Articles and Essays+ Original jacket copy
+ 1972 About the author
+ Michael L. Johnson
+ Quick Reviews
+ Tom Wolfe
Covers and Pictures+ Original hardcover
+ Original paperback
+ Mass trade cover
+ Penguin & Ballantine
+ Australian/British edition
+ 1972 Canadian Paperback
+ Modern Library Hardcover
+ Esquire, January 1967
For the person in a hurry...or someone who has left their essay 'til the last minute...here are some short reviews of Hell's Angels, both good and bad. Main sources for these short reviews are the bibliography by Cande Carroll in Hunter. ("CC") or Gale Literary Criticism ("GLC") as noted. All dates are in MM/DD/YY format. You can go to the library and look up the full reviews.
Litwak, Leo E., New York Times Book Review, 1/29/67 (GLC)
The easy acceptance of violence lends to Hell's Angelsa cartoon quality. We observe the Angels brutalizing themselves and others and somehow we expect them to recover as quickly as the cartoon cat and mouse. It's not that Thompson doesn't give us a vivid picture of brawls and orgies. His language is brilliant, his eye is remarkable, and his point of view is reminiscent of Huck Finn's. He'll look at anything; he won't compromise his integrity. Somehow his exuberance and innocence are unaffected by what he sees.
Hunter Thompson has presented us with a close view of a world most of us would never dare encounter, yet one with which we should be familiar.
Handlin, Oscar (GLC) - ouch, reference cut off when xeroxed!
Hell's Angelsshows the extent to which, in our society, the individual needs protection against himself as well as against others. This is a reporter's account of approximately a year spent in contact with the California gang of motorcycle outlaws....Thompson complains that the news media have exaggerated the extent to which the Angels terrorize the communities through which they ride. But his lurid narrative, despite its sympathy for his subjects, reveals the threat they pose.
Maurer, David W., LouisvilleCourier-Journal, 2/3/67 (CC)
It is a good sociology, written in a style that few sociologists ever master. An experienced, sophisticated writer for one so young, Thompson demonstrates a profound understanding of the drives, social and psychological, which motivate these mixed-up misfits who have it in for the square world - and everyone in it.
Elman, Richard M.,New Republic, 2/25/67 (CC)
...it asserts a kind of Rimbaurd delirium of spirit for nearly everybody to which, of course, only the rarest geniuses can come close...I suspect that Hunter S. Thompson is a writer whose future career is worth watching.
Nichols, Lewis, The New YorkTimes Book Review, 3/5/67 (CC)Reviewers have spoken of its authenticity, and in town the other day, author Thompson offered up a possible reason. 'I've a lot in common with the Angels, the main difference being I've a gimmick.' The gimmick is, he writes.
Plummer, William, New Republic, 08/25/79
Thompson erupted into the national consciousness in 1966 with Hell's Angels... - a curious book. Thompson was obviously turned on to his subject by the rash of lurid stories in the press, by eight-column heads like HELL'S ANGELS GANG RAPE, by such sinister runes as "Repeatedly...Assaulted Aged 14 and 15...Stinking, Hairy Thugs." But his intimacy with Frenchy, Tiny, Terry the Tramp, and Charger Charley the Child Molester taught him that the Angels were moslty regular guys, Kiwanis unvarnished.