Lori's Reviews > Hell's Angel: The Life and Times of Sonny Barger and the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club

Hell's Angel by Ralph Barger
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Jun 27, 2008

it was ok
Read in June, 2008

I suffered through the first 2/3 of the book about how badass Sonny Barger (president of the Hell's Angels) thinks he is. It was 150+ pages about beating people, earning respect, loyalty, and brotherhood. Boiling it all down it seemed to be hundreds of men who can't handle the masses of alcohol and drugs they ingest. Finally, by the last 3rd of the book I found it interesting and not so juvenile.

The government and media fascination with the Hell's Angels was interesting. I had no idea about the lengthy court battles that went on or the media frenzy around the Hell's Angels for years. There were countless things the Hell's Angels should have gotten in trouble for individually but the governments main focus was trying to take down the whole club by whatever means possible, concocting stories, twisting facts, and trying to force conspiracies with informants planted in the club.

There were a few memorable tales, one that made me laugh out loud (shamefully) was how the club members in a normal night of excessive drug and alcohol use decided a casket would make an excellent table for Sonny’s house, the next day he woke to a cool casket in his living room. He tried to move it but it was far too heavy, which is when he found the body in the stolen casket and forced the club members to remove it immediately. What the hell?!?

Through most of the book I just wondered, who the hell lives like this, so extremely outside of normal society. But it was interesting to try and understand why they think beatings and murder are perfectly acceptable forms of showing loyalty and respect. Why they’d rather kill someone, and have, rather than give up their motorcycle patch.
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