Tom Wolfe (Wolfe,Tom)

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  • Wolfe, Tom: I Am Charlotte Simmons - Easelback: A Novel
  • In Our Time
    by Tom Wolfe
    ISBN 0330262246 (0-330-26224-6)
    Softcover, Picador

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    Book summary:

    119 pp. Nombreuses reproductions. Petite déchirure et pliure sur le 4ème plat. Dos insolé.

  • Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby
    by Tom Wolfe
    ISBN 0099479389 (0-09-947938-9)
    Softcover, Vintage Books USA

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    Book summary:

    The "streamline baby" in Tom Wolfe's 1965 debut book is a hot rod, but the car's candy colors and wild lines can't match the prose style Wolfe devised to describe them. The title essay--Wolfe's first magazine article--launched the New Journalism, partly because its original title was "There Goes (Varoom! Varoom!) That Kandy-Kolored (Thphhhhhh!) Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby (Rahghhh!) Around the Bend (Brummmmmmmmmmmmmmm)..." His voice was more shocking than any subculture he uncovered. Until Wolfe (Ph.D., Yale), nobody struck gold by applying Ph.D.-speak to lowbrow subjects. Kurt Vonnegut famously called this an "excellent book by a genius who will do anything to get attention."

    Now that everybody does what Wolfe did, his early essays smack less of genius. But attention must be paid to this pioneering peek into King Pop's tomb. The most startling thing is how soberly sensible most of the prose now appears, except for the title of the first essay, "Las Vegas (What?) Las Vegas (Can't Hear You! Too Noisy) Las Vegas!!!" which anticipates the far superior Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Mostly, these articles seem like straightforward introductions to some of the signal figures of the early '60s: hot-rod designer Big Daddy Roth, surf guitarist Dick Dale, teen recording tycoon Phil Spector, Andy Warhol debutante Baby Jane Holzer, the Cassius Clay-era Muhammad Ali. We even glimpse the Beatles in a profile of the yappy DJ Murray the K in "The Fifth Beatle."

    The last half of the book focuses more on New York and its denizens' endless combat for social status. The last piece, "The Big League Complex," is like a 1964 warm-up exercise for The Bonfire of the Vanities. --Tim Appelo

  • Man in Full
    by Tom Wolfe
    ISBN 0099554771 (0-09-955477-1)
    Softcover, Vintage Books

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    Ever since he published his classic 1972 essay "Why They Aren't Writing the Great American Novel Anymore," Tom Wolfe has made his fictional preferences loud and clear. For New Journalism's poster boy, minimalism is a wash, not to mention a failure of nerve. The real mission of the American writer is to produce fat novels of social observation--the sort of thing Balzac would be dishing up if he had made it into the Viagra era. Wolfe's manifesto would have had a hubristic ring if he hadn't actually delivered the goods in 1987 with The Bonfire of the Vanities. Now, more than a decade later, he's back with a second novel. Has the Man in White lived up to his own mission?

    On many counts, the answer would have to be "yes". Like its predecessor, A Man in Full is a big-canvas work, in which a multitude of characters seems to be ascending or (rapidly) descending the greasy pole of social life: "In an era like this one," a character reminds us, "the 20th century's fin de siècle position was everything, and it was the hardest thing to get." Wolfe has changed terrain on us, to be sure. Instead of New York, the focus here is Atlanta, Georgia, where the struggle for turf and power is at least slightly patinated with Deep South gentility. The plot revolves around Charlie Croker, an egomaniacal good ol' boy with a crumbling real-estate empire on his hands. But Wolfe is no less attentive to a pair of supporting players: a downwardly mobile family man, Conrad Hensley, and Roger White II, an African American attorney at a white-shoe firm. What ultimately causes these subplots to converge--and threatens to ignite a racial firestorm in Atlanta--is the alleged rape of a society deb by Georgia Tech American football star Fareek "The Cannon" Fanon.

