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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"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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780983704508
Publisher: Saeculum University Press
Publication date: 09/20/2011
Series: Keep This Quiet! i
Pages: 258
Sales rank: 701,812
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.54(d)
Age Range: 16 Years

About 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.

Table of Contents


Preface xiii
Author's Note xv
Prologue: My Personal Myth xvii


The Top of the Stairs 1


March in Paris 17
Meeting Jean-Marie (Jan) Mensaert 25
Meeting Milton Klonsky 39
On a Downslope 57
Meeting Hunter S. Thompson 63
The Martyred Wizard in New York 91
Hunter: Rendezvous in L. A. 105
HST: The Red Ink Letters 117
Jan Makes Noise, Milton Emerges 129
Hunter in the Woods 133
Hunter: Snake at R. H. 145
Oscar Acosta 153
The End of R. H. 161
After Random House 169
HST: The Outer Banks, Jean-Claude Killy 185
The Tirlemont Syndrome 201
Hunter's "Grain of Sand" 207
Epilogue: "How It's Working Out" 215

Notes 217
Works Cited 221
Index 227

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)

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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