I Wear the Black Hat by Chuck Klosterman
Grappling with Villains (Real and Imagined)

74%

12 Critic Reviews

...the best stance to take toward I Wear the Black Hat...is the one he recommends with respect to the music of N.W.A...any other way would be to miss the point entirely—assuming, of course, there is one.
-NY Journal of Books

Synopsis

One-of-a-kind cultural critic and New York Times bestselling author Chuck Klosterman “offers up great facts, interesting cultural insights, and thought-provoking moral calculations in this look at our love affair with the anti-hero” (New York magazine).

Chuck Klosterman, “The Ethicist” for The New York Times Magazine, has walked into the darkness. In I Wear the Black Hat, he questions the modern understanding of villainy. When we classify someone as a bad person, what are we really saying, and why are we so obsessed with saying it? How does the culture of malevolence operate? What was so Machiavellian about Machiavelli? Why don’t we see Bernhard Goetz the same way we see Batman? Who is more worthy of our vitriol—Bill Clinton or Don Henley? What was O.J. Simpson’s second-worst decision? And why is Klosterman still haunted by some kid he knew for one week in 1985?

Masterfully blending cultural analysis with self-interrogation and imaginative hypotheticals, I Wear the Black Hat delivers perceptive observations on the complexity of the antihero (seemingly the only kind of hero America still creates). As the Los Angeles Times notes: “By underscoring the contradictory, often knee-jerk ways we encounter the heroes and villains of our culture, Klosterman illustrates the passionate but incomplete computations that have come to define American culture—and maybe even American morality.” I Wear the Black Hat is a rare example of serious criticism that’s instantly accessible and really, really funny.
 

About Chuck Klosterman

See more books from this Author
Chuck Klosterman is the New York Times bestselling author of seven previous books, including Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs; Eating the Dinosaur; Killing Yourself to Live; and The Visible Man. His debut book, Fargo Rock City, was the winner of the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award. He has written for GQ, Esquire, Spin, The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Believer, and The Onion A.V. Club. He currently serves as “The Ethicist” for the New York Times Magazine and writes about sports and popular culture for ESPN.
 
Published July 9, 2013 by Scribner. 225 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Literature & Fiction, Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
icon6
Peak Rank on Jul 28 2013
icon1
Weeks as Bestseller
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for I Wear the Black Hat
All: 12 | Positive: 10 | Negative: 2

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by JAMES PARKER on Jul 05 2013

“I Wear the Black Hat” is not his best book, but in considering it we should remember the young person...to whom its haphazardness, its occasional pointlessness and above all its difficulty keeping a straight face will come as sweet, sweet relief.

Read Full Review of I Wear the Black Hat: Grappli... | See more reviews from NY Times

Publishers Weekly

Good
on May 13 2013

...the premise gives the veteran author...an excuse to tackle an array of subjects ranging from Machiavelli...to 1980s N.Y.C. subway vigilante Bernhard Goetz...

Read Full Review of I Wear the Black Hat: Grappli... | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

Kirkus

Good
on Jun 25 2013

A fine return to form for Klosterman, blending Big Ideas with heavy metal, The Wire, Batman and much more.

Read Full Review of I Wear the Black Hat: Grappli... | See more reviews from Kirkus

NY Journal of Books

Good
Reviewed by Marc Schuster on Jul 02 2013

...the best stance to take toward I Wear the Black Hat...is the one he recommends with respect to the music of N.W.A...any other way would be to miss the point entirely—assuming, of course, there is one.

Read Full Review of I Wear the Black Hat: Grappli... | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books

Star Tribune

Good
Reviewed by Brigitte Frase on Jul 13 2013

...a fast lively tour of villainy by a fizzy writer. In the last chapter he admits to villainy himself; I’ll leave you to find out what he means.

Read Full Review of I Wear the Black Hat: Grappli... | See more reviews from Star Tribune

Globe and Mail

Below average
Reviewed by John Semley on Jul 12 2013

It’s a trial. As you get older, reading a Chuck Klosterman book becomes a gauge of your ability to weather a Chuck Klosterman book. Or, as an acquaintance of mine said, a gauge of your ability to see how far you can chuck a Klosterman book.

Read Full Review of I Wear the Black Hat: Grappli... | See more reviews from Globe and Mail

LA Times

Good
Reviewed by Heather Havrilesky on Jul 05 2013

...Klosterman illustrates the passionate but incomplete computations that have come to define American culture — and maybe even American morality.

Read Full Review of I Wear the Black Hat: Grappli... | See more reviews from LA Times

Toronto Star

Above average
Reviewed by Alex Good on Jul 19 2013

This being Klosterman, there’s a lot of disjointed and downright confusing blab as well. How someone who seems to know nothing about music or sports has built a career out of writing fan’s notes on music and sports is hard to figure out.

Read Full Review of I Wear the Black Hat: Grappli... | See more reviews from Toronto Star

AV Club

Good
Reviewed by Vadim Rizov on Jul 08 2013

This effort is engagingly light reading, suitable for mindless unwinding.

Read Full Review of I Wear the Black Hat: Grappli... | See more reviews from AV Club

National Post arts

Good
Reviewed by Iain Reid on Jul 12 2013

It’s not a scholarly or political work, but is deceptively astute and absorbing.

Read Full Review of I Wear the Black Hat: Grappli... | See more reviews from National Post arts

The Maine Edge

Excellent
Reviewed by Allen Adams on Jul 10 2013

[Klosterman] is that rare writer whose intelligence never undermines that of the reader. Rather, he speaks to his audience as an equal, sharing his insight in a manner that never seems prideful despite a prominent profundity.

Read Full Review of I Wear the Black Hat: Grappli...

National Post arts

Good
Reviewed by Iain Reid on Jul 12 2013

Klosterman comically turns the camera on himself at the end of book, and in doing so, on the reader too. His reality, like ours, is refreshingly opaque.

Read Full Review of I Wear the Black Hat: Grappli... | See more reviews from National Post arts

Reader Rating for I Wear the Black Hat
73%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 323 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review
×