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Hooking Up [Paperback]

Tom Wolfe
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 12 2001
In Hooking Up, Tom Wolfe ranges from coast to coast observing 'the lurid carnival actually taking place in the mightiest country on earth in the year 2000.' From teenage sexual manners and mores to fundamental changes in the way human beings now regard themselves thanks to the hot new fields of genetics and neuroscience; from his legendary profile of William Shawn, editor of The New Yorker (first published in 1965), to a remarkable portrait of Bob Noyce, the man who invented Silicon Valley, Tom Wolfe the master of reportage and satire returns in vintage form.

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From Amazon

Tom Wolfe's Hooking Up is an oleo of reportage, fiction, and acrimonious name calling. This last, of course, makes for the best reading. In "My Three Stooges", Wolfe reviles the three big men of American letters--Updike, Mailer and Irving--who cast aspersions on his second novel. Apparently, "the allergens for jealousy were present. Both Updike and Mailer had books out at the same time as A Man in Full, and theirs had sunk without a bubble. With Irving there was the Dickens factor". Wolfe gets in a lot of figures about what a big hit his book was with the reading public, and a few gentle reminders about other writers who were big hits of their time, little guys like Mark Twain and Tolstoy.

Equally bitter fun are his two famous 1965 satires from the New York Herald Tribune. As always, Wolfe's titles lead you a good way into the actual stories: "Tiny Mummies! The True Story of the Ruler of 43rd Street's Land of the Walking Dead!" and "Lost in the Whichy Thickets: The New Yorker". Wolfe, clothes horse of note, gets off some of his best cracks at the expense of New Yorker editor William Shawn's fashion sense: "He always seems to have on about twenty layers of clothes, about three button-up sweaters, four vests, a couple of shirts, two ties, it looks that way, a dark shapeless suit over the whole ensemble, and white cotton socks". The rest of the reported pieces are unexceptional, and while the novella, Ambush at Fort Bragg, makes the most of its setting--a Dateline-like newsmagazine--it lacks the irresistible momentum required to drag most readers into a novella. Still, it's fun to watch the author reprise his lifelong role of unlikely underdog: Between his sniping at the literary elite and his mocking of the precious New Yorker set, Tom Wolfe makes like a defender of the common man. --Claire Dederer --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Arch, vengeful and incisive as ever, the standard bearer for the chattering classes is back, this time with a collection of nine previously published essays, one new one and a reprinted novella. Ranging from the spectacular innovations of neuroscience to the preposterous horrors of the contemporary art world to a bare-knuckled assessment of the critical reception to his novel A Man in Full (an essay that appears for the first time in this collection, and that will set tongues wagging), the pieces run the gamut of Wolfe's signature obsessions. Fans of his character sketches will relish "Two Young Men Who Went West," a revelatory profile of Robert Noyce, a key innovator of the microchip who founded Intel in 1968, where the midwestern Congregationalist values he shared with his former mentor, William Shockley (founder of the original Silicon Valley startup, Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory), grew into a business philosophy that's now so pervasive it's practically in the ether. Also included are Wolfe's infamous, irreverent profiles of New Yorker editors Harold Ross and William Shawn, originally published in 1968. Lopped off of Wolfe's most recent fiction opus, the novella "Ambush in Fort Bragg" concerns a "TV sting" run amok, and sits easily next to his journalism. However, Wolfe's meticulous eye for detail shows signs of jaundice in his hectoring anti-Communist tirades and in the title essay, which turns a snide backward glance on the turn of the millennium. Still, his fans will find plenty of evidence that Wolfe remains willing to plunge into "the raw, raucous, lust-soaked rout that throbs with amped-up octophonic typanum all around [him]" and thatDespecially in his nonfictionDhe can still grab the brass ring. Agent, Janklow & Nesbitt Associates. (Oct..--" and thatDespecially in his nonfictionDhe can still grab the brass ring. Agent, Janklow & Nesbitt Associates. (Oct.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
By the year 2000, the term "working class" had fallen into disuse in the United States, and "proletariat" was so obsolete it was known only to a few bitter old Marxist academics with wire hair sprouting out of their ears. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
By Saharat
Format:Hardcover
Wolfe's expose on Protestantism and its controling influence on the semi conductor industry in "Two Young Men Who Went West" is the tight, revealing, and fascinating prose that makes him a master of the printed word. Wolfe's observations appear tongue-in-cheek, but they reveal his deep respect for American culture and the Puritan work ethic--a thoughtful gift for those in the know.
It has always amazed this reviewer that most of America's best modern scientists seem evolutionary in their thinking--after pursuing careers in science where painstakingly close observation reveals absolute law every moment.
Wolfe has certainly turned a long-neglected stone. He's not the only recent author who has noticed this influence on western thought.
Simon Winchester in "The Professor and the Madman" notes that the Oxford English Dictionary, a work whose first draft took 75 years to complete and still a work in progress, was originally compiled to introduce the world to Christianity. Because the authors (many volunteers which include William Minor, the book's protagonist) attributed England's greatness to God's blessing on industry--the original purpose of all previous English dictionaries. The OED's set out to offer world a blueprint for Protestant culture by introducting the world to the English language. Central to Protestant thought is the cultural mandate: "Be fruitful, multiply, and replenish the earth." This is the basis of Puritan action and missionary work.
How can the modern scientist grope for answers in a world of chance? To whom does he attribute his discoveries?
Wolfe responds: "Fortuitous...[in italics] well! How Josiah Grinnell, up on the plains of Heaven, must have laughed over that!" (p 26)
Savor the line; enjoy the book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not Bonfire, but really good Feb. 8 2005
