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Hooking Up

3.29  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,498 Ratings  ·  123 Reviews
In Hooking Up, Tom Wolfe ranges from coast to coast observing 'the lurid carnival actually taking place in the mightiest country on earth in the year 2000.' From teenage sexual manners and mores to fundamental changes in the way human beings now regard themselves thanks to the hot new fields of genetics and neuroscience; from his legendary profile of William Shawn, editor ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published October 12th 2001 by Picador (first published 1989)
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May 16, 2008 W.B. rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Technophiles, anybody really
Recommended to W.B. by: the dollar store
This is cobbled together creation, rather a literary Frankenstein's monster, a pastiche of various essays with some fiction thrown in, but it's actually a very rewarding read. You don't have to like the man or share his values to appreciate his ability to understand history's machinations, to trace trends and cultural tendencies with a rarely rivaled acumen. I don't share many of his values, and do find him to be an unremittent elitist (which is always an embarrassment for readers) but I still f ...more
Apr 25, 2008 Tim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I never realized how patriotic Wolfe is. His essay about the end of century fizzle is fantastic. Why didn't Americans celebrate the American century... Also enjoyed the novella about Fort Bragg, but the gem in the book is the long investigative/historical essay about Bob Noyce and the rise of Silicon Valley.

This is a great sampler to cut your teeth on a great American writer. I also enjoyed his Opus Novel, A Man in Full.,
Aug 01, 2007 Ani rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people interested in entrepreneurship and the origins of the technology industry in the US
I think the best piece in this book is the first one, a fascinating story detailing the impact of Congregationalism and the state of Iowa on the birth of Silicon Valley and really, modern corporate culture in the US. You can see the seeds of the atrociously long and out-of-touch novel I Am Charlotte Simmons in the piece called "Hooking Up," which is much better than the novel that it generated.
Aug 15, 2010 David rated it really liked it
Tom Wolfe's Hooking Up is a collection of essays on a variety of themes which he explores more fully in I am Charlotte Simmons: American Exceptionalism vs. colonial apologetics; the morphing of the date into the "hook-up" and other interesting modifications in American sexual mores; and most entertainingly his response to being called "not real literature" by Updike, Mailer, and Irving.

In addition, he includes a novella, Ambush at Fort Bragg about a group of journalists involved in a "gotcha" TV
Feb 16, 2009 Greg rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
The birth of Silicon Valley is particularly entertaining.
Matthew Chisholm
his was my first Wolfe anything. I had seen several of his works lying around collecting dust on friends bookshelves, and had often wondered,"Who is this man with the ostentatious covers and 90s charisma?" Turns out he is somewhat of a relic and somewhat of a genius. Like most carnal 20-somethings, I picked this one up because I was engaged by the prospect of an explanation of the process of temporary sexual desire. Instead, I got a narrative that weaved in and out of the cybertropolis of Y2K le ...more
Dec 13, 2008 Dave rated it it was ok
If you like Tom Wolfe like Tom Wolfe likes Tom Wolfe, you will like "Hooking Up." If you think Tom Wolfe is ok, like I think Tom Wolfe is ok, you will probably think this book is ok.

My biggest complaint is that "Hooking Up" only appears in the first essay(?) and only there in a convoluted, confusing, dissatisfying way. The book improves after that providing some interesting biographies of people that I'd never heard about before, such as William Shawn, editor of The New Yorker and Bob Noyce, a
Dec 05, 2007 Maggie rated it did not like it
i have so far read electric koolaid acid test as well as bonfire of the vanities by tom wolfe. after reading up to the novella about fort bragg i felt seriously let down by an author i previously considered one of my favorites. it seems he has abondoned his more objective (obviously not totally objective) journalistic style and decided to hop up onto his soapbox for a while. i found his essays in this collection opinionated and a little too patriotic for me. i did semi-enjoy the novella near the ...more
Russell Bittner
Jul 25, 2013 Russell Bittner rated it really liked it
Tom Wolfe may dress up like Mark Twain, but Tom Wolfe’s a sheep in Twain’s clothing.

That said, Tom Wolfe — in Hooking Up — gives a riotous performance. From Silicon Valley to the halls of the hallowed “New Yorker” Magazine, Wolfe sheds light: much-needed and much-appreciated light. There are gems in this book, but you’ve got to know how to spot them.

