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A Man In Full: A Novel. [Hardcover]

Tom. Wolfe
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (851 customer reviews)

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First Sentence
FOR A WHILE THE FREAKNIC TRAFFIC INCHED UP PIEDMONT...inched up Piedmont...inched up Piedmont...inched up as far as Tenth Street...and then inched up the slope beyond Tenth Street...inched up as far as Fifteenth Street... whereupon it came to a complete, utter, hopeless, bogged-down glue-trap halt, both ways, northbound, southbound, going and coming, across all four lanes. Read the first page
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4.0 out of 5 stars Work of Satire Dec 16 2007
By Toni Osborne TOP 100 REVIEWER
Charles (Charlie) Croker a middle-aged prominent Atlanta businessman finds his life turned up-side down when his ego brings him to a staggering debt load and to the brink of bankruptcy. Charlie is faced with laying off some workers at his food business to free up cash and buy some time. One victim is young Conrad Hensley who later becomes Charlie's therapist. His bankers smell blood, Raymond Peepgass has even secretly put together a syndicate to take over Crocker's office building at a cut rate.

Meanwhile Georgia star running back Fanon Fareek is accused of date raping the daughter of one of Charlie's society cronies, a pillar of the white establishment. Upscale black lawyer Roger White is asked to represent Fanon and doing so offers Charlie a deal that would get the bank off his back, it would mean speaking in favour of Fareek at a press conference.

With the press conference looming Charlie must decide whether to go along with White's plan by praising Fareek and save his empire or risk losing everything and possibly causing a riot in Atlanta.

The author narrates in this novel a myriad of details and social observations. Wolfe exposes pretension, hypocrisy, malice, greed and vices on top of the dynamism of contemporary life. This novel is a work of satire, utterly dark and brutal with moments of humour and complex emotions. I was immediately grabbed by the fabulous characters Wolfe introduced and the plot revolving around them, I could hardly put the book down.
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3.0 out of 5 stars View of Real Life Jan. 4 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
What I loved most about this book was Wolfe's characterization of Charlie Croker, a man I meet over and over again in real life. He is a true southerner, rich and powerful and ignorant of the more "delicate" issues of life, like the feelings of those who work for him. He thinks of himself as democratic, but instead he is patronizing. That Charlie gets his comeuppance is a strong point in the book. Unfortunately, in Wolfe's books there isn't anyone to really LIKE, and therefore, that doesn't put it at the top of the literary heap - in my opinion. I like to be able to identify with at least one of the characters, and this book isn't like that. Still it's a very good, interesting and easy read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An "American" Tale Nov. 16 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Wolfe's tale of the intersecting lives of ambitious men strikes the poignant chord of striving for improvement that is America. No matter what our station in life, most Americans are dreaming of something grander than what they currently possess. We are forever letting go of the bird in the hand for the two that are in the bush. A Man in Full thus is very much like Fitzgerald's classic The Great Gatsby and Gaille's recent (2002) The Law Review, all of which explore the price that Americans pay for ambition.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A novel for the ages June 9 2004
By elwin
You might, as you start reading Man in Full, think that it's going to be another bonfire of similar vanities. You might, but you would be wrong. I loved Bonfire of the Vanities, but this book has more heart; it's even better.
The book is mostly set in Atlanta, and Wolfe makes the case that Atlanta has a unique racial situation. Race relations and racial tensions form a major theme in the novel. Wolfe views race from many angles, including views from Atlanta's black elite, wealthy conservative and liberal southern white, and the inside of a California prison.
The characters and characterizations are marvelous. This was one of the strengths of Bonfires and it's a strength of this book too. I don't think Wolfe writes women as well as he writes men, but the men of several different walks of life are as fully fleshed as anything I've ever read. Another fascinating thing about the book is the inside knowledge Wolfe shares. The insider's view of an Atlanta mayoral campaign was truly eye-opening, as was the inside view of a prison.
The book is hard to classify, but the view is often satirical (like Bonfire), and makes fun of the pride, vanity, lusts, and fears of the elites (like Bonfire). However, there is more heart. Some of the heart shows up in Wolfe's compassion for divorced 50-something wives who have been discarded by their social climbing husbands. In Bonfire, the wives, called "X-rays" were subject to the same ridicule as their husbands; not so in this book. Wolfe also shows some compassion for the poor souls in prison, as he illuminates the brutal social structure in his california jail. It's never mawkish; it never plays for sympathy or tears, but the simple facts of prison life are a horror.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Self-conscious classic June 29 2004
Both insightful and almost tediously broad. Wolfe's much-hyped novel of 1998 feigns a Stoic pride in our post-Christian world, but doesn't seem to really put the pieces together in a cohesive narrative structure. The characters get jumbled around, the myriad plots cross artificially, but the prose is strangely catchy. Worthwhile if only to see where conservatism ends up without faith.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not his best March 23 2004
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The book was interesting enough for me to finish it, but it is not one of his best. There are a number of very slow spots in the story and it lacks the spark of some of his other works.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A story that stays with you March 6 2004
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I first read this book three years ago, then just re-read it again this week. I hadn't realized how many vignettes, put firmly into my head in that original reading, have stayed with me all this time. Conrad, humiliated by his wife's attitude toward him, suffers ever-more-increasing rage at the treatment of his car by a tow service; Croker's attempts to impress his guests by showing them a horse-breeding session; Roger White's first meeting with the insolent Fareek; the list goes on and on. The story is not particularly surprising or shocking, but the way Wolfe tells it is the attraction. His descriptions of social dynamics and the characters' emotions are pure genius. And where a lesser writer would have good triumphing over all, you never know who's going to win in a Wolfe novel.
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Most recent customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Why the Hurry?
This was a very good read, with colorful characters, and good character development for the most part. But the ending of the book was rushed. It was conventional and pat . . . Read more
Published on Feb. 16 2004 by C Brunner
5.0 out of 5 stars Fresh Subjects, Great Read
I strongly recommend this book. In addition to providing that Wolfeian insight to modern culture & characters it's funny, warm, amusing, moving. Read more
Published on Dec 31 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Sublimely captivating satire
Tom Wolfe, as is his trademark style, emanates forth in A Man in Full his caustic wit, biting satire, amazingly diverse characters, superior dialogue, and a highly engrossing... Read more
Published on Dec 12 2003 by Chris Salzer
4.0 out of 5 stars Perfect-pitch analysis of the modern moral quandary
This fine, sprawling novel has only cartoonish characters, BUT -- and this is its saving grace -- the plot is so hilariously implausible that it makes you sputter giggling into... Read more
Published on Oct. 25 2003 by Nanx Hedwerp
5.0 out of 5 stars A remarkable work, especially in audio form
This review refers to the Audio book, masterfully read by David Ogden Stiers.
A MAN IN FULL is a noteworthy work by Tom Wolfe that examines the core of true manliness in the... Read more
Published on Oct. 21 2003 by P. Kingsriter
5.0 out of 5 stars Defining a man in full
What is a man in full?
Tom Wolfe, author of prior books on banking and astronauts takes us into Atlanta to explore what gets to the root of being a man. Read more
Published on Oct. 21 2003 by therosen
5.0 out of 5 stars Drive for the deal
I read the hard-cover edition of this book because my professor at a prominent real estate school recommended it. Read more
Published on Oct. 3 2003 by Shailesh N Humbad
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