by Sonny Barger with Keith & Kent Zimmerman
Published by Harper Paperbacks, October 2001
Sonny’s story recounts the formation of the Oakland Hell’s Angels and the four decades that followed, featuring the legendary and colorful members who rode alongside him. It describes how the Hell’s Angels revolutionized the look of the Harley-Davidson motorcycle, and created what has become a worldwide bike-riding fraternity second to none.
In his own words, Sonny recounts his relentless battles against government efforts to destroy the HAMC, describes what happened in the standoff between the Hell’s Angels and the 1960′s anti-war elite, and tells the real story behind the infamous 1969 Rolling Stones concert at Altamont.
This saga provides insight into the personal life of the charismatic visionary who has symbolized freedom against all odds, staying on top and never backing down. Dozens of pictures, many from private collections and never seen publicly before, give added dimension to this tale.
Ralph “Sonny” Barger currently lives near Phoenix, Arizona, having moved from his longtime hometown of Oakland. He is now a member of the Cave Creek chapter of the Hell's Angels Motorcycle Club. A master mechanic, he has been technical consultant on several biker films including Hell’ s Angels on Wheels and Hell’ s Angels ’ 69, has served time in federal and state penitentiaries, and is developing a movie based on his autobiography. He rides his customized Harley-Davidson every day and bench-presses 285 pounds. Keith and Kent Zimmerman are a unique writing team of twin brothers. They are coauthors of Rotten: No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs, written with John Lydon, aka Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols, a number one bestseller in Britain that was nominated for a Ralph J.Gleason Book Award.
"Barger’s autobiography is about as subtle as a kick in the groin, and that’s what's so refreshing about it.”
-- Eric Miles Williamson, San Francisco Chronicle
"It supports the maxim that Hell’s Angels don't cry. ‘When I got off a murder charge in 1972, the newspapers said there was a tear in my eye, but I don't recall it.’”
-- Eoghan Corry, Irish Tattler
"...he takes the reader on a wild ride through three decades of a brotherhood that is like no other.”
-- Colleen Heild, Albuquerque Journal
"...is as compulsive as the gutteral rumble of a Road King.”
-- Bel Mooney, London Times
"The book is Barger’s story as the undisputed, if unofficial, leader for years of the notorious bikers, and a favorable chronicle of the birth and development of an organization widely condemned as a violent gang.”
-- Susan Carpenter, Los Angeles Times
“Barger paints an engrossing picture of a distinctive subculture that receives precious little literary attention.”