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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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2 of 2 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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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not even Norman Mailer could have written such tat, 6 Dec. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: A Man in Full (Paperback)
If, like myself, you are misfortunate enough to get this book as a Christmas present, I suggest you make use of Amazon's excellent returns policy, at the earliest possible juncture. Believe it or not, I actually LIKE Tom Wolfe. Bonfire of the Vanities was a great novel, and the film didn't do it justice. But this is just plain awful. Go off and read Catch 22 again, or better still, get a copy of any T Coraghessan Boyle book. Anything, just don't waste your precious wage packet on this hackneyed, cliche-ridden, patronising description of the tension between blacks and whites in America.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not too full., 26 July 2002
By 
J. Fryman "jerryfn" (Herefordshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Man in Full (Paperback)
I should have bought this used. It was a holiday read that turned into a tedious read after page 200. The comparison with Dickens is all to obvious, yet it does not in any way compare. It does little justice to richness of his earlier sociological critiques. The problem is with the characterisation which is clichéd and not richly decorated.
There is a considerable amount of repetition in the novel. Particularly the references to muscular status of the upper body the two hero's.
The final ironic twist at the end does not bare comparison with the mythic parables to which it alludes. A pretentious construct. Nearly 800 pages, it needs a severe précis. As it stands, don't bother, wait for the TV movie.
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4.0 out of 5 stars good, 1 Oct. 2014
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This review is from: A Man In Full (Paperback)
good book tom wolf tell a good story
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A mild dilution of Bonfire of the Vanities. But good., 17 Feb. 2010
This review is from: A Man in Full (Paperback)
Tom Wolfe is one of my favorite authors, and my reviews of his books will testify to that.

The man in full is Charlie Croker, a self-made mill-(possibly bill-)ionaire; but very rich anyway. We watch as his arrogance slowly unravels his life and how the more powerful echelons of society cynically jump on him. Wolfe pans to and from other characters, and slowly their interlinked meanings converge onto Charlie.

A Man in Full is a good novel. Class and racial tensions, engagingly well-written, a good plot and a vein of philosophy running through it to make one reflect on the inadequacies of one's own life philosophy. All the ingredients of a good novel, but the something that makes Tom Wolfe a brilliant author was missing; his inimitable writing style seemed somewhat diluted, and it wasn't as Wolfe as Wolfe has been.

Somehow A Man in Full left me feeling as if I had read it before somewhere, and then I remembered his first fiction novel, Bonfire of the Vanities. However, Man in Full is set in Atlanta rather than New York. It's possible that Wolfe is churning out a winning formula, but whether this was the reason this novel was a little stilted, or whether the formula has turned a little stale, I was mildly disappointed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 11 July 2014
This review is from: A Man In Full (Paperback)
Happy with the product
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Man in Full, 10 Nov. 2002
By 
Richard F Perks (Blackheath, London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Man in Full (Hardcover)
What a grim book - every word was a struggle. Plotline is weak - more like a series of novellas stuck together with an over-reliance on coincidence. Characterisation depends mostly on 2 page monologues. After one, you think "that's very impressive", but after the third they seem more like a nervous tick and become very boring. Only one character can be said to be sketched in full and he is unpleasant. The good people lack credibility or are there just so that Tom Wolfe can have a rant about some aspect of US life. What a pity we don't see more of the Mayor of Atlanta, for instance. Steer well clear of this. Had I not had to read it, I would have given up after 80 pages and that would have been the right decision. The book is far too long and the next 660 just confirmed my initial impression.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unputdownable, 12 Feb. 2004
By 
Shell (Flintshire) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Man in Full (Paperback)
Right from the first page I couldn't put this book down. At some points everything from my fingers right down to my toes was screwed up in anticipation and excitement. I was completely lost in the thrilling action scenes and the wonderful charactors. So many unexpected twists and turns and a great ending. A real gripping page turner, would deffinately be in my top ten favorite books.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 4 April 2015
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This review is from: A Man in Full (Hardcover)
Great
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5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars More fat, less muscle, 11 Dec. 2002
By 
Bill (Cornwall, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Man in Full (Paperback)
Like Charlie Croker, the hero of this 800-page novel, A Man in Full is a bloated, self-important, rambling affair, with occasional islands of well-written and memorable scenes (such as those in the freezer warehouse and the prison) surrounded by a sea of sloppy prose. A host of characters and sub-plots meander towards one of the most unsatisfying, unbelievable and throwaway conclusions you'll ever come across, and neither are you likely to come away convinced that you've gained any insight at all into the racial politics of the Deep South. Forgettable, flabby, lazy writing; more is indeed less.
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4 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars More than Full, Rather... Overstuffed, 25 Jan. 2003
By 
Patrick Shepherd "hyperpat" (San Jose, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Man in Full (Hardcover)
This seems to be the age of the huge novel. Everything from horror and techno-thrillers to this nominal 'novel of character' can't seem to be told in less than 700 pages. Perhaps it's a reaction to the minimalist school, but when carried to excess, it severely detracts from the power and impact a novel such as this should have.

