Hell’s Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs

Hunter S. Thompson’s book Hell’s Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs was published in 1967 by Random House.

At a time when the Hells Angels motorcycle organisation was widely feared and accused of several illegal activities.

Hell's Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs

This film was widely praised for its up-close and uncompromising look at the gang. The New York Times called the world Thompson depicts “one most of us would never dare encounter.”

Thompson’s essay “The Motorcycle Gangs: Losers and Outsiders,” published in The Nation on May 17, 1965, is the original inspiration for the Hell’s Angels motorcycle club.

Before Thompson left for Vietnam in May of that year, The Nation editor Carey McWilliams wrote him a letter in March of 1965, offering to compensate him for a story about motorcycle gangs.

After the piece was published roughly a month after Thompson accepted the post, many publishing houses expressed interest in publishing a book by him on the subject.

Brief Synopsis of the Book

A literary ruffian and aguero journalist In this little piece of nonfiction, Hunter S. Thompson takes a flight with the angels—Angels. Hell’s

This is how Hunter S. Thompson’s illuminating account of his time spent with California’s most infamous motorcycle club, the Hell’s Angels, opens.

Thompson spent nearly two years with the notorious Angels in the mid-1960s, riding his bike up and down the coast, enjoying the anarchic atmosphere of their clan, and causing mayhem in the manner befitting their name.

His book does a good job of capturing a certain time and place in American history, when the motorcycle subculture was being created.

And when such countercultural movements were both exciting and terrifying to the general public. Gonzo journalism’s inventor, Hunter S. Thompson.

He writes with his signature bravado, energy, and raw honesty, all while maintaining his trademark complexity and piercing eye; as noted by The New Yorker,

Hell’s Angels” was Hunter Thompson’s First Book

Hunter Thompson’s debut book, “Hell’s Angels,” was an account of the author’s time spent with the biker gang, a prime example of violent counterculture of the time.

Thompson obtained a contract with Ballantine and spent time with “as many violent criminals as possible” after writing on the Heirs Angels and other cycle gangs for The Nation.

On Labor Day, 1966, a group of Angels “stomped” Thompson, nearly kicking him to death, which marked the end of his engagement.

The Hell’s Angels are not weird anomalies, but rather the predictable byproduct of the same society that today pretends to be surprised by their very existence.


Time’s editors symbolise a generation that has spent so much time in a world where criminals peddle toothpaste and hair oil on celluloid that it has lost the ability to deal with the actual thing.

Twenty years of seeing yesterday’s criminals cause chaos in today’s world has resulted in them raising kids who believe Jesse James was a fictional character on a TV show.