Tag Archives: 4 of 5

Hell’s Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs

HellsAngelsI just finished reading Hell’s Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs by Hunter S. Thompson. Thompson wrote Hell’s Angels during 1965 and 1966, and is probably best known as the author or Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which was published in 1972. He popularized a style of journalism known as “gonzo journalism” where the author participates in the story, writes in first-person narrative, and frames himself as the protagonist. Gonzo also tends to be rather satirical in tone.

I ran into this book on a friend’s reading list and thought it sounded interesting, so I decided to dive in for myself. It’s a well written book with a sort of meandering style that doesn’t always progress linearly. Thompson essentially befriended the angels and hung out with them for around a year as he wrote this book. He didn’t actually become a Hell’s Angel, and the gang knew he was a journalist, but he seems to have acquired enough rapport to have written accurately. It reads like a pop culture, anthropological sketch.

I knew going into this book that the angels were infamous, but I’ll admit that some of the details were more raw than I expected. To be perfectly clear, I didn’t expect rape to play such a large role in the story. Drugs, law-breaking, motorcycles, sex––I knew they would all likely play a part––but Thompson’s account of rape is uncomfortable to read.

Nevertheless, this is an enthralling book that captures a splice of 1960’s American counter-culture in page-turning fashion. From Memorial Day rides with hundreds of angels, to theories about the gang’s origins, to the wider culture’s varied reaction to the angels, Thompson captures that 1960’s American culture that I’m fond of reading about. The narrative about the angel’s interactions with Allen Ginsberg is especially interesting. The only part of the story that’s missing would have been an account of the Altamont festival, but that didn’t occur until 1970. Bummer.

 

4 out 5 black cups of coffee.
1st book of 2016.
Read with Caution.

4 of 5-01

 

 

1 of 12-01

 

 

Recent Reads

steve-jobs

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Buy on Amazon.

Great Read.

5 out of 5 cups of Black Coffee

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the-ares-decision

The Ares Decision by Kyle Mills

Buy on Amazon

One of the my favorite books in the Covert-One Series.

4 out of 5 cups of Black Coffee

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jonathan-edwards-lover-of-god

Jonathan Edwards:  Lover of God by Strachan & Sweeney

Buy on Amazon

Probably one of the briefest introductions to Edwards life that you can read. Accessible and Informed.

3 out of 5 cups of Black Coffee

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the-girl-who-played-with-fireThe Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larrson

Buy on Amazon

Wasn’t planning on reading any more from this series because it’s pretty rough / disturbing at times. But Larsson’s writing is good and compelling. This isn’t as good as the first book, but still hard to put down.

3.5 out of 5 cups of black coffee

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Book Review: M.A.S.H. A Novel About Three Army Doctors

MASHI’m an avid M.A.S.H. fan. I grew up in a household with parents who watched the reruns nearly every night. My mom especially seemed to have it perpetually on. But I never really understood the appeal of the show until I started watching it myself. It’s weird how you pick up on a select number of your parents’ habits as you grow older. But you do. It seems like we all do. Eventually you realize that you’re a lot like your folks, and it scares you a bit. Honestly though, it’s a happy, understanding sort of scared. Like you somehow know them better and love them more deeply, but secretly wonder if your kids will one day look at you like you’re crazy.

In my mid-twenties I picked up a personal love for M.A.S.H., and over the course of three years, I watched through the entire series. Eleven seasons, twenty-four episodes each (usually anyway), for a grand total of 251 total episodes. Steadily one episode after another I watched, and it became a part of my life. When I finished the series, there was a sort of melancholy that set upon me, like I’d lost a good friend, and life would never quite be the same. It literally felt like I was leaving college or something. I felt that way because it’s a show about characters. And you grow to like those characters, even love those characters, and you feel like they’re a part of your life. Now they’re leaving, and it’s sort of sad. I loved M.A.S.H. not just for the characters though, I also loved it because it transported me to another place, one with war and death and adventure and humor and cold nights and hot summers and meaning and moodiness and all-around life. It’s a show about life, about humanity, and I love it.

The movie upon which the tv show was based is a little different. Not too different, but different. Same characters, many of the same actors, but with a much darker sort of humor. It’s a bit of a scandalous movie, touching on subjects that at the time, and even now, seem too taboo to talk about. You watch, and you laugh, and you’re not sure if you should be laughing. A sort of Southpark approach decades before Southpark existed. Many who like the tv show don’t appreciate the movie, and many who like the movie don’t appreciate the tv show. Personally I love them both. And by saying that, I’m not trying to make any sort of moral evaluation, I’m just admitting that I like them.

