The Hell's Angels are the outlaw motorcycle cult of Southern California who have acquired an image of almost mythical proportions. Mr. Thompson, journalist, lived, rode, and even fought with them for a period of over a year. What he has come up with is an interesting sociological comment, particularly on the peculiar propaganda powers of the press. Two highly publicized incidents—the supposed gang rape of two fourteen and fifteen year old girls during a beach orgy, and the rumble take-over of a small town for a very lost weekend, brought the Angels to a pinnacle of national nation-wide attention and public protest. As Mr. Thompson points out in his dissection of fact vs. fiction, the reports were misleading or as he puts it "incredible swill." And he launches a beautiful attack on the "New York Press Establishment" i.e., Time, Newsweek and The New York Times. The phenomenal aspect of this press was that the Angels started believing the image. They trekked to the movies to see themselves portrayed on film by Marlon Brando and Lee Marvin in The Wild Ones. They got dirtier, tougher, meaner and for a while even had a public relations man to promote their madness into some sizable cash. What Mr. Thompson tries to say is that the Angels, while not angels, are not as bad as believed. They are "mutants," a bit more misfit but actually not too dissimilar from the local fraternity on rampage. Regardless, they have the sort of repellent fascination that may find a large readership. Read full book review >
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