A Man in Full Essay - Critical Essays

Tom Wolfe

A Man in Full

Charlie Croker has it all: he bestrides the Atlanta real estate world like a colossus; his plantation in southern Georgia is one of the largest in the state; his young, second wife is beautiful and he is among the movers and shakers in the city that bills itself “too busy to hate.” In Tom Wolfe’s brilliant novel, A MAN IN FULL, readers watch Charlie Croker’s life come totally apart and discover that the brilliant surface of this society is only a facade.

The destruction begins with the accusation of date rape by the daughter of one of Atlanta’s most powerful businessmen—and one of Charlie Croker’s closest friends. It escalates as word spreads that the accusation names Fareek Fanon, Georgia Tech’s star football player. It reaches the heights of Atlanta’s power structure when the crisis threatens the re-election campaign of Mayor Wes Jordan. It reaches Charlie Croker when he is recruited by Roger White to speak on behalf of Fareek Fanon—and Roger White is very persuasive, since he can call off the bankers who are pressuring Charlie’s badly faltering companies.

The entire range of New South society is here, observed, presented and elegantly dissected as only Tom Wolfe, with his acute sense of the absurd and his precise yet high-powered prose can achieve. He probes the corridors and penthouses of power, and considers the back alleys and tenements of despair and misery. He creates characters who seem too large for life and then makes readers believe deeply and passionately in their humanity. A MAN IN FULL is a novel about Atlanta, about the New South, and about the human heart in conflict with itself.

Sources for Further Study

American Banker. CLXIII, December 8, 1998, p. 1.

The Christian Science Monitor. November 12, 1998, p. B5.

Los Angeles Times Book Review. November 8, 1998, p. 2.

The New York Review of Books. XLV, December 17, 1998, p. 18.

The New York Times Book Review. CIII, November 8, 1998, p. 17.

Newsweek. CXXXII, July 6, 1998, p. 76.

Publishers Weekly. CCXLV, November 9, 1998, p. 58.

The Times Literary Supplement. November 27, 1998, p. 21.

The Wall Street Journal. September 23, 1998, p. B1.

The Washington Post Book World. XXVIII, November 1, 1998, p. 3.