Keep This Quiet! My Relationship with Hunter S. Thompson, Milton Klonsky and Jan Mensaert

Keep This Quiet! My Relationship with Hunter S. Thompson, Milton Klonsky and Jan Mensaert

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by Margaret A. Harrell, Hunter S. Thompson

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"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? "Keep This Quiet" captures the fear and loathing, charm and romance of Hunter in the late Sixties - along with tales of two other underground authors. Included are genuine, funny


"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? "Keep This Quiet" captures the fear and loathing, charm and romance of Hunter in the late Sixties - along with tales of two other underground authors. Included are genuine, funny letters he sent Margaret during and after the publication of "Hell's Angels." Also, priceless reminiscences of some of Hunter's oldest friends: William Kennedy, David Pierce, Rosalie Sorrels, and editor Jim Silberman - covered in no other account. Featured in addition are "poète maudit" Jan Mensaert and Greenwich Village "poet genius" Milton Klonsky. Also, Hunter's sidekick Oscar Acosta.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Harrell is an excellent storyteller, in a story that is never about the narrative, but about the real people. Every person in the book is bold and well defined" - San Francisco Book Review

"Harrell beautifully tells the story of how her relationships with the three men, predominantly Thompson, progressed, sharing intimate moments and keeping the reader turning the page - Portland Book Review"

"If you want to know what the Sixties were really like, read 'Keep This Quiet: A Memoir.' It's all there: the openness, the hope, the ideals, the risks, the highs and lows, the travel, the love" - Robert Morgan, author of "Gap Creek" and "Terroir"

"A Feast for the Gonzo Soul"-Martin Flynn, owner of

"Margaret Harrell's Keep This Quiet offers an illuminating look at Hunter S. Thompson in full throttle trying to make it as a Top Notch prose-stylist. Harrell fills in many important biographical gaps. A welcome addition to what is becoming the HST cottage industry. Read it"-Douglas Brinkley, editor of The Proud Highway and Fear and Loathing in America

"Keep This Quiet! is a moving read and much recommended to any literary studies or memoir collection"-Midwest Book Review

"In the ever expanding list of biographies and memoirs about Hunter S. Thompson, this latest offering, Keep This Quiet! by Margaret A. Harrell, is quite simply a breath of fresh air. . . . What sets 'Keep This Quiet!' apart is the extent to which Harrell explores the question of identity and myth, in her quest to simultaneously answer questions concerning her own character and that of one Hunter S. Thompson . . . 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."

Midwest Book Review
Hunter S. Thompson is perhaps one of the most enigmatic figures of the twentieth century. "Keep This Quiet! My Relationship with Hunter S. Thompson, Milton Klonsky, and Jan Mensaert" is a memoir from Margaret A. Harrell as she discusses her own way with many of the legends of the literary world in the middle of the twentieth century. With a solid dose of humor and another perspective on these writers from a personal friend, "Keep This Quiet!" is a moving read and much recommended to any literary studies or memoir collection.
Bernie Nelson
Readers will be privy to never-before-published letters from Hunter Thompson, deepening insight into the turning point in his career and emergence into gonzo
The MindQuest Review
Chris Van de Velde
Beautiful in its directness and its openness. (Chris Van de Velde, Numenon Counseling Institute Director, Ghent, Belgium)
Kirkus Reviews
Harrell's memoir details her relationships with Hunter S. Thompson, Milton Klonsky and Jan Mensaert, and how these partners influenced her life by the way in which they lived their own. Harrell (Toward a Philosophy of Perception, 2005, etc.) becomes acquainted with the self-styled "Gonzo" journalist Thompson while helping to edit his first book, Hell's Angels (1967). She meets the Belgian poet Jean-Marie (Jan) Mensaert by chance outside a coffeehouse in Marrakech, and she discovers New York poet Milton Klonsky in a West Village bistro. Though disparate in age, temperament and locale, all three attracted the author because of her sense that they symbolized the zeitgeist of the 1960s and the coming post-modern era. Each man was fiercely individualistic, consciously deciding to live on his own terms in his life and work. For their part, all were physically attracted to Harrell, as well as finding in her a kindred spirit. Her relationship with Thompson is the only one that ever becomes, for a brief period, physical. Harrell's deep emotional attachment to the men sometimes undermines her explanations about why she thought each of them possessed genius. There is scant example of their actual writing, the focus being on their struggles—with varying degrees of success—to be properly acknowledged for it. Trying to describe how she knew the men were important writers, she resorts to language like "falling into vibrations" in their presence or quotes bits of conversations she had with them. For instance, Klonsky tells her, "Write it, your life, as you would write a novel." Still, there is a sense in which her personal, subjective approach is often effective; the reader comes to feel an affinity with the trio of writers in their attempts to achieve their iconoclastic visions of success, glimpsing them as individuals beyond their work, seeing how they think. Their genius, for Harrell, consisted of their being wholly themselves. Memoir will likely please Hunter S. Thompson fans and appeal to readers with an interest in the beginnings of the post-modern era or the personal sacrifices involved in bringing serious written work to fruition.
Eric Jacobs - Beat Scene # 70
"A passionately written memoir that doesn't sit around being fit and proper and straight laced. . . . As a key to the lives of these three writers it is idiosyncratic and in an age where blandness is the norm it is a pleasure to go on her journey and find out a little about what made these men tick and what drove her to them."

