I hadn't planned on writing a book when I quit the Hells Angels.
After forty years in the Hells Angels, George Christie was ready to retire. As president of the high-profile Ventura charter of the club, he had been the yin to Sonny Barger’s yang. Barger was the reckless figurehead and de facto world leader of the Hells Angels. Christie was the negotiator, the spokesman, the thinker, the guy who smoothed things out. He was the one who carried the Olympic torch and counted movie stars, artists, rock musicians, and police chief captains among his friends.
But leaving the Hells Angels isn’t easy, and within two weeks of retirement, he was told he was “out bad”—blackballed by his fellow Angels, prohibited from wearing the club patch, and even told he should remove his Death Head tattoo.
Now Christie sets out to tell his story. Exile on Front Street is the tale of how a former Marine gave up a comfortable job with the Department of Defense and swore allegiance to the Hells Angels. In this revealing, hard-hitting memoir, he recounts his life as an outlaw biker with the world’s most infamous motorcycle club.
Christie, a onetime member of the Hells Angels, points out in this lucid member that the greatest threat to an outlaw isn't cops it's his outlaw brothers. Raised in a close-knit Greek-American family in Ventura, Calif., Christie encountered a denim-clad, long-haired biker in 1955 and saw his future. After a stint in the Marines and an unfortunate marriage, Christie started riding with the Angels while raising a family and working for the Department of Defense. Troubled by the club feuds and senseless killings, Christie tried to mediate the strife and rose to the presidency of the Ventura chapter, cementing his role of peacemaker by running with the torch at the 1984 Olympics. Yet no amount of PR could overcome the sectarian squabbling and endless police harassment. Christie is a convincing narrator, though it's impossible to believe that he's the Boy Scout he makes himself out to be. Legal concerns may explain his circumspection, and his numerous enemies certainly have a very different take on their disagreements. Sonny Barger, the legendary president of the Oakland Angels, features as a Machiavellian villain, intent on destroying anyone who threatens his place in the spotlight. That said, Christie articulately defends his outlaw code, which he adhered to at great personal cost. Although he resigned from the Angels in 2010, his past, as he engagingly writes, continues to haunt him. As Christie wryly observes, "You don't just stop being an outlaw."
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What a story. Very well written. As a loner who rides and dances to my own drum I can relate to Mr Christie wanting to ride and be free and the feeling of hitting the throttle and going as fast as I can Thanks for a good book