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The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  2,000 Ratings  ·  223 Reviews
Universally acclaimed when first published in 1955, The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit captured the mood of a generation. Its title u like Catch-22 and Fahrenheit 451 u has become a part of AmericaOCOs cultural vocabulary. Tom Rath doesnOCOt want anything extraordinary out of life: just a decent home, enough money to support his family, and a career that wonOCOt crush his sp ...more
ebook, 289 pages
Published May 27th 2014 by Da Capo Press (first published 1954)
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(showing 1-30)
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Richard Derus
Nov 20, 2011 Richard Derus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Book Circle Reads 158

Rating: 4* of five

The Publisher Says: Here is the story of Tom and Betsy Rath, a young couple with everthing going for them: three healthy children, a nice home, a steady income. They have every reason to be happy, but for some reason they are not. Like so many young men of the day, Tom finds himself caught up in the corporate rat race - what he encounters there propels him on a voyage of self-discovery that will turn his world inside out.

At once a searing indictment of cor
...more
Sara
Mar 16, 2008 Sara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Sara by: Bill Hiatt
LOVED this. I'm a sucker for anything 1950s, and this was a great look at the depressing conformity of that era.

My dad recommended this book to me after I raved about the AMC show "Mad Men." It's pretty clear that the show's writers took the plot almost directly from this book. Both deal with the same dynamic: War-hero husbands quietly dealing with the mental fall-out of WW2, housewives stifled by a life of cleaning and baking, and what happens when no one is allowed to talk about how they're r
...more
Zuberino


One of the iconic American novels of the 1950s, thanks to its penetrating portrait of postwar disaffection in the New England suburbs. The novel is really one of two halves, with the first half far and away the better one. Tom Rath, 33-year-old former paratrooper turned reluctant corporate drone, is blindly stumbling through all manner of life crises, both internal and external, yet there is no one with the time or the empathy to listen, really listen to his cri de coeur. Exceptionally strong in
...more
Arwen56
America anni ’50. Tom Rath e la moglie Betsy sono inquieti e, benché non se lo confessino, si sta lentamente facendo largo in loro la sensazione di non essere soddisfatti né l’uno dell’altro, né della vita che conducono.

In lui, affiorano i ricordi della guerra, non finita da molto, e di un passato che comincia a riconsiderare, perché lo ha troppo frettolosamente accantonato. In lei, fioriscono progetti su progetti, per tentare di uscire da un’atmosfera che sta diventando soffocante e che la fa s
...more
Christina
May 15, 2007 Christina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
They drank a lot of cocktails in the 1950's.
Núria
Ambientada en la década de los cincuenta, cuando no se hablaba de las frustraciones sino que se ahogaban en martinis, “El hombre del traje gris” de Sloan Wilson se centra en Tom Rath, un hombre que lleva una vida idéntica a la de miles de hombres de aquella época. Tom Rath vive en Connecticut pero cada mañana coge el tren para ir a trabajar a Nueva York. Tom tiene una mujer preciosa que le espera en casa y tres adorables hijos pequeños, pero esto no parece suficiente; en la pared del comedor hay ...more
Rich Sanidad
As I worked my way through The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, I tried to remember how and why it came to be recommended to me. This was especially true in the beginning of the book, as it took a while for the plot to get moving—relatively speaking. No one will ever mistake this book for a page-turner. More than once I thought to myself, “Why am I reading this?” It’s a legitimate question for any book, but especially for a book that you only read for fifteen minutes at a go and yet still find your ...more
Lahierbaroja
Dec 11, 2011 Lahierbaroja rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
El éxito de esta novela quizá sea el personaje de Rath, con el que todos nos podemos identificar en un momento u otro. Todos buscamos la felicidad, todos tratamos de hacer las cosas lo mejor posible aunque no siempre salgan como esperamos.

"Sólo los masoquistas pueden vivir sin retocar sus recuerdos."

He sentido angustia, en el matiz actual relacionado con el éxito, esto es, que todos necesitamos dinero, bienes, trabajo y familia para alcanzar el punto óptimo de felicidad que se valora hoy en día.
...more
Redshirt Knitting
Aug 27, 2012 Redshirt Knitting rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This book was recommended to me as being "something every Mad Men fan should read." It has similar themes, but was ineptly written.

About 2/3rds of the book's bulk is comprised of characters either A) talking to each other, or B) thinking out loud. You start to appreciate the old writing class cliche about "show me, don't tell me."

If you want some 50s angst, check out Sylvia Plath's "The Bell Jar." It touches many of the same issues, and is about a million times better than this book in every re
...more
Rafeeq O.
Jul 28, 2014 Rafeeq O. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Whenever I watch The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit with Gregory Peck, I say, "Boy, it'd be nice to read the original novel by Sloan Wilson sometime, wouldn't it?"...and when I at last came across an old 1956 printing in the local library basement sale, this old paperback shouldered its way immediately to the top of my reading list. I was not disappointed. It is an enjoyable and moving five-star work.

