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A Wayward Angel: The Full-Story of the Hell's Angels by the Former Vice-President of the Oakland Chapter
Synopses & Reviews
The Hell's Angels. The name conjures up images of toughs on Harleys terrorizing the law-abiding; of wild brawls and wild sex; of drugs and cruelty, beatings, and even murder. Their lifestyle, we think, is horrifying, but it's also perversely fascinating, for there's an alluring freedom in such nihilism. Still, nobody knows what it's like to be an Angel except an Angel-an Angel like George Wethern, for many years the vice president of the Oakland Chapter.
Until he found himself in reluctant service to the courts, Wethern was the quintessential Angel, tough as they come, one of the most important drug dealers on the West Coast-a man who loved bikes, fights, women, and drugs; a man who knew the deepest secrets of Angel life. Arrested, strung out on drugs, in despair, he testified in several major trials against Angel members-and then went into hiding.
In A Wayward Angel, we witness killings, drug deals worth millions, "picnics" that are nothing short of orgies, the inner codes and inner workings of the club and its bizarre initiation rites. It is a vivid portrait of the chaos of postwar California, the awful early collision of the drug scene and the alienation of modern life, a story as American as can be. This is a powerful book, and not for the squeamish; but it's fascinating and important, terrifying because it's real.
Book News Annotation:
Wethern (now in a witness protection program) and journalist Colnett present this narrative of how Wethern and his wife Helen descended into the Hell's Angels club of Oakland, and how Wethern eventually became its vice president. Apparently many of the urban legends about violence, sexism and drugs are true; the Wetherns explain how the horrific initiation rituals were only the beginning of a long series of stygian experiences that ended at Wethern's arrest and reluctant testimony against his club. The Wetherns participated in this account in hopes of deterring others from thinking the Hell's Angels are in any way romantic outlaws, and are brutally honest in admitting they knew what they were doing every step of the way. This text was originally published by Richard Marek Publishers in 1978. As it is in essence a case study it includes neither an index nor a bibliography.
Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
An inside account of the Hells Angels told by one of its most notorious leaders
About the Author
GEORGE WETHERN was for many years an active member of the Hell's Angels, until he was arrested on drug and weapons charges. He turned state's witness, and is currently in hiding under an assumed name.
VINCENT COLNETT is an independent journalist and writer.
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