Hooking Up by Tom Wolfe

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Synopsis

Only yesterday boys and girls spoke of embracing and kissing (necking) as getting to first base. Second base was deep kissing, plus groping and fondling this and that. Third base was oral sex. Home plate was going all the way. That was yesterday. Here in the Year 2000 we can forget about necking. Today's girls and boys have never heard of anything that dainty. Today first base is deep kissing, now known as tonsil hockey, plus groping and fondling this and that. Second base is oral sex. Third base is going all the way. Home plate is being introduced by name.


And how rarely our hooked-up boys and girls are introduced by name!-as Tom Wolfe has discovered from a survey of girls' File-o-Fax diaries, to cite but one of Hooking Up's displays of his famed reporting prowess. Wolfe ranges from coast to coast chronicling everything from the sexual manners and mores of teenagers... to fundamental changes in the way human beings now regard themselves thanks to the hot new field of genetics and neuroscience. . . to the inner workings of television's magazine-show sting operations.


Printed here in its entirety is "Ambush at Fort Bragg," a novella about sting TV in which Wolfe prefigured with eerie accuracy three cases of scandal and betrayal that would soon explode in the press. A second piece of fiction, "U. R. Here," the story of a New York artist who triumphs precisely because of his total lack of talent, gives us a case history preparing us for Wolfe's forecast ("My Three Stooges," "The Invisible Artist") of radical changes about to sweep the arts in America.



As an espresso after so much full-bodied twenty-first-century fare, we get a trip to Memory Mall. Reprinted here for the first time are Wolfe's two articles about The New Yorker magazine and its editor, William Shawn, which ignited one of the great firestorms of twentieth-century journalism. Wolfe's afterword about it all is in itself a delicious draught of an intoxicating era, the Twistin' Sixties.


In sum, here is Tom Wolfe at the height of his powers as reporter, novelist, sociologist, memoirist, and-to paraphrase what Balzac called himself-the very secretary of American society in the 21st century.

 

About Tom Wolfe

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Tom Wolfe is the author of a dozen books, among them such contemporary classics as The Bonfire of the Vanities, The Right Stuff, and I Am Charlotte Simmons. He lives in New York City.
 
Published April 1, 2010 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 286 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

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The Guardian

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Hooking Up Tom Wolfe Jonathan Cape £16.99, pp293 Buy it at BOL It was O-level time in Liverpool.

Nov 19 2000 | Read Full Review of Hooking Up

Book Reporter

Tom Wolfe falls into a special category of writer: you either love him or loathe him.

Jan 22 2011 | Read Full Review of Hooking Up

Entertainment Weekly

Some 250 words into Tom Wolfe's latest volume of essays and short fiction, buried like a sacred lost scroll, is an ancient, infamous article called ''Tiny Mummies.'' Unseen since its initial appearance in New York magazine in 1965, the story -- and the story behind the story (how the New Yorker's...

Nov 08 2000 | Read Full Review of Hooking Up

People

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Nov 20 2000 | Read Full Review of Hooking Up

National Review Online

essays once more dissecting the pomposity and hypocrisy of academic radicalism and modern art, with a devastating attack on Norman Mailer, John Irving, and John Updike — Wolfe's "three stooges" (payback for their peevish criticism of...

Jul 21 2001 | Read Full Review of Hooking Up

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