The basics of the novel--a combat veteran haunted by memories of the men he killed, and by the bri
...more
carol
Dec 31, 2016 carol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent.
Anne Kadet
Dec 07, 2016 Anne Kadet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Super duper satisfying!
Charity
Such a frustrating read, loads of potential that gets bogged down in just too much going on, too many characters with too many off shooting narratives for such a short book. The ending felt rushed and far too pat, given the final thirty pages. There are monumental shifts in circumstances and startling admissions that take place, which make the ending problematic and seems more like what a philandering male's ideal attitude of his wife should be--even for the 1950's it is just not realistic.
Mandy
Jun 28, 2016 Mandy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Don't understand how this one has passed me by for so long! Wonderful depiction of 1950s America and the difficulties one "ordinary" man has to adjusting to life after his experiences in the war. Very evocative and atmospheric of the time and place, although sometimes the characterisation is a bit wooden. However, Tom Rath, the main protagonist, is unforgettable.
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
I didn't care for this one. It addresses middle-class dissatisfactions similar to those explored in Revolutionary Road, but Sloan Wilson's treatment is dry and pedestrian. Perhaps it just takes a tortured soul like Dick Yates to approach these issues in a dramatically memorable way. Skip this one and go for the depth. Read Yates instead.
Tessa
Dec 21, 2015 Tessa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Hadrian
Jan 26, 2011 Hadrian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: usa, fiction
Quick easy fiction. 1950s piece about morality of advancement and struggles of the salaryman. A happy ending, for once!
Lynn
Apr 06, 2015 Lynn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed his writing style. Some people compare main character to Don Draper but I find Tom Rath to be a much more likeable person.
Keith Raffel
Sep 30, 2013 Keith Raffel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A classic and deservedly so.
Duane Dunkerson
The Gray Flannel Suit

My contention has been that the Great American Novel was The Last Hurrah. Perhaps I have erred and it was The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit?

My edition of The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit was for 2002 with an introduction by Jonathan Franzen (he is perhaps more famous now). For this edition there is also an afterword by the author, Sloan Wilson. The afterword had been the introduction to a 1983 edition of the book.

I read the book to be informed as to why it was, and has been,
...more
Kelli
Feb 06, 2017 Kelli rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The post-script to the newest edition, written by Sloan Wilson, was actually the Foreword to the older edition. It was moved to the back to make way for an Introduction by Jonathan Franzen, which I think aptly reflects the current readership's feelings on the text. [We love hearing about your whimsical mimeograph machine, Sloan, and the internal fights about what constitutes strong character for a man, but can you step aside for this other guy that writes about smartphones and also bares his wre ...more
Brian Hutzell
Feb 05, 2017 Brian Hutzell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There’s an old joke: “How do you make God laugh?” “Tell Him your plans!” Tom Rath, the main character in The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit is a man who has slowly watched his plans and dreams go awry. Now he is just going through the motions of living, while life keeps getting in the way. Though Rath has become cynical, this book is not. It never becomes gloomy or maudlin, even while stripping away that veneer of happy perfection we so often slap over the 1950s.
Marg Corjay
A best seller in the year I was born. I read it on a suggestion from my book group. Found it tedious with all the business details, attitudes towards women were dated, but still was timely in many aspects.
Reinhardt
Jul 11, 2016 Reinhardt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
SIMON Karine
Jan 21, 2015 SIMON Karine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Je dois avouer que si on ne m’avait pas proposé ce bouquin en partenariat, je ne l’aurais probablement pas lu. Je ne me serais pas spontanément penchée vers un roman écrit dans les années 50, je dois avouer que je ne suis pas vintage du tout. En lisant, la quatrième de couverture, je me suis dis oui, pourquoi pas, mais j’étais plutôt septique. Et pourtant !!!

J’ai trouvé ce bouquin résolument moderne ! Vraiment ! Et surtout, je l’ai trouvé très intéressant et bien écrit. Il se lit tout seul, on n
...more
Laura K
Oct 18, 2015 Laura K rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
The 1950s and 1960s are my favorite years in American fiction. This book is definitely one of my all time favorite books. I also watched the movie (a little bit at a time, while I was reading the book). The movie was excellent.
When the book begins, we meet the main character, Tom Rath, somewhat angry, exhausted, and disillusioned, as he tries to make his way through the responsibilities of work and family. He has returned from war, but has never dealt with the emotions and practical issues of wh
...more
Live Unit
Mar 25, 2012 Live Unit rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book in Goodwill (don't judge!). It was indeed a rare gem among stones. I was immediately engrossed since page one. What I loved about the book was the writing. It is flawless, beautiful, and sexy. The aspiring author in me appreciates the finer art in literature. Transition from scene to scene contrasted perfectly with the imagery of the surroundings, which mostly consists of the main character stuck in one office after the other (if not a office, than a room).

As for the charac
...more
Mike
Oct 01, 2010 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I had through my life occasionally heard the phrase "the Man in the Gray Flannel Suit" used as an unflattering term for the unreflective salaryman. Then Mad Men came out, and I re-read The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test and I thought that it was just about time to read this one. So I did.

I was surprised to discover that the book is not a long screed about the meaninglessness of life as a gray-suited salaryman. It is instead about a man who faces familiar problems. Tom, the protagonist, has to figur
...more
Anthony Mathenia
I picked up The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit with the understanding that it inspired the popular television show Mad Men. In reading the book the similarities are readily apparent. Both deal with the white collar corporate environment of the late 1950's, early 1960's. The leads in both are war time veterans attempting to find where they fit in, balancing their New York careers with their suburban home life and struggling with their duty to their wives and the torch they still carry in their hear ...more
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