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The Purple Decades: A Reader Hardcover – September, 1982

4.0 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"[The Purple Decades] is a sociologist's dream: a time capsule of ideas and idioms, brand names and places, cult heroes and calling cards." -Ellen Wilson, The Wall Street Journal
 
"The Purple Decades . . . [is] a selection and collection of Tom Wolfe's work from the last 18 or so years, and it's amazing how it holds up . . . Wolfe is just the most perceptive societal journalist we have, and on top of that, though it is often concealed, he endures, or enjoys, real feeling." -Margaret Manning, The Boston Globe
 
"Gorge in this extravagant selection of [Tom Wolfe's] writing, sprinkled with ultra-contemporary cartoons." -Emily Vincent, Houston Chronicle
 
"Mr. Wolfe doesn't spatter out these wonderful words for their own sake. He exhibits them because they're the right medium for his satiric and moral vision . . . Reading him is exhilarating." -Paul Fussell, The New York Times Book Review
 
"A feast for nostalgic trend-watchers."
--Kirkus Reviews
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Tom Wolfe is the author of a dozen books, among them such contemporary classics as the bestselling The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, The Right Stuff, and The Bonfire of the Vanities. A native of Richmond, Virginia, he lives in New York City.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 396 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar Straus & Giroux (T); First Edition edition (September 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374239274
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374239275
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.8 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,285,986 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Wow. First time rereading some of this in years, and it still resonates and it is still tremendous writing and thinking. Tom Wolfe is a literary sociologist, helping us see all sorts of our US culture.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read the stories in this book in the early 70's. Radical Chic and Mau Mauing the Flack Catchers turned me away from the liberal orthodoxy my Freshman Civics teacher, not a bad person to be sure, tried to feed us. Yeager is a great story for those who haven't read the Right Stuff, and if you haven't, you will want to after you read Yeager. If you want to understand the new journalism, this is the best place to start.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Amazon is now asking a series of dumb questions concerning writing style, violence and sex before you can review the book, but for a book like this the writing style is pretty much the main point of the book and it rises and falls by the writing style. For Tom Wolfe, it's almost impossible to be neutral when it comes to the writing style. It's also hard to stick it in a box and say whether it's good, poor or really bad because there are points where his turns of phrase are still mesmerizing. And yet when you read too much Tom Wolfe, it just gets obnoxious.

Of course, like many over-educated high school and college students with a rebellious streak, I loved reading Tom Wolfe when I was a kid. Oddly enough I started out with Bonfire of the Vanities but I quickly moved to The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. And then sometime in college or shortly after college I read The Right Stuff - which was arguably his best book. Ironically, that's the book where I stopped being charmed by Wolfe's Herodotus methodology of making up dialogue and painting a picture more vivid than the subjects he was interviewing. Actually it was one key scene where he describes the launch from the perspective of the monkey. There is absolutely no way that he can be in the cockpit with the monkey or even know what the monkey was thinking, but the monkey gets depicted as one of the hyperactive junkies that is having a real bad trip.

I was reminded of this scene throughout this book as every character - whether they were hippies, working class art dealers trying to break into society, gossip magazine publishers, etc. - was talking like a hyperactive tough guy full of posturing and self-deception. And while that is fun at first, it becomes very tedious after a few of these articles.
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By A Customer on March 17, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is a fantastic sampling of Wolfe's work. Some parts I have re-read countless times. Wolfe is among the best writers we have. (And this book is nonfiction...which is why I'm glad his next book will be nonfiction).
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