A Man in Full

A Man in Full

by Tom Wolfe

Overview: 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 Canon” Fanon, a homegrown product of the city’s slums, i s 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 — 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 most outstanding achievement to date.

Deanna Boe (02/23/18): This book was first/last reviewed for this group in 2012. I read it simply because I so enjoyed Wolfe’s book about our first astronauts, THE RIGHT STUFF; I knew I had to read more books that Wolfe had written. I had no idea it was about Atlanta and people who could have easily resided here in the 1980’s/90’s? True to form for Wolfe, evidently, it is a very detailed, small print 690 page novel that more than expresses how Wolfe obviously looked at life during that time frame.

The list of characters for an “on the rise southern city” are probably true to form. You have your rich, self-centered, 60 year old white male businessman, Charlie Croker, married to a 28 year old beautiful woman, Serena. Next we have Wes Jordon, the black mayor of Atlanta and his fraternity buddy from Morehouse, Roger White. White just happens to work for the prestigious, but basically all “white male,” law firm. Poor Charlie, who use to be one of the really “big names” in Atlanta business is now, basically, broke. Jordon is trying to keep a racial situation from blowing up in everyone’s face when a black football player from Georgia Tech is accused of rape by a daughter of one of the wealthiest, old-established families of Atlanta. Probably the one implausible character and twists to the story comes when Wolfe interjects Conrad Hensley, a fired worker of one of Charlie’s Global Foods warehouses in California who ends up in Atlanta and working for Charlie directly. Conrad’s whole situation and belief in Zeus got just a little too far out for me. Never-the-less, it is an interesting book to read if you like long books.
Rating: ***

Sharon Weiss (02/10/12): Tom Wolfe constructs a series of intertwined scenarios with fascinating characters. Most of the action takes place in the Atlanta area, so the setting is particularly interesting when the author mentions local sites in the story. It's a real page turner that will capture your attention until the end.
Rating: *****

Have you read this book, too?  Click here to submit your review.

Join Our Email List
Email:  
For Email Marketing you can trust

 

Send Out Cards

 

Constant Contact