"Freedom: Credos from the Road" by Sonny Barger; Morrow ($14.95 paperback)
That guy on the stripped-down Harley idling at the light is probably an accountant or lawyer. So why shouldn't the ex-con, ex-head of the Hell's Angels notorious Oakland Chapter write an advice book?
Ralph "Sonny" Barger brings a busted-knuckle honesty to these short, punchy chopper rides on the highway of life. He's survived cancer, prison and drugs and offers this view of his current mission: "At book signings and personal appearances, whenever a kid walks up with his parents ... I lean over and ask, 'Know why I talk this way?' ... putting my thumb over the plastic valve in my throat that enables me to speak since I lost my voice box. Invariably the kid, scared, shakes his head. 'Because I smoked cigarettes,' I tell them. 'So promise me you won't smoke cigarettes.'"
With titles such as "Cut down on criminals by cutting down on laws," "Screw fightin' fair," and "Controlled anger is a powerful weapon," these essays add a notch to Barger's canon, which already included a novel and memoirs.
(c) 2005, The Dallas Morning News. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service.