The "Hell's Angels" Letters: Hunter S. Thompson, Margaret Harrell and the Making of an American Classic by Margaret A. Harrell
Norfolk Press of San Francisco
$60.00, high-end paperback / $6.00, e-book
Nonfiction: Memoir / Coffee Table
Available from the publisher
"Margaret is a natural resource and I’m not sure what the world would do without her. We’re lucky that she shares with us a saga of a long friendship, the work it produced and the legacy it left behind."
—William McKeen, author of Outlaw Journalist: The Life and Times of Hunter S. Thompson
"Margaret had a challenging and trusted relationship with Hunter as his Assistant Editor in 1966 while working on his first published book, Hell’s Angels, at Random House. Margaret’s energy was noted by Hunter as she chose to be available 24/7. Thus dealing with Hunter’s 'many demands' . . . My guess is that Hunter said: 'I have certain punctuations and wording that must be accepted as is . . . Never change anything without running it by me.' Margaret gets an award for 'Rolling With Hunter' at a very important time while launching his first book."
—Deborah Fuller, longtime personal assistant and trusted confidante of Hunter Thompson
"I am finally getting a chance to take a look at The Hell’s Angels Letters and I love it! I am especially enjoying Margaret’s personal history in the writing and publishing business, paralleling the history of HST in the business. Reproducing the actual letters is a nice touch. It lends a semblance of reality to the almost 'mythical' aspects of Hunter’s career and the author’s career."
—Frederic Wildfang, author of Durango and other Southwestern historical books
The Hell’s Angels Letters: Hunter S. Thompson, Margaret Harrell and the Making of an American Classic is an important revelation in the legacy of Thompson, with letters that survived precarious shipping and travel over decades, cloaked away from the public.
“If Hell’s Angels hadn’t happened I never would have been able to write Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas or anything else . . . I felt like I got through a door just as it was closing,” Hunter told Paris Review. When he secured a hardcover contract with Jim Silberman (Random House), the known part of the story breaks off. To whip up the final edits, Margaret A. Harrell, a young copy editor/assistant editor to Jim, was—in a break from the norm—given full rein to work with him by expensive long-distance phone and letter. This galvanizing action led to a fascinating tale. She uses the letters to resuscitate the cloaked, suspenseful withheld drama. The book peaks in their romantic get-together at his ranch twenty-one years after they last met, a moving tie maintained over the years.
Margaret A. Harrell is the author of the four-volume memoir series Keep This Quiet! and a three-time MacDowell Colony fellow. An editor, a light-body teacher of advanced meditation, and an internationally exhibited cloud photographer, she can be found at https://margaretharrell.com.