Hunter often said Harrell was the best copy editor he’d ever worked with.
–William McKeen, Outlaw Journalist
But what was the rest of the story?
The first book in this memoir series – Keep This Quiet! – captures the fear and loathing, charm and romance of Hunter in the late 60s. Included are genuine, funny letters Hunter sent Margaret during and after the publication of his break-out first book, Hell’s Angels. This is a perfect companion to Hell’s Angels – to see some of his anguished letters as the process went dramatic.
Also included are priceless reminiscences and memorabilia of some of Hunter’s oldest friends: Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist William Kennedy, Richmond mayor David Pierce, folk singer Rosalie Sorrels, The Realist publisher Paul Krassner, and editor Jim Silberman—covered in no other account. Also, letters to Margaret from the outrageous “Dr. Gonzo” (Oscar Acosta). Further featured are Flemish “poète maudit” Jan Mensaert and Greenwich Village “poet genius” Milton Klonsky.
It is Harrell’s insight into the development of Thompson both as an author and a character that truly set this memoir apart. . . . In closing, this book is a joy to read, particularly for anyone that has that urge to express themselves through the creative arts in all their forms. In terms of its importance to the Hunter S. Thompson world I would have to say that there are not many other books out there that have the same intimate understanding of the man behind the myth. Keep This Quiet is not just a reflection on the past but also a rediscovery of that period, with a new understanding of the events and the people that populated that particular corner of the era of rapid change and growth, one of both personal discovery and cultural revolution, whose effects to this day are still rippling across the consciousness of the American psyche.
Read the whole review here on Totally Gonzo.
A Word from the Author
Hunter begins practically his first letter to me:
It is now four hours and twenty minutes past the midnight hour deadine for my leaving this house but I’m still here, sitting in a heap of boxes and debris….working on this, my final effort on what now appears to be a doomed book.
Yes, that was Hell’s Angels. We all know how the story ended, but there’s a twist – a Gonzo one – in getting the manscript down to the wire, past the deadline, out to his waiting audience. It’s one of many tales told in Keep This Quiet! A real close-up, inside look at Hunter in the late 1960s, when he was 29. Some Hell’s Angels commentators ask how much the stomping affected his perspective in the book. Questions like that are answered in Keep This Quiet! In this case, none. Not one bit. The manuscript was already turned in. It was the usual situation for Hunter: Hold the presses!!! There’s been a development. And we did.