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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece of intelligent storytelling
I often discover great books too late - this one came out in 1998 - but I still wanted to add my voice of congratulations to Mr Wolfe on this amazing piece of work.
I took it on holiday with me after only recently discovering the genius of Bonfire of the Vanities and I was a bit nervous that this wouldn't pack the same emotional punch as that legendary novel...
Published on 27 Jun. 2005 by Sam Holliday

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Overwritten, needs editing!
I guess when a novelist gets too big, no editor will dare trim his words. This story could have been told better with about 200 pages trimmed from it. I thought he overdid it TO DA MAX in showing off with writing dialect. I got truly "tarred" (tired) of "heaven" (having) "Suth'n" (Southern) "wuds" (words) translated for me. And...
Published on 14 Feb. 1999


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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece of intelligent storytelling, 27 Jun. 2005
By 
Sam Holliday "saminblack" (Bath) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: A Man in Full (Paperback)
I often discover great books too late - this one came out in 1998 - but I still wanted to add my voice of congratulations to Mr Wolfe on this amazing piece of work.
I took it on holiday with me after only recently discovering the genius of Bonfire of the Vanities and I was a bit nervous that this wouldn't pack the same emotional punch as that legendary novel .
But I should have had no fears. In truth, I wouldn't even like to judge/compare it against its famous cousin because both have the same power to grab your attention and keep you reading and both prove Tom Wolfe's inspiring ability to tell a cracking, knowing, multi-faceted story.
What we have here, is 800 pages of quality writing and pure page turning drama. Set in modern day Atlanta it features the unforgettable character of Charlie Croker - an all-conquering property developer who is as rich as most countries and yet, as the novel starts, looks to be facing the possible end of his world of immense luxury and power.
We watch with fascination as we see Croker's desperate battle to salvage the world he created and watch with equal (and perhaps more horrible) fascination as he tries to convince himself he is a better person that most of us suspect he actually is .
Intermingled with this riveting main tale are several superb mini-plots which involve politics, racism, sex, family rivalries and corporate America, plus a seemingly unconnected story about a decent, principled man's descent into prison life (and what an astonishing vision of prison hell Wolfe portrays). The relevance of that storyline only starts to connect with the other main threads in the last few pages but it takes the book to a surprising finale . . .
Overall, I have to say this, like Bonfire, is simply a modern day classic. It's a real page turner, written with style and verve and if full of impeccably rounded characters.
It is a book to treasure and admire .
My next 'big' read will be Wolfe's latest novel - I Am Charlotte Symonds - which I will lap up with relish even if George Bush did recommend it. And I am only two years late reading it this time!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better Than Bonfire of The Vanities, 24 July 2014
By 
William Mason (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: A Man In Full (Paperback)
This book is a thoroughly enjoyable epic romp. Like the one which came before it - Bonfire of the Vanities - it is addictive and compelling from the first page to the last. The main character Charlie Croker has made millions out of real estate deals and lives the high life. However, his business empire is under threat, because of difficulties and wrangles about his dream development, Croker Concourse. Another main character, a cool black lawyer named Roger White, has to assist a football star who has been accused of raping an 18 year old girl, who is the daughter of Inman Armholster, one of Croker's old buddies. The story is basically about the peaks and troughs of the business life of a Gordon Gekko (Wall Street) type character. The author Tom Wolfe certainly likes his adjectives, but for the most part he uses them judiciously and it adds colour to his prose style. He writes particularly adeptly and astutely about institutions, whether that be prisons or government departments, which indicates that he researches his subject matter thoroughly, just like any good author should do. If you think of this book as a thinking man's Dallas (the TV Series), you won't be wide of the mark. Thoroughly recommended and in my top ten of all time best books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Overwritten, needs editing!, 14 Feb. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: A Man in Full (Hardcover)
I guess when a novelist gets too big, no editor will dare trim his words. This story could have been told better with about 200 pages trimmed from it. I thought he overdid it TO DA MAX in showing off with writing dialect. I got truly "tarred" (tired) of "heaven" (having) "Suth'n" (Southern) "wuds" (words) translated for me. And I truly CRINGED every time his Hawaiian character opened his mouth. Wolfe apparently bought a popular cartoon guide to Hawaiian pidgin -- PIDGIN TO DA MAX -- and attempted to fit every word from the book into his character's mouth. No one in Hawaii, not the most local of locals, speaks that way, with every second word being pidgin, ESPECIALLY not to any non-pidgin speaker! This, among other things, destroyed the credibility of Wolfe's attempt to show off his journalistic research skills.
A HUGE, bloated, bland, run-of-the-mill bestseller, as far as I'm concerned.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece with a weak ending, 12 Jan. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: A Man in Full (Hardcover)
Tom Wolfe has few rivals as a wordsmith and pulsetaker of contemporary mores. A Man in Full is a terrific read, filled with wonderful character development, witty observations, interwoven by clever dialogue -- almost too clever. There are some unforgettable scenes, including one where insomniac Charlie Croker decides to make himself some breakfast and go horseback riding. One problem: He trips the burglar alarm and the exchange with his young, startled wife is the stuff of high comedy. I liked this book a lot, except for the ending. Charlie's "conversion" from aggressive, hard-nosed, tough-minded, wheeler-dealer real estate mogul to Stoicism feels contrived and unconvincing. In the hands of another writer, this would have been a disaster, but Wolfe almost pulls it off through the sheer strength of his stylized writing. Still, the denoument fails to live up to the rest of the book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Stylish and rich but loose, 27 Jan. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: A Man in Full (Hardcover)
This was undoubtedly a good story but at fear of swimming against the crowd it doesn't touch Bonfires or The Right Stuff. Instead of a wholly new story I felt I was reading Bonfires II. Each part of the sub-plots were interesting and engaging in their own right but how they were to come together was the most puzzling part and in all honestly was ultimately unsatisfying and too quick. In retrospect what was the value of the jail chapters to the story other than a story within a story. Too many loose connections and loose ends for me but then I'm possibly expecting too much from the high standards set. Emperors clothes me thinks !!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb novel, 1 April 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: A Man in Full (Paperback)
After a ten year absence from fiction, Tom Wolfe has produced a book of true quality. The pithy social observation and gripping style exhibited in his previous work has clearly not diminshed with the passing of years.