By J.Jones
Format:Paperback
HOOKING UP is an anthology of some of Tom Wolfe's famous satirical, often nasty, but humorous takes on American society, especially the literary world. He also compares the beginning of the "American" millennium to that of four decades ago. Mr. Wolfe leaves no doubt what he feels and what he believes most of the world thinks of the current American Revolution that centers on tremendous technological progress in genetics, computers, and the neurosciences.
The title story is very entertaining and if the reader has a teen or someone in their young twenties ask them about its accuracy. The other twelve short story-commentaries are all enjoyable though Mr. Wolfe's fans have read some of them already. (They reminded me of some of McCrea's works-think his CHILDREN'S CORNER or his BARK OF THE DOGWOOD). The novella forecasts TV scandals and though it does not quite hook the reader beyond second base (remember this reviewer is from the old school) quite like the rest of Mr. Wolfe's stinging commentaries, the tale seems accurately plausible. Fans of Mr. Wolfe will round the bases (old school) with HOOKING UP.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Wolfe Scores Feb. 25 2004
Format:Paperback
I've previously enjoyed The Right Stuff and Wolfe's two novels, but I had never read any of his essays or short stories. "Hooking Up" was an excellent, accessible introduction into these genres. The essays in the book cover a range of topics about modern America including its sexual mores, the rise of technology, art and contemporary novels. He makes many great arguments for the greatness and unique character of America and uses his intelligent wit, knowledge of philosophy and historical facts to make strong cases. His writing, as always, is excellent and the stories were insightful. This collection also includes a novella that is both fun and concise (not always Wolfe's strong suit). I think this is a fabulous book for Wolfe fans like myself, but also good for people who want a quick introduction to him without committing to an 800 page novel. Further, it would be great reading for people interested in American Studies and provides a good starting point for lengthy debates. This is a very good book and well worth purchasing.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A very good book. July 7 2003
Format:Paperback
Though not as good as Bonfire of the Vanities. It makes for an interesting read and is well worth the effort. It is short and sweet.
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4.0 out of 5 stars a mixed bag Jan. 8 2003
Format:Paperback
Wolfe's collection 'Hooking Up' is described as a book that talks about sex, courtship, and the 'hooking up' of males and females in today's society. It's not exactly that. What it is, is a collection of essays and fiction collected by Wolfe and thrown together. Nothing wrong with that, but I want to make sure no one is fooled like I was. That being said, it is a pretty good collection of work. It's divided into five parts.
Part 1 (Hooking Up) contains the title essay, one which deals with sex and courtship, then and now. Wolfe doesn't deliver anything new or shocking here.
Part 2 (The Human Beast) contains 3 essays. The first deals with the rise of Pentium and the silicon revolution. Wolfe's skill as a journalist is evident here, but the reading is a bit slow. Both of the other essays deal with the digital revolution. It's a topic Wolfe can write about, but not one that is enjoyable to read.
Part 3 (Vita Robusta, Ars Anorexica) contains four essays. My favorite piece that I've read by Wolfe is "My Three Stooges." Wolfe uses his wit to poke fun at Updike, Mailer, and John Irving, who attacked Wolfe's _A Man in Full_ when it was published. It's a great essay, and you see Wolfe's talents in full. I loved it. There is also his essay "The Invisible Artist" which contains Wolfe's thought on 'modern art' and the sculptor who designed the sculpture at the Viet Nam Memorial and other works we all recognize, but don't know the artist (and even, as Wolfe points out, may not consider the works art).
The next section contains Wolfe's novells "Ambush at Fort Bragg", which is the only fiction in the collection, but it's a good story.
The final section is 'The New Yorker Affair' in which Wolfe spoofed the New Yorker by doing a profile of their editor. It's a great section.
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Most recent customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars I just don't think he's that original.
Of Tom Wolfe, I've read thus far: Hooking Up, A Man in Full, and Bonfire of the Vanities -- but I think I'm done. Read more
Published on Aug. 29 2003 by Pancho Lefty
3.0 out of 5 stars Wolfe's an 18-k Renaissance man
Back in the 1970s, Wolfe spoke @our school & in his 3-piece yellow suit proposed a most ludicrous notion: that the great cultural revolution that we all thought was happening back... Read more
Published on March 24 2003 by Far Lefkas
4.0 out of 5 stars Disjointed Flashes of Brilliance
I've been a Tom Wolfe fan for more than 30 years and have always been frustrated by the leisurely pace of his literary production. Read more
Published on July 18 2002 by Mark Edward Bachmann
5.0 out of 5 stars Wolfe is the Mac-Daddy of American Greatness
If you love living in America, if you're thrilled by the raw courage of entrepeneurial effort that explodes into success, and if you refuse to accept the center-left line America's... Read more
Published on June 30 2002 by Hunter Baker
4.0 out of 5 stars The Write Stuff
I can think of no essayist writing in the U. S. today in the class with Tom Wolfe with the exception of the venerable Gore Vidal. As usual, Mr. Read more
Published on May 17 2002 by H. F. Corbin
5.0 out of 5 stars I can't help it, I just love him
I found it hard to follow his line of reasoning at times. He seems to be against a lot of things, and be the only man who really knows what everything is about. Read more
Published on April 22 2002 by zeldesse
5.0 out of 5 stars A Breath of Fresh Air
If Tom Wolfe weren't already famous, he probably couldn't have found mainstream publication for many of these pieces. That is a compliment. Read more
Published on Feb. 22 2002 by C. Gombar
5.0 out of 5 stars Wolfe Right On!
I'm keeping this book for future use. To follow all the avenues Tom opens up will take years, but it will be fun...
Published on Jan. 21 2002 by Jay MacDonald
4.0 out of 5 stars They May Be Short, but They are Welcome
I have missed Tom Wolfe. I loved the time I used to spend with the reporter dressed in a white suit who spoke with the poet's voice. Read more
Published on Dec 28 2001 by Craig L. Howe
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