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Words, Words, Words

A catalog of my comments and thoughts on books, reading, and writing as well as anything I come across that seems interesting. I used to sell other people's words at an independent bookstore but now I hope to get by on selling my own.

Reading the News

Hell's Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga - Hunter S. Thompson

Hell's Angels is as much (maybe more) about the media as it is about the infamous motorcycle gang. Thompson hints at the gonzo character that would make him famous, but the strength of Hell's Angels is the clarity with which he writes about the gang-- a petty, brutish gang of violent losers, certainly, but little resembling the evil empire that capture the attention of news outlets and their readership.


Thompson teases the story along with the promise of lurid details to come (it starts with the subtitle, "A Strange and Terrible Saga") and they are there, but the scenes are less grand than you might imagine. The effect is an image more recognizably human. Cruel, but mortal, and kind of pathetic.


The news reports portrayed something mysterious and powerful, something that would require support for law and order in whatever strange new methods are demanded to keep the menace at bay. Thompson suggests that the menace is far more familiar than we want to believe.