Product Details

Saeculum University Press
Publication date:
Keep This Quiet! i
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.54(d)
Age Range:
16 Years

What People are saying about this

Marty Flynn
To have had a large part in the process of the publishing of Thompson's Hell's Angels must have been a huge thing. To have dealt with him during these times must have been fascinating. I'm looking forward to reading it and spreading the word. (Marty Flynn, http:/
Chris Van de Velde
Telling the story again, restory-ing and so restoring the lives of four artists. That is what Margaret A. Harrell shows in an exemplary soul-mining fashion and spirit-suited flight. It takes the reader to the kitchen where creativity is hot, also in the passions of love. A book with so many dimensions is a gift with many surprises in it. Thanks for this treat, Margaret!
—Chris Van de Velde (philosopher, writer, teacher, and therapeutic coach)
Martin Flynn
Margaret Harrell baited the hook and I bit. Boy did I bite. . . She used titillation, and a masterful way of revealing herself to build engrossment, starting with Keep This Quiet! ANY thinking, living person will be locked in from the beginning. A knowledge of the three men is not a must. She oozes sexuality, sensuality and I believe these traits go towards interweaving the three men. I believe it to be s pellbinding. A hot sweaty tango of words. The bottom line is this. Not many books fulfill my reading needs. By this I mean covering a range of emotion. Keep This Quiet Too! did it for me. I loved it
—Martin Flynn (owner of
Bernie Nelson
Readers will be privy to never-before-published letters from Hunter Thompson, deepening insight into the turning point in his career and emergence into gonzo. (Bernie Nelson, publisher of The Mindquest Review)
William McKeen
Keep your eyes peeled for this new book by Margaret Harrell, the editor who guided Hunter through Hell's Angels. Hunter often said she was the best editor he ever worked with and they were close friends. I read the manuscript and I think Hunter's fans will appreciate this view of the man's life and work. (William McKeen, Outlaw Journalist Facebook page)
Alice Osborne
Keep This Quiet Too! starts off as Margaret Harrell’s immersion in the art, music, and literature of Mensaert, Thompson, and Klonsky but becomes something much more
—ALICE OSBORNE (author of After the Steaming Stops and Unfinished Projects)
Frank Despriet
Margaret’s life is, as always, more amazing than any book. If I didn’t know Margaret, I wouldn’t believe her incredible life story. But I know her and I can tell you: all of it is true
—FRANK DESPRIET (author of Communication Psychology: From Reptile to Robot)
Russell D. Park
Deep and provocative . . . insightful . . . unique, for sure!
—RUSSELL D. PARK (licensed clinical psychologist, coauthor of The Power of Humility)
Rory Feehan
I would like to review your upcoming book Keep This Quiet for my website. I also believe that it will be a vital source in relation to my [PhD] thesis, of which I have an entire chapter covering the Hell's Angels period. (Rory Feehan,
Virginia Parrott Williams
Margaret Harrell from early on had as her goal to live the most meaningful life possible. Three mentor/lovers helped in turn to light her way: Hunter Thompson for his ability to see the world for himself through as few distorting cultural lens as possible; Milton Klonsky for his deep wisdom and nurturing of the intelligence and sensitivity he saw within her; and the man she married, the Belgium poet Jan Mensaert, who sought out extreme experiences, encouraging her to come along and test her own limits. (Virginia Parrott Williams, coauthor of Anger Kills and In Control)
Bernie P. Nelson
Like a radio station with its own incomparable frequency, the inspiring book tunes readers’ receivers, sagaciously transporting them to . . . that quiet part of our psyche t hat knows no limitations or boundaries. Readers will experience new insights into the personal lives, talents, and the author’s intimate relationships with Hunter S. Thompson, t he father of Gonzo Journalism; Milton Klonsky, New York City poet with transformative word power and magnetic personality; Jan Mensaert, Belgian poet combining concepts of his music with his poetry
—BERNIE P. NELSON (publisher of The Mindquest Review)

