riding and forming friendship with some of the gangs’ most outrageous members. Through numerous interviews with Angel’s members, members of rival gangs, police officers, other journalists, and more, Thompson brings to life the real tale of the club, humanizing its members and showcasing just exactly who they are, and why they do what they do. Written in 1966, it chronicles the Angel’s at their most influential time in their history. A fascinating read.
Recommended by Marissa
Gonzo journalist and literary roustabout Hunter S. Thompson flies with the angels—Hell’s Angels, that is—in this short work of nonfiction.
“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 notorious motorcycle gang, the Hell’s Angels. In the mid-1960s, Thompson spent almost two years living with the controversial Angels, 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.
About the Author
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"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