Summary and book reviews of A Man In Full by Tom Wolfe

A Man In Full

By Tom Wolfe

A Man In Full
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: Nov 1998,
    727 pages.
    Paperback: Oct 1999,
    787 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

A decade ago, The Bonfire of the Vanities defined an era and established Tom Wolfe as our prime fictional chronicler of America at its most outrageous and alive. Now the master is back with a pitch-perfect coast-to-coast portrait of our wild and woolly, no-holds-barred, multifarious country on the cusp of the millennium.

The setting is Atlanta, Georgia--a racially mixed, late-century boomtown full of fresh wealth and wily politicians. The protagonist is Charles Croker, once a college football star, now a late-middle-aged Atlanta conglomerate king whose outsize ego has at last hit up against reality. Charlie has a 29,000-acre quail-shooting plantation, a young and demanding second wife--and a half-empty office complex with a staggering load of debt.

Meanwhile, Conrad Hensley, idealistic young father of two, is laid off from his job at the Croker Global Foods warehouse near Oakland and finds himself spiraling into the lower depths of the American legal system. And back in Atlanta, when star Georgia Tech running back Fareek "the Cannon" Fanon, a homegrown product of the city's slums, is accused of date-raping the daughter of a pillar of the white establishment, upscale black lawyer Roger White II is asked to represent Fanon and help keep the city's delicate racial balance from blowing sky-high.

Networks of illegal Asian immigrants crisscrossing the continent, daily life behind bars, shady real estate syndicates, the cast-off first wives of the corporate elite--Wolfe shows us contemporary America with all the verve, wit, and insight that have made him our most admired novelist. Charlie Croker's deliverance from his tribulations provides an unforgettable denouement to the most widely awaited, hilarious, and telling novel America has seen in ages--Tom Wolfe's outstanding achievement to date.

From Chapter 2 : The Saddlebags

Almost exactly thirty-six hours later, which is to say, at 7:30 a.m., Monday, it was one of those brutally bright April mornings you sometimes get in Atlanta. Even up here on the thirty-second floor of the Planners Banc Tower, behind a sealed inch-thick thermoplate glass wall, with a ten-ton HVAC system chundering cold air down from the ceiling, you could sense the heat that would soon oppress the city. The conference room faced east, making the glare from the sun unbearable. There was nothing in front of all that plate glass to reduce it, either, no curtains, no blinds, no screens, not one shred, not one slat. Oh no; the whole thing had been carefully thought out, and everybody at the Planners Banc end of the table knew exactly what the game was.

Everybody, not just the senior loan officer Raymond Peepgass, knew this breakfast meeting was an elaborate practical joke, starting with the word "breakfast." Peepgass had made sure the whole lot of them ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews
New York Times Book Review

The novel contains passages as powerful and as beautiful as anything written by...any American novelist....The book is as funny as anything Wolfe has ever written, at the same time it is also deeply, strangely affecting.

Time Magazine

No summary of A Man in Full can do justice to the novel's ethical nuances and hell-bent packing, its sweep and intricate interweaving of private and public responsibilities, its electric sense of conveying current events and its knowing portraits of people actually doing their jobs. Who, besides Wolfe, would have thought that banking and real estate transactions could be the stuff of gripping fiction? Who else would have set a scene, the most over the top in the whole novel in the breeding barn of Turpmtine, where Charlie, in a misguided attempt to impress his guests from Atlanta, makes them, male and female alike, witness a tumultuous mating between one of his stallions and a mare?

The Library Journal

Imagine Bonfire of the Vanities set in Atlanta a star running back from the slums is accused of raping the daughter of a blueblood family even as Asian immigrants sneak into town and protagonist Charlie Croker, a football star turned businessman, tries to get out of debt.

Reader Reviews
Neccie N

Its a brilliant book. Tom Wolfe had me reading again.

Anonymous

I listened to A Man In Full on tape, and I was utterly enthralled with the plot line, the fine characterizations, and the knowing depiction of Americans at various levels on the economic scale. The juxtaposition of Conrad and Charley demonstates ...   Read More

Anonymous
Roger Singer
In 'A Man in Full' Tom Wolfe has tried to capture the essence of a time period, as he has done so masterfully in the past. Unfortunately, this time around it becomes too obvious too soon that Mr. Wolfe has reached way too far in his ...   Read More

Anonymous
Joe Pearl
Tremendously satisfying character development. No hidden agendas. a page turner. Wolfe seems to have been in a hurry to finish. The wrap-up ending was somewhat disappointing.


Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked A Man In Full, try these:

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member


Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Mrs. Hemingway
    by Naomi Wood
    Naomi Wood's latest novel, Mrs. Hemingway, is a fictionalized biography covering in turn writer...
  • Book Jacket
    The Stranger on the Train
    by Abbie Taylor
    The opening chapter of Abbie Taylor's debut novel, The Stranger on the Train, took me right back to ...
  • Book Jacket
    Night Film
    by Marisha Pessl
    One of the central tenets of Hinduism states that the world as we know it is just an illusion –...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The City
by Dean Koontz

Published Jul. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  88Tomlinson Hill:
    Chris Tomlinson

All Discussions

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.