Meet the Author

The author of eight books in the "Love in Transition: Voyage ofUlysses-Letters to Penelope" nonfiction series, including "Towarda Philosophy of Perception" and "Marking Time with Faulkner," Harrell copy edited Hunter Thompson'sfirst book, "Hell's Angels," at Random House. HST acknowledgedher in "Gonzo Letters" 2. She is also an editor, cloud photographer,and mentor to people trying to maximize their potential. Academically, she graduated from Duke University and Columbia University and attended the C. G. Jung Institute Zurich. She lived a long time in Belgium, years in Morocco, and several years in New York City, and currently lives in Raleigh, North Carolina.

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Keep This Quiet! My Relationship with Hunter S. Thompson, Milton Klonsky, and Jan Mensaert 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
HSTBooks More than 1 year ago
There are folks who enjoy reading Hunter Thompson's work and are happy to leave it there. Then there are those who want more. More being a need to know as much about Hunter's process as possible, the nitty-gritty, who helped him? Who influenced him? Call them freaks if that's your pleasure, Gonzo freaks. I'm one. We are out there. Unashamedly. And we love to see new HST-related stuff. Margaret A. Harrell showed up to tell me about her new book Keep This Quiet: My Relationship with Hunter S. Thompson, Milton Klonsky, and Jan Mensaert. Due for release 15th October.This is no ordinary book about or including Thompson. It's a memoir detailing personal relationships with three authors, the main focus being on Hunter. I'm going to focus on the HST part but must stress that this book, as a memoir is quite deep and holds the door open for the reader. While Hunter is a huge selling point, the book has the legs to stand alone. Margaret worked with Hunter as his copy editor (for Random House) on none other than Hell's Angels, his first book. According to Hunter she was the best copy editor he'd ever worked with. The Gonzo freaks among us will remember her getting hefty mentions in Fear and Loathing in America. I'd (needlessly) be inclined to ask myself where does one go from there? Lots of places as it turns out. Harrell clearly had an impact on Hunter, and witnessed the unfolding of the Gonzo legacy. What gives this book more pull is that until now Harrell has never published a word about Hunter. She says.. "The two other males in this book, I've written about in the past but not Hunter. Never Hunter. "I write this book, triggered by his death." And so she wrote. Looking at the picture of Margaret on the back cover and the few inside she strikes me as being an innocent sort. Butter wouldn't melt for want of a better phrase. Their relationship firstly developed by letter and phone. Yes, on their first face-to-face meeting it would seem she was nervous but as things progressed we learn that she has indeed a reinforced spine, and ample psychological finesse, both of which I believe must have been most important when dealing with Hunter S. Thompson, at the same time I must not belittle the mutual care and respect that developed between them. And there I shall leave that subject. It must be read to be appreciated. As well as tales from William Kennedy, David Pierce and others we are treated to correspondence from Oscar Acosta, and letters from Hunter we've never seen before. The well known Blue Indigo snake story is clarified. Margaret was one of the first to read the Rum Diary. There are loads of HST tidbits and stuff I'd never have thought would be in this book. It would be hard to keep going without giving anything away. So you must buy it to know more. I remember saying to William McKeen (author of Outlaw Journalist and Mile Marker Zero) a couple of years ago that I'd be happy if we were done with stuff written about HST for the reason that I felt the subject had been beaten to death. He disagreed and was right. I'm glad this came along. Its all new and a valuable addition to my collection and strangely enough it makes a great companion to McKeen's Outlaw Journalist. It has been a while since I have learned new stuff about Hunter Thompson. I feel refreshed. It was a pleasure to read and it was an honor for me to be among the first to read it. Highly recommended.
