Synopses & Reviews
There are few men who are as quintessentially American as Sonny Barger. He is patriotic—a veteran who loves his country. He is independent—choosing his own path on his motorcycle, living life on his own terms. He is outspoken—he has boldly criticized injustices in American law and society despite the backlash this has evoked from the establishment. Yet the element that he finds most important, most sacred, most American, is freedom.
In Freedom, Sonny articulates many of the principles he employs in his own life. Whether he is regarded as a leader, a rebel, a revolutionary, a criminal, or a soldier, Sonny's outlook has been influenced not just by school but by the military, prison, and his experiences riding with the world's most notorious motorcycle club. It was on these various journeys that he learned the lessons that are most important in his life and the qualities he respects when he sees them in others:
Customize Yourself; Originals Don't Come Off an Assembly Line
Temper the Steel to Forge a Strong Blade
Treat Me Good, I'll Treat You Better; Treat Me Bad, I'll Treat You Worse
Presented in the form of fifty credos, this book gives Sonny Barger's perspective on how to live a life that embodies the most fundamental of American virtues: freedom.
"The rebellious, high-octane spokesman for the 'biker lifestyle without boundaries,' Barger now rides his customized Harley in Arizona, seeking 'the Zen of the highway.' The iconoclastic author of the memoir Hell's Angels and the novel Dead in 5 Heartbeats now offers a useful guide to maintaining personal freedoms and self-respect on streets mean and otherwise. As might be expected, Miss Manners and Dale Carnegie are left in the dust (with precepts such as 'screw fightin' fair') as the fiercely independent Barger rolls out his practical, mostly straight-arrow advice, beginning with a warning: 'When you break new earth, you'll instantly be considered an outsider.' His experiences in the military, prison and on the road have not only shaped Barger's personal philosophy, they serve as his primary metaphors, e.g., 'Life is one long boot camp and only extreme and strenuous life experience can turn you into the complete soldier.' In addition to tips on confronting bullies, Barger covers everything from survival skills and self-reliance to teamwork and trust ('My friends are my family'). While many of Barger's 50 precepts are standard self-help fare, rudderless teens needing lessons in confidence, courage, honesty and individuality may find Barger more of a kindred spirit than, say, the Chicken Soup purveyors Agent, James Fitzgerald. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Ralph "Sonny" Barger currently lives near Phoenix, Arizona, having moved from his longtime hometown of Oakland. He is now a member of the Cave Creek chapter of the Hell's Angels Motorcycle Club. A master mechanic, he has been technical consultant on several biker films including Hell's Angels on Wheels and Hell's Angels '69, has served time in federal and state penitentiaries, and is developing a movie based on his autobiography. He rides his customized Harley-Davidson every day and bench-presses 285 pounds. Keith and Kent Zimmerman are a unique writing team of twin brothers. They are coauthors of Rotten: No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs, written with John Lydon, aka Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols, a number one bestseller in Britain that was nominated for a Ralph J. Gleason Book Award. "The Zimmermen" also cowrote Daddy-O: Iguana Heads and Texas Tales, which delved into the life of Texas sculptor and photo-realist painter Robert "Daddy-O" Wade.