I just finished reading the book, which I had never read before. In case you didn’t know, the book is the genesis of the movie, the tv show, everything. It was written in 1968 by Richard Hooker. Really it was written H. Richard Hornberger because Hooker is a pseudonym, but whatever. It’s a book about three army doctors, their friends, and all the craziness that they caused as surgeons at the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital. Hooker indicated that the storyline was based roughly on his own experiences in the Korean War while stationed at a M.A.S.H. unit. According to Hooker’s son, the lead character, Hawkeye Pierce, was loosely based upon his dad, and in some senses is autobiographical. It makes me wonder how loosely because it’s hard to believe that the characters in this book, affectionately referred to as “The Swampmen,” could really pull off all the comical hijinks that the book entails. Secretly, as a reader of the book, you sort of hope they really did pull off all of the craziness. It seems a bit too over-the-top to be true, but maybe not. And it’s this sort of flirting with the line of reality that makes the entire book work as a pleasing bit of fiction to read.

M.A.S.H. is hilarious. Multiple times I laughed out loud. But be warned! The humor is even darker than the movie. It would be rather easy to find yourself offended if you didn’t know what you were getting into. But as an avid M.A.S.H. fan, I highly recommend it!

4 out of 5 Cups of Black Coffee.

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Five Sentence Review: The Altman Code by Robert Ludlum & Gayle Lynds

the-altman-codeThis is the fourth book in the Covert One Series created by Robert Ludlum. I’m pretty sure this is my favorite novel within the series so far, and it’s solidified my faith in Gayle Lynds as a good thriller novelist. Set largely in China, this novel came alive in it’s accurate portrayal of both that country and the shaky alliance that his been formed between America and the East in recent years. A recurring theme in Ludlum novels is the potential evils of unchecked capitalism and the military industrial complex when they become too tightly interwoven into the fabric of Washington’s politics. Suffice it to say that The Altman Code seems to comment upon both the Bush administration and Dick Cheney as the story of greed and warmongering progresses.

Fun to Read.

 

4 of 5 cups of black coffee.

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5 Sentence Review: Money: God or Gift by Jamie Munson

money-gift-or-godI haven’t read a ton of books on Christian finance, but this has surely got to be one of the best. In Money: God or Gift, Jamie Munson clearly lays out the basic biblical principles regarding money in the Bible. The book is a quick read (think a couple of days), balanced in its thinking, cheap to buy (only $5 on kindle), theologically focused, practical in application, and includes discussion questions for group study and further probing. The end of the book has useful appendices for planning a budget and resources for further study. This would be my de facto book recommendation for those struggling with finances.

4 of 5 cups of black coffee

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Disc Golf Course Review – 7 Oaks – Nashville, TN

7-oaksMy Favorite Course in Nashville

  • Pros: This really is my favorite course in Nashville. It has a great design with a wide variety of terrain and challenges for both left and right handers. The community of golfers surrounding the course keep it in good condition, and there’s always several golfers playing when you show up. The landscape is diverse and inviting. Pretty nice tee pads. Multiple pin locations, and updated signs were just added. Location in the city!
  • Cons: Not much here, but the baskets are a bit shallow, so you might occasionally lose a putt that would stick somewhere else. Some might complain that it’s too wooded, but that’s part of what makes it 7 Oaks (IMO).
  • Other Thoughts: A really relaxing course to play since there’s not much elevation change. You can play through quickly if you desire, but it’s not boring or short. Might be the smartest designed course in town. Full Review Here.
4 out of 5 Black Cups of Coffee
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Five Sentence Review: What is the Gospel? – Greg Gilbert

what-is-the-gospelWhat is the Gospel? This is a really important question, and a timely book (because legitimately there’s a lot of talk about the gospel within the religious landscape right now). Gilbert’s answer in four words: God. Man. Christ. Response. This book seems to have been written both to clarify the gospel for the average person, and to help guard against what the author feels are slight distortions of the gospel message prevalent within evangelical circles today (e.g. those focusing too heavily on the kingdom of God in the here and now, those re-articulating the gospel mainly in meta-narrative language rather than penal substitutionary language, and perhaps those whom Gilbert feels are listening too closely to authors such as Leslie Newbigin, N. T. Wright, Rob Bell, Brian McLaren, etc.*). My opinion on the book:  challenging, thought-provoking, and helpful; though, perhaps slightly lacking some nuance that I might have preferred about the kingdom / gospel / meta-narrative discussion (not that I necessarily disagree with Gilbert’s conclusions).

Verdict: Read it. It’s a quick read. And let it challenge you to think hard about the gospel.

Four out of Five Black Cups of Coffee.

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*this is just my guess

Five Sentence Review: Think: The Life of the Mind and Love of God – John Piper

thinkThink is Piper’s latest book, and deals with how our minds, and the act of thinking, assist humans in the process of knowing and glorifying God. The first three chapters of the book are probably my favorite because they are more autobiographical, and one of the quotes from Jonathan Edwards still blows my mind. Piper does a rather well-rounded job of both explaining how our minds work in process of knowing God, and in defending proper thinking against relativism and anti-intellectualism. I love how Piper talks about knowing God because he perfectly balances deep thinking (intellect) with deep feeling (emotion). The last third of the book (when Piper defends thinking against anti-intellectualism), while thorough and amazingly exegetical, nevertheless get a little dry from a reading perspective.

Verdict:  Good, thorough, mind-expanding read.

Four of Five Cups of Black Coffee.
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