Subversive Book Club Review: Hell’s Angels

Author: Hunter S. Thompson
Full Title: Hell’s Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs
Year: 1966
Grade: A/A-
Comments/ Why Subversive?: Thank God for Hunter S. Thompson. Being a major Thompson fan, I am of course massively biased in my opinion; in other words, whenever reading his works, I can never find anything bad to say about them, even if I know they exist, I feel like his writing is so superb and entertaining (the most entertaining perhaps) it eliminates any flaws. This was Thompson’s breakthrough hit and introduced the world to the off the walls, up and close, brazen and savagely honest, Gonzo “journalist.” Though, Gonzo guys and girls should know, that said style is not utilized in this work, but the sarcasm and brutality are all there. Clearly, Thompson is unique in that few other media players would sacrifice their souls by riding with the Hell’s Angels for over a year to attain a personal look at the Outlaw, Criminal Gang. And he does just that, we are taken on an unsettling trip into the seedy, scummy underbelly of the Angels’: Gang Rapes, Murder, Theft, Riots, and the whole nine. The violent gang in many ways are just as American as the Cunningham’s, just “more honest,” as Thompson would say. They are individualists (though Thompson disagrees with this), do as they feel and stand up for what they think is right; basically the flipside of the Lone Ranger, Old Western Cowboy type, who stands for justice. Without a doubt, the Angels are a fascinating crew, the Ugly, Low Life of America.

Chris