Radical Chic

Radical Chic

3.74 (2,105 ratings by Goodreads)
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Product details

  • Paperback | 192 pages
  • 120 x 180mm
  • Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group Inc
  • Bantam USA
  • New York, United States
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • 0553114999
  • 9780553114997

Review Text

Tom Wolfe, world-renowned journalist and satirist, is the author of many critically acclaimed books including The Bonfire of the Vanities and The Right Stuff, and these three essays, republished here in a new edition, fully attest to his wit and intelligence. Written in the early 1970s, all three are satirical snapshots of American society and culture. 'Radical Chic' is an account of the (in)famous party thrown by Leonard Bernstein for the notorious Black Panther party. In the late Sixties well-heeled, right-on New Yorkers adopted a whole series of radical causes to support. Bernstein's party for the feared and politically extreme Black Panthers was perhaps the pinnacle of this fashion, and the most ludicrous juxtaposition of culture, class and belief. Tom Wolfe was at the party, and so is uniquely placed to comment, which he does so in a wry and gentle style, never condemning outright. 'Mau-Mauing The Flak Catchers', more openly critical in tone, looks at the San Francisco liberals and quangos, eager to open their coffers to any 'deserving' cause, and how the not-so-deserving used less than savoury tactics to 'persuade' them to part with vast sums of money. Bitterly funny and scathing, this essay is less well known than 'Radical Chic' but no less interesting for its social commentary. In 'The Painted Word' Wolfe casts his wickedly perceptive eye over the history of 20th-century art. He paints a vivid, witty picture of the would-be bohemian artist engaged in a desperate mating ritual with the collectors, curators and culturati who can make his name. The public, as Wolfe says, have nothing to do with the process. They are merely informed of what is good art by an elite clique. Art itself fades into the background behind theory, -isms, the 'next big thing' and above all money. Wolfe's brand of satire was nothing short of remarkable when these essays were first published, and 30 years on his work is still sharp, still relentlessly mocking and still compulsively readable. (Kirkus UK)show more

Rating details

2,105 ratings
3.74 out of 5 stars
5 22% (461)
4 39% (829)
3 31% (654)
2 7% (142)
1 1% (19)
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