Synopses & Reviews
Everything the public thinks it knows about the Hell's Angels Motorcycle Club (HAMC) comes from law enforcement, Hollywood B-movies, tabloid exposes, or exaggerated "I was there" testimonials. Never before has the story of this uniquely American subculture and the wild, dangerous life of quintessential Angel Ralph "Sonny" Barger been chronicled with such hard-hitting honesty and candor--straight from the source. Finally, the Angels' side of the story has been laid out by one of their own.
Hell's Angel provides a fascinating all-access pass to the secret world of the notorious HAMC, recounting the birth of the original Oakland Hell's Angels and the four turbulent, tumultuous decades that followed. It features a cast of colorful fellow "one-percenters" like Terry the Tramp, Charlie Magoo, and all those who rode alongside Barger throughout the years. Hell's Angel also chronicles the way the HAMC revolutionized the look of the Harley-Davidson motorcycle and built what has become a worldwide bike-riding fraternity, a beacon for freedom seekers the world over.
In his own words, Barger recounts his relentless battles against government efforts to destroy the HAMC, explains what happened in the standoff between the Hell's Angels and the 1960s antiwar elite, and tells the real story behind the infamous 1969 Rolling Stones concert at Altamont Raceway, an epochal moment that came to symbolize the end of the sixties. This epic saga provides insight into the personal life of a charismatic visionary who embodies values uniquely American: personal liberty on the open highway, beating the odds, staying on top, and never backing down. Dozens of photos, including many from private collections--as well as images shot by noted photographers--provide added dimensions to this extraordinary tale.
Barger's stories highlight the personal triumphs as well as the rough-and-tumble tragedies of his life: constant battles with law enforcement, incarceration, overcoming throat cancer, love and marriage, and continuing to live the biker life--still crazy after all these years. And Hell's Angel doesn't gloss over heated topics such as violence, drugs, and the strong women who always stood behind Barger and the club. Never simply a story about motorcycles, colorful characters, and high-speed thrills, Hell's Angel is the ultimate outlaw's tale of loyalty and betrayal, subcultures and brotherhood, and the real price of freedom.
“Bargers autobiography is about as subtle as a kick in the groin, and thats whats so refreshing about it.” San Francisco Chronicle
“Not your ordinary book…A peek at another side of America.” Tulsa World
“The hombre who gave you motorcycle culture…The biker style that Barger originated remains timeless.” Chicago Tribune
“Barger paints an engrossing picture of a distinctive subculture that receives precious little literary attention.” Booklist
“Maybe the baddest man on two wheels.” Rolling Stone
“Hells Angel chieftain Ralph ‘Sonny Barger has led one interesting, bad-to-the-bone life.” Seattle Times
“A ripping good read…as gripping a tale as you would expect from the most famous pack of all time.” New Times Los Angeles
“One of the best books of the year.” Maxim
A tale of loyalty and betrayal, brotherhood and liberation, "Hell's Angel" is the story of the group's visionary founder and his fight for personal freedom and the right to live the outlaw life on the open road. 40 photos.
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.