The sheer scope and range of themes encompassed in 'A Man in full' represents a great achivement. It was always going to be difficult to deal with the difficult issues involved in the south's transition from arable and secondary industry to a place in the new tertiary economy without descending into cliche or sterotyping. However, Wolfe manages to adeptly convey this issue through strong character development, but whilst maintaining a clear sense of reality.
The narrative itself is pacy and gripping. The reader travels through time and place, from Atlanta to Oakland. Wolfe is able, through the book's length, to create detailed studies of several distinct protagonists, each with a paticular moral issue to confront. At the outset, it is not at all clear how these characters mesh together. Gradually, tenuous connections are formed, slithers of information linking apparently polar-opposite individuals. At this basic level, it is then, a great detective story.
The only real fault is the ending, which seems somehow contrived and hurried. After the careful, assiduous development of the characters in the early chapters, it seems they are discarded suddenly and without a true culmination.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Withering Heights, 20 May 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: A Man in Full (Hardcover)
No one is spared in this savagely funny companion to Bonfire of the Vanities. The nearest we get to a hero ends up in jail as a result his own vanity; the upwardly mobile black lawyer is constantly ridiculed as "done up like a English diplomat", the good ole' southern boy property developer is exposed as clumsy and socially inept, the bankers are spiteful and hypocritical, the black athlete a sexual predator. This broadside on humanity is leavened by some splendid joke names such a Wringer, Fleasom & Tick (a law firm), Mustapha Gunt (a fitness instructor ho ho) and the authors' running treatise on Stoicism which lends the book its' big message. This is that people, like the city of Atlanta where much of the story is based, can develop and punch above their weight if only we seize the minute, unique advantage we are all granted. My only criticism applies also to it's predecessor and is one of pace. The narrative comes to an abrupt halt and we are give only a brief glimpse into the future of the characters that have been so painstaking drawn. Is this really Wolfe's view on the world - fifteen minutes (or his case, 800 pages) of fame and then you sink back to obscurity or did he just run out of space?
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5.0 out of 5 stars A novel that addresses the real world, with gusto and power., 21 Nov. 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: A Man in Full (Hardcover)
While some may enjoy the precious chamber pieces that win plaudits and awards ('Amsterdam', 'England, England') this reviewer prefers the courage, energy, and downright bigness of 'A Man in Full'. There are set pieces in this work which have the energy of a Green River Rising and the wit of a Gore Vidal. Who but Wolfe would set a major scene in a frozen food depot? Who but Wolfe could make such a place so alive and forbidding? Unlike almost any other serious contemporary writer the white-suited Wolfe likes to get himself dirty. He writes not from an ivory tower but from the cab of a fork-lift truck. At the same time he maintains an aloofness that miraculaously keeps the writer himself out of the narrative. Given the idiosyncacies of his style this is an amazing feat. There is none of the Look-at-me writing of Don DeLillo or other mannered craftsmen of the contemporary American novel (do we have Nabokov to blame for this?). Tom Wolfe is unafraid of politics, of morals, of big ideas. He is also very funny. As good as Bonfire, and the best novel since. A peach.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wolfe does 'America in a book' again. Fab. 10/10, 28 Nov. 1999
This review is from: A Man in Full (Paperback)
Best way to describe this work is, that the 'sum of its parts, does not equal the whole'. Wolfe is without doubt, one of this latter half of the century's most important writers; there is plenty of evidence in this novel of that fact. Its reach is vast, touching on the themes played out in Bonfires of great divides of culture clashing at an unexpected, tragi-comic and accidental flashpoint to reveal the weakness and vanities common to all of us. The chapters that set your heart pacing faster than it really should, do so better than anything Wolfe has ever written before. But the clever and neat way Bonfires was all tied up, is clearly and disappointingly absent in the latter third of this novel. Maybe Wolfe got bored or was simply lost with his characters. Characters that are as vivid and real as you are ever likely to read. Yet being slightly disappointed by a Wolfe novel, doesn't stop it being one of my best recommendations and reads of the year.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An undemanding and enjoyable romp through Atlanta life., 11 April 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: A Man in Full (Hardcover)
A perfect book for holiday. There are three different lives that are woven together in a satisfying and very entertaing way, and with two of them you really want to know what happens next. The descriptions are wonderful especially the details of clothing which are so evocative of the wearers' character. There are also marvellous 'scenes' which slow the plot down but are enjoyable in their own right:- quail hunting, horse breeding and life in a freezer depot to name just a few. The main character ,Charlie Croker, at first seems totally unsympathetic but in the end I found him quite engaging.Although how he meets up withthe other main player is contrtived, it is none the less enjoyable. I found the ending very satisfying although it was conveyed in an irritating conversation between two other people. I would recommend this book as it was easy reading but still quite informative and gently humourous.
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A Man In Full
A Man In Full by Tom Wolfe (Paperback - 1 Sept. 2011)
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