    Of course, a detailed plot summary would be about as long as your average minimalist novel. Suffice it to say that A Man in Full is packed with the sort of splendid set pieces we've come to expect from Wolfe. A quail hunt on Charlie's 29,000-acre plantation, a stuffed-shirt evening at the symphony, a politically loaded press conference--the author assembles these scenes with contagious delight. The book is also very, very funny. The law firms, like upper- crust powerhouse Fogg Nackers Rendering & Lean, are straight out of Dickens, and Wolfe brings even his minor characters, like professional hick Opey McCorkle, to vivid life:

    In true Opey McCorkle fashion he had turned up for dinner wearing a plaid shirt, a plaid necktie, red felt suspenders, and a big old leather belt that went around his potbelly like something could hitch up a mule with, but for now he had cut off his usual torrent of orotund rhetoric mixed with Baker Countyisms.
    Readers in search of a kinder, gentler Wolfe may well be disappointed. Retaining the satirist's (necessary) superiority to his subject, he tends to lose his edge precisely when he's trying to move us. Still, when it comes to maximalist portraiture of the American scene--and to sheer, sentence-by-sentence amusement--1998 looks to be the year of the Wolfe, indeed. --James Marcus, Amazon.com

  • MAUVE GLOVES & MADMEN, CLUTTER & VINE
    by Tom Wolfe
    ISBN 0330312324 (0-330-31232-4)
    Softcover, PICADOR

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    Book summary:

    paperback edition of MAUVE GLOVES & MADMEN, CLUTTER & VINE by TOM WOLFE

  • Mid-Atlantic Man
    by Tom Wolfe
    ISBN 0297178415 (0-297-17841-5)
    Hardcover, Littlehampton Book Services Ltd

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  • The New Journalism
    by Tom Wolfe , Edward Warren Johnson
    ISBN 0060147075 (0-06-014707-5)
    Softcover, Harper & Row

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    Book summary:

    'The hell with it ...let chaos reign ...louder music, more wine ...All the old traditions are exhausted and no new one is yet established. All bets are off! The odds are cancelled! It's anybody's ballgame ...' Tom Wolfe introduces and exults in his generation's journalistic talent: Truman Capote inside the mind of a psychotic killer Hunter S. Thompson skunk drunk at the Kentucky Derby Michael Herr dispatching reality from the Vietnam killing fields Rex Reed giving the star treatment to the ageing Ava Gardner As well as Norman Mailer Joe Eszterhas Terry Southern Nicholas Tomalin George Plimpton James Mills Gay Talese Joan Didion and many other legends of tape and typewriter telling it like it is from Warhol's Factory to the White House lawn, from the saddle of a Harley to the toughest football team in the US.

  • The Painted Word
    by Tom Wolfe
    ISBN 0312427581 (0-312-42758-1)
    Softcover, Picador

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    In 1975, after having put radical chic and '60s counterculture to the satirical torch, Tom Wolfe turned his attention to the contemporary art world. The patron saint (and resident imp) of New Journalism couldn't have asked for a better subject. Here was a hotbed of pretension, nitwit theorizing, social climbing, and money, money, money--all Wolfe had to do was sharpen his tools and get to work. He did! Much of The Painted Word is a superb burlesque on that modern mating ritual whereby artists get to despise their middle-class audience and accommodate it at the same time. The painter, Wolfe writes, "had to dedicate himself to the quirky god Avant-Garde. He had to keep one devout eye peeled for the new edge on the blade of the wedge of the head on the latest pick thrust of the newest exploratory probe of this fall's avant-garde Breakthrough of the Century.... At the same time he had to keep his other eye cocked to see if anyone in le monde was watching."

