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A Man In Full: A Novel. Hardcover – 1998


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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 1st Edition edition (1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374270325
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374270322
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 5.3 x 24.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 717 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (850 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #415,410 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By elwin on June 9 2004
Format: Paperback
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Orrin C. Judd on Nov. 25 2000
Format: Hardcover
I'm sure that by now everyone is aware of the basic story of A Man in Full, Tom Wolfe's eleven-years-in-the-making, heart-surgery and-depression-interrupted, follow up to his great novel of the 80's, Bonfire of the Vanities. Charlie Croker is a 60 year old, good old boy, developer in Atlanta. A former star Georgia Tech halfback, his empire includes a game ranch, a frozen foods business and a white elephant of an office building that is bleeding him dry. Judging his success purely by the accouterments, he appears to be doing okay, with a hottie trophy wife, a Gulf Stream 5, palatial houses, etc. But his bankers smell blood in the water, one of them (Raymond Peepgass) has even secretly put together a syndicate to take over the office building at cut rate, and Charlie has to lay off some workers at the food business, including young Conrad Hensley, just to free up cash and buy some time. Meanwhile, Georgia Tech's new star halfback, Fareek Fanon, is being accused of raping the daughter of one of Charlie's wealthy society cronies. Up and coming black attorney Roger White II (Roger Too White) has been called in to handle the defense and he offers Charlie a deal: speak out in support of Fareek at a press conference orchestrated by the mayor, and they'll get the bank to back off. As Charlie wrestles with this decision, Conrad works his way across the country, converting to Stoicism in the process. Their paths all meet when Conrad is assigned to Charlie as a physical therapist after knee surgery and shares the tenets of Stoicism with him.Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Manuel Gwiazda on May 26 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is about life, and it is not the story (which is very gripping indeed) but the deep development of characters what it counts. Throughout a very detailed physical, satirical and, psychological observation of the ambitions and careers of members of the different social rungs of the Atlanta and America social ladder, Wolfe weaves a story which never falters from beginning to end and maintains the same level of writing style and quality in every chapter. All the characters, stereotyped ones, move interrelated because the actions of some of them bring big misfortunes to the life of others, All share problems in common, that is, making a living, maintaining an image and keeping their high living standards and everyone of them seem to say". Look, I have a situation here..."and are shown enduring their existence in relation to the events that come to their lives. The magic lies in the way the reader is introduced to the life of the character, because one reads and wish to make judgments about everything unexpected that happens, kind of (What I would do in this case ? What if..?) All characters receive equal treatment under the pen of the author, the top tycoon, the frustrated professional and the humblest worker. Pain and disappointment are part of life for all of them and no matter the money and prestige they have or don't have, they must confront and solve complex problems entailing difficult decisions sometimes under big pressure as tough they were hanging on the edge of a cliff. I would have changed the title of this book for another one ".Life in full.......".because some passages provide useful examples and others remarkable observations applying to everyday life ranging from the most important circumstances to the less significant ones. Highly recommendable for a gift to oneself and a dear friend
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