Salsarita More than 1 year ago
Inside story: Behind the scenes during journalist Hunter Thompson's first book publishing experience by his copyeditor (and flame!). Mesmerizing memoir personalizing Thompson, NY poet Milton Klonsky, then traveling to Morocco to meet Belgian poet Jan Mensaert -- with more to come from a grand memoirist in her own right, Margaret Harrell.
wanderingguru426 More than 1 year ago
I've read most of the post-Gonzo bios of the good Doctor, but this one is unabashed in it's revealing some of the behind-the-scenes craziness & creativity that took place while he worked to create some of the best(if not the best) journalistic history of the American scene in the later part of the 20th century. I highly recommend this book to any & all fans of the late (and great)Hunter Thompson.
lowtek More than 1 year ago
I bought this book and now I am waiting for my boyfriend to give it back. He saw it and has not put it down once. He says he really likes it. He says it flows and makes him want to keep reading. I can't wait! Looking forward to it.
Simone_Corday More than 1 year ago
What a special gift to have the thoughts and feelings of this idealistic, intellectual young woman, on the cutting edge of the 60s, a time of great cultural change. Harrell's sense of freedom and exuberance cannot be missed. She articulates the hopeful sense of possibility, excitement, and creativity special to people who were young during that time, and has not lost it. Margaret Harrell edited Hunter Thompson's "Hells Angels," meeting him as he was finding his power as a writer at 27. She was romantically involved with Hunter, and writes about their relationship, sharing many funny and telling incidents and their personal correspondence for the first time. Other people in Hunter's milieu appear, and the setting moves from New York to California, and Europe. Two other innovative writers of the 60s who impacted her life, the Flemish poet Jan Mensaert, who would become her husband, and poet Milton Klonsky, are major figures in the book as well. --Simone Corday is the author of 9 1/2 Years Behind the Green Door, A Memoir: A Mitchell Brothers Stripper Remembers her Lover Artie Mitchell, Hunter S. Thompson, and the Killing that Rocked San Francisco.
Nick_Storm More than 1 year ago
Keep this Quiet is a riveting, soul-baring honest look into Margaret Harrell and the inner workings of one of the world's greatest writers. It must have taken great courage for Margaret to open herself up to those words and feelings once again. The stories related in the book are honest and pure hearted gold. It makes a fine addition to the Gonzo library.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bravely told and hauntingly wise, Margaret Harrell’s KEEP THIS QUIET! books read like a Sally Rand fan dance at the top of her form. Harrell entices with promised details of her relationships with Milton Klonsky, Hunter Thompson, and Jan Mensaert, then draws readers closer with wit and wonderful honesty about how these men influence her life. The tales and their telling reveal—through glimpses—the shape and size of Ms. Harrell's heart. Every peek and flash, flourish and strut, accumulates into a grand, detailed picture of who Margaret Harrell was then and who she is now.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago