Angels of Death: Inside the Bikers’ Empire of Crime

ISBN: 0676977316
ISBN 13: 9780676977318
By: William Marsden Julian Sher

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About this book

The award-winning authors of The Road to Hell: How the Biker Gangs Are Conquering Canada bring us a definitive, up-to-the-minute account of the Hells Angels and the international biker network.Marsden and Sher explain how the expansion of America’s foremost motorcycle gang has allowed this once ragtag group of rebels, outcasts and felons to become one of the world’s most sophisticated criminal organizations. While the media has continued to toast the Hells Angels California leader, Sonny Barger, as an American legend, the facts tell another story – they are America’s major crime export. With an estimated 2,500 full-patch members in 25 countries, the Hells Angels have inspired a global subculture of biker gangs that are among the most feared and violent underworld players. Angels of Death takes readers to Arizona, inside the biggest American police undercover operation to infiltrate the bikers; to British Columbia where wealthy bikers dominate the organized crime pyramid; to Australia where the “bikies” shoot it out with police; to Curaçao where terrorist organizations funnel drugs to Dutch bikers; and to the streets of Oslo, Copenhagen and Helsinki where a murderous biker war saw rocket attacks and bombs turn Scandinavia into a war zone. For the first time, police officers who have infiltrated biker gangs tell their secrets – revealing the challenges, fears and horrors they’ve discovered going undercover. Sher and Marsden take the reader behind the latest headlines to tell the story of how the Hells Angels became so powerful, and how the police – with only a few successes – have tried to stop them.Excerpt from Angels of Death:Three murderous evenings, three different continents, three faces of the Angels of death: the killing of innocents, the killing of fellow bikers, and the killing of cops. Not to mention the hundreds of thousands of lives ruined, brains fried, bodies withered by the methamphetamines, cocaine and other drugs pushed by the bikers. And yet while the body count kept mounting, Sonny Barger, the Californian patriarch and international leader of the Hells Angels, was being feted by the international media as he promoted his latest bestselling book. Even the usually thoughtful British press fell for the rebel Yankee. The Times called him, “affable, big-hearted, warm.” The Independent labelled him an “American legend.”And in many ways he is. From the Hardcover edition.

Reader's Thoughts


The Angels have a better corporate network than some very well-known companies. Their product (drugs) has effected almost everyone and although most companies don't use murder and intimidation they are business savvy. Starting with the history of the club and working through the establishing of the brand through out the world (and it is almost everywhere). Also describing the police work or lack of police work in different countries and what they are up against. Very disturbing - I had the Angels come through my town many many years ago. They were escorted from city limits to city limits and believe me the ground shook ---


I'm between 3 stars and 4 on this one. It covers a lot of ground--maybe a bit too much for my taste--but the authors do a good job of framing their coverage with a more in-depth account of one particular undercover case and the officers who ran it. Sher and Marsden do a good job of deglamorizing biker culture, but their stories of inter-agency infighting among law enforcement didn't leave me with much confidence that biker gangs would be finished any time soon.

Jarrad Bock

Pretty good going all over the world and into different countries that have the bikie gangs entrenched in them. The parts set in Scandinavia and Australia were particularly enlightening. The way the american parts are set between chapters is annoying and is a bit disconcerting.


So far, so scary!!! An interesting insight into the Hells Angels. VERY far from how they are portrayed in films. Often they are romanticized. Simply terrifying people.


Review and history of the Hell's Angels and their growth in the USA, Europe, and Australia. Also features chapters on operation "Black Biscuit" in Arizona.


There should be more books like this out there to show the reality of these so called "legends". I take my hat off to all the cops etc. who have put in the hard yards to arrest these guys. It's just a pity the justice system let's them down most times.


I learned A LOT from this book! I didn't know much about the Hells Angels...but really feel educated about them now. The story covered Jay Dobbins and his life as an undercover ATF agent who infiltrated the HA's. Parts of it were a little wordy (especially since I don't speak "police talk") but it was still very interesting. Much to some people's belief...the Hells Angels are definately NOT a friendly biker group just out to do good and help the community with Toys for Tots and different things they are involved in. Boy were my eyes opened!


Well my boyfriend and I both read this book ... well let's be honest, only I finished it. And that's just because no matter how bad a book is, I usually can't not finish it - I'm the same with movies. I envy those people who have the gumption to get up and walk out midway. I can never be certain that it won't get any better, so I stay. Oddly enough, the owner of the book (it was a book club book), raced thru it and declared it un-put-downable. Curious what piques different people's interest!This book was interesting, but dragged ... a lot. And as my boyfriend said, kept re-telling pretty much the same story just changing the characters and countries. It's interesting to have read since I've never put much thought into "biker gangs" nor have I ever thought of them as a mafia-type organisation. And even tho the South African Hells Angels get a mention here and there, I still can't quite picture them ... clearly they are not in my sphere of focus. I mean you see bikers riding about on Sundays, but I would never say "Oh, there go the Hells Angels".This book also highlighted for me that I just don't get gang-culture. It makes no sense to me, but then again I've never been a very peer-influenced type of girl. Still, if bikers are your thing, then you should probably give this a read :)


Interesting look at biker culture and organised crime, but no closure. Feels like it was written 5 years too early, with few of the cases having been prosecuted.

Cheryl Schibley

This investigator says that even though motor cycle gangs are trying to clean up their act with the occasional act of charity - basically they are sociopathic, violent, criminals. Very good read.


Hmmm.....Whilst this book was informative on the organisation and structure of the Hells Angels, especially as they branched out to become a world-wide (rather than solely American) club, something with this book just didn't sit right with me. A sensational account of the activities of the Hells Angels as an international criminal organisation, given the title it shouldn't be surprising that this is extremely one-sided. Much of the 'evidence' presented is taken from interviews with the police and prosecutors, or taken from police transcripts and affidavits, but with the vast majority of cases yet to be proven via court trial I have an extremely hard time taking this as 'fact'. An early incident in the book possibly set me on guard for the rest - when describing the murder of Cynthia Garcia, who was last seen alive on CCTV with a couple of bikers, the authors state that on entering the Angels clubhouse and seeing the situation within Cynthia was 'horrified'. Now, unless the authors have psychic powers I have no idea how in the hell they would know how she felt and this made me leery of totally accepting anything else written within.For a book that sought to expose the criminal activity of the club it's probably a surprising side-effect that, to me, it seemed more a damning indictment of the law enforcement side. With corruption (in the form of individuals leaking information to the people who were being investigated, or taking bribes), incompetence and in-fighting ruining long-standing, extremely expensive investigations and then with those cases that did get to trial usually being thrown out, I felt that the only people who came out not looking like complete arses were the undercover officers who were put into extremely stressful situations, often for years at a time, only for their hard work to be completely undermined by the time the investigations were closed. Probably not the intended aim, but so it goes...

Bro_Pair أعرف

Pretty decent, serviceable book about the Hells Angels. Don't expect to find much new insight about biker culture - the two authors don't even mention Hunter S. Thompson's unrivaled study. In fact, they hate the Angels. Hate them, hate them, hate them. The high-toned animosity may preclude any insights into the allure of the life, but it at least clear and borne of a simple, irrefutable belief: the Hells Angels are ultimately unromantic thugs - "bullies with stickers on their backs," as a tough Canadian cop puts it. And Marsden and Sher have the rap sheet to back it up, a list of people killed and maimed by these monstrous assholes, just for getting in their way. The stuff about the ATF sting in Arizona will be a good movie some day, but for sheer comedy, the Great Nordic Biker War, where the Hells Angels were literally looting armories and firing bazookas into clubhouses, is the stuff deserving of a more wry treatment by a more subversive author


This was fascinating in places, but the narrative struggled to hold my attention in others.


This Book is very good. I like the way that many U.S. agenceys have infiltrated the group but have not been able to shut the Hells Angels down.

John Branney

This book has some interesting stories about the history of the 81 and expands the coverage of the club to worldwide. It is an unflattering view of the club that portrays most of the members as hopped up, homicidal psychopathic maniacs that would do anything or kill anyone for money and drugs.The book is very difficult to follow because the authors jump around the world and write about the 81 in California and then Arizona then Denmark and then Holland and then the UK and then Canada, etc. Since the authors obviously wanted to cover the 81 from this worldwide perspective, I am not sure how they would have reorganized this book much differently so that the book was more consistent from chapter to chapter. But the way the book was written, I found myself leafing through the countries I was less interested in. Perhaps, the authors bit off more than they could chew on.The book was average reading I enjoyed Dobyn's and Sonny Barger's book much better, probably because they were writing first hand accounts.I agree with one of the other reviewers who brought up that books like Angels of Death are more interesting when they are written from a first person perspective and not a police blotter perspective.One shaky thumb up for this book. Valiant effort, but pretty slow reading. If you can get the book on the cheap or at the library, it may be worth a look.

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