Wolfe introduces his primary character of Charlie Crocker with immediacy and bright coloration, painting a fine portrait of a self-made real-estate developer who is egotistical, arrogant, crude, politically incorrect, charismatic, and utterly convinced of his ability to surmount any obstacle. A little deeper in, and Charlie's problems begin to come to light: severe money problems from an over-optimistic real estate development, with his major loaning bank starting to put the screws to him, his young second wife and his son by his first marriage start to put a crimp in his uncultured red-neck pastimes and speech patterns, Charlie's own fears of just possibly getting to be 'over the hill'. All intriguing and well-presented.

But surrounding Charlie is an in-depth portrait of modern-day Atlanta, and it is here that I began to see problems with this book. Wolfe is not happy unless he describes every character's (no matter how minor) physical characteristics and dress, every scrap of furnishing in every room, every building (right down to who the architect was), every lawn and garden, till I felt I was drowning in all these set pieces, while the story action stalled.

His second major character, the antithesis of Charlie in terms of money and social position, Conrad Hensley, is making his way downward in social strata, from warehouse laborer to unemployed to prison inmate. The sequence of events that lead him to this position is a great parody of life - absolutely everything that could possibly go wrong does. Most of the book that is told from Conrad's viewpoint seems more 'alive', more real than the sections dealing with the upper crust of Atlanta, although perhaps there is too much emphasis on street and prison slang.

Clearly these two characters are meant to come together in some way, though separated by a continent and just as large a social distance, and at the same time the issues of race and political strategy that permeate the Atlanta scene must be folded into the mix. It was here I found more objections to this novel than ones of mere wordiness. Charlie; Wes, the mayor of Atlanta; Martha, Charlie's former wife; Roger Too White, the lawyer 'defending' the black football star; Roger Peepgass, the minor executive at Chalie's bank - all of these characters seem to have no central guiding principle, are willing to compromise on anything, and have no moral compass other than keeping up appearances, almost the exact opposite of an Ayn Rand novel. The only person who seems to have some inner principle is Conrad, who at least in the beginning can't express it well. But while in prison he is introduced to the ideas and commentaries of the Stoic philophers, and accepts their philosophy as his own. All well and good as a nice diametric opposition, but now Wolfe gets carried away in trying to present his 'message', and brings in a very out-of-character and unbelievable conversion of other characters to this philosophy. I felt this spoiled a lot of what had been up to this point a very believable 'slice of life' portrait of the both high and the mighty and the low and feeble.

There are some fairly sharp satirical sequences here, such as both 'inner thought' sides of a date between the definitely not-young Martha Crocker and Roger Peepgass, and the strength of characterization keep this book from falling into the realm of 'impossible to read'. But the badly structured introduction of philosophy and the totally excessive wordiness defeated its attempts to be something more than just another novel of everyday living.

--- Reviewed by Patrick Shepherd (hyperpat)
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A Man in Full
A Man in Full by Tom Wolfe (Paperback - 28 Oct. 1999)
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