    The other bone Wolfe has to pick is with the proliferation of art theory, particularly the sort purveyed by postwar colossi like Harold Rosenberg, Clement Greenberg, and Leo Steinberg. Decades after the heyday of abstract expressionism, these guys make pretty easy targets. What could be more absurd, after all, than endless Jesuitical disputes about the flatness of the picture plane? So most of them get a highly comical spanking from the author. It's worth pointing out, of course, that Wolfe paints with a broad (as it were) brush. If he's skewering the entire army of artistic pretenders in a single go, there's no room to admit that Jasper Johns or Willem DeKooning might actually have some talent. But as he would no doubt admit, The Painted Word isn't about the history of art. It's about the history of taste and middlebrow acquisition--and nobody has chronicled these two topics as hilariously or accurately as Tom Wolfe. --James Marcus

  • Purple Decades
    by Tom Wolfe
    ISBN 0099479362 (0-09-947936-2)
    Softcover, Vintage Books USA

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    Book summary:

    In the 1960s and the 1970s Tom Wolfe rose to fame as the foremost chronicler of the gaudiest period in American history. It began at a hot rod and custom car show where he marvelled at the little nest of pink angora angel's hair used for the purpose of "glamourous" display. It grew - with his fascination for the Las Vegas-style neon sculpture boom and its electro-pastel surge through the suburbs - into "the kandy-kolored tangerine - flake streamline baby" and the new journalism was born. Wolfe's innovations in style, his feats as a reporter and his insights into sections of America which now had the money to build monuments to their enthusiasms, dominated a period of widespread experimentaiton in the writing of non-fiction. This book describes this period in Wolfe's life.

  • Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers
    by Tom Wolfe
    ISBN 0312429134 (0-312-42913-4)
    Softcover, Picador

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    Book summary:

    Classic Wolfe, a funny, irreverent, and "delicious" (The Wall Street Journal) dissection of class and status by the master of New Journalism.

    "On the night of January 4, 1970, Maestro and Mrs. Leonard Bernstein threw a bash in their thirteen-room park Avenue pad to raise money for the Black Panthers Defense Fund. New York society will probably never play Lady Bountiful in quite the same way again, because among the Beautiful People present was Tom Wolfe, pop sociologist and parajournalist supreme."--Book World

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  • Right Stuff
    by Tom Wolfe
    ISBN 0099479370 (0-09-947937-0)
    Softcover, Vintage Books USA

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    Tom Wolfe began The Right Stuff at a time when it was unfashionable to contemplate American heroism. Nixon had left the White House in disgrace, the nation was reeling from the catastrophe of Vietnam, and in 1979--the year the book appeared--Americans were being held hostage by Iranian militants. Yet it was exactly the anachronistic courage of his subjects that captivated Wolfe. In his foreword, he notes that as late as 1970, almost one in four career Navy pilots died in accidents. "The Right Stuff," he explains, "became a story of why men were willing--willing?--delighted!--to take on such odds in this, an era literary people had long since characterized as the age of the anti-hero."

    Wolfe's roots in New Journalism were intertwined with the nonfiction novel that Truman Capote had pioneered with In Cold Blood. As Capote did, Wolfe tells his story from a limited omniscient perspective, dropping into the lives of his "characters" as each in turn becomes a major player in the space program. After an opening chapter on the terror of being a test pilot's wife, the story cuts back to the late 1940s, when Americans were first attempting to break the sound barrier. Test pilots, we discover, are people who live fast lives with dangerous machines, not all of them airborne. Chuck Yeager was certainly among the fastest, and his determination to push through Mach 1--a feat that some had predicted would cause the destruction of any aircraft--makes him the book's guiding spirit.

    Yet soon the focus shifts to the seven initial astronauts. Wolfe traces Alan Shepard's suborbital flight and Gus Grissom's embarrassing panic on the high seas (making the controversial claim that Grissom flooded his Liberty capsule by blowing the escape hatch too soon). The author also produces an admiring portrait of John Glenn's apple-pie heroism and selfless dedication. By the time Wolfe concludes with a return to Yeager and his late-career exploits, the narrative's epic proportions and literary merits are secure. Certainly The Right Stuff is the best, the funniest, and the most vivid book ever written about America's manned space program. --Patrick O'Kelley

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