Wolfe’s prose is edgy, amusing, straightforward — and a joy to read. He just ain’t Twain, Huck. (But then, nobody is except Samuel Clemens himself
Apr 20, 2011 Julie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Oh my gooooooddd this book was boring. Please be forewarned - this book has nothing to do with delving further into societal rituals, like dating in the 2000s, as the title "Hooking Up" might imply. This book is a mishmash of dry essays on the evolution of technology, a silly short story (there was a reason it was cut out of A Man in Full, like how deleted scene extras on a DVD always kinda suck), and then a section on his literary wars with famous authors and The New Yorker. I remember liking h ...more
Nov 26, 2014 Ed rated it really liked it
4.5 stars
Apart from everything else, it's always great fun to read a Tom Wolfe book - to metaphorically get into his jazzy white sports car and zoom off to whichever neighborhood he is careering around. In this book from 2000 those neighborhoods are eclectic: they comprise a look at sexual mores in millennial America; a history of Silicon Valley; a discussion of the ascendency of neuroscience as a tool for explaining human behavior; modern art; a novella; a biting takedown of John Updike, John I
Camille McCarthy
I enjoy Tom Wolfe's essays very much, more than his fiction so far. He's very good at illustrating points and this book felt like a reality check for what's going on in America right now. I liked his insights on novel-writing in America, as I feel he is spot-on with regards to writers not being as in touch with the world around them as people such as Steinbeck, which really detracts from their ability to connect with the reader through their works. However Henry James is still among my favorite ...more
Barbara Ray
Jan 12, 2009 Barbara Ray rated it really liked it
I'm still thinking about "Two Young Men Who Went West." It has all the elements of well-done new journalism-- getting inside the heads of people, and turning what, in lesser hands, could be a very dull tale into something good. While I don't necessarily align with Wolfe's politics, and some of the essays are self-congratulatory, when he's good, he's very good.
David Koblos
Feb 24, 2014 David Koblos rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: culture
I read this book right after finishing "The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby" and the transition was smooth and seamless, despite the thirty some years between them. In both cases Wolfe does what he's best at: looking at various aspects of this great American experience, and writing about it in a way that you simply can't ignore. Hooking up is in fact not so much about where the sexual revolution has ended up at the time of the turn of the millennium, though he goes into some detail ...more
Jul 12, 2015 Elizabeth rated it liked it
Although he's mostly ego, Wolfe does entertain. This book needed 15 years on the shelf to age, but nothing is quite a funny as reading about the future in a book that was written in the past. Topically, the "novella" (wtf?) contained therein, "Ambush at Fort Bragg" [sic] [if I'm not getting the title quite right] was most gratifying to read the same week as the SCOTUS legalized gay, make that LGBT, marriage. More layers of interest are available to us NC residents: this is set is our backyard? O ...more
Tom Wolfe comes out with guns blazing in this glorious turn of the American Century essay collection that features a few GET OFF MY LAWN! tirades at those lousy intellectuals who were not celebrating the end of history and the triumph of American capitalism as they should have been, and instead delighted in cultural destruction, while average Americans, instead of being proud of their victory, were distracted with shopping and sex on the internet. In other essays Tom Wolfe celebrates the enginee ...more
Oct 15, 2015 Matt rated it really liked it
This was my first foray into Wolfe, except for an abortive attempt at Bonfire of the Vanities a few Christmases ago (it wasn't bad. It just wasn't the right time). I have to say I enjoyed reading this. The essays were fun and informative, although Wolfe's perspective seems pretty crotchety. He always has his sights set on someone to skewer or lampoon. I was particularly steamed when he was skewering groups that I identify with: young people who have sex (GASP!) and Marxist intellectuals. But whe ...more
Jan 27, 2015 David rated it liked it
I usually say I prefer Wolfe's nonfiction to his fiction (though I tend to rate his fiction higher due to it's impressive complexity), but I might have to make an exception here (this being nonfiction other than the novella). I just didn't care for this as much as "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test,""The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby," or " From Bauhaus to Our House." Nothing was bad, but I didn't care much for most. There was a lot where Wolfe sounded like a cranky old man, and he ...more
Procyon Lotor
Giornalismo di classe... ...e figliodibuonadonna d'alta classifica. Questo gentiluomo del sud, (il Sud di via col vento) che pochissime volte s' fatto trascinare dalle mode pi virulente, si permette di usare i clich pi vieti ma anche resistenti dela cultura e societ americana contemporanea come suo puntaspilli personale. Come spilli usa delle alabarde per. Eccellente libro per conoscere gli USA anche se presume una certa conoscenza iniziatica. Diciamo buono per "USA corso avanzato". Un opinione ...more
Apr 30, 2015 Evan rated it liked it
I always enjoy Tom Wolfe. He's a fun person to disagree with. His profiles on scientists and The New Yorker are really well executed and trenchant, but the titular essay in this book is total balderdash --it is a prurient, salacious, haphazard, cobbled-together compendium of rumors about the sexy sex that kids are supposedly having now, as if they weren't doing such things since Adam discovered his own boy-parts. It's rare to get an essay with that degree of "you kids get off my lawn (and stop t ...more
Το Hooking Up αν και θεωρείται χρονογράφημα, περιλαμβάνει κείμενα διαφορετικών προελεύσεων μεταξύ των οποίων ένα short story και κάποια άρθρα του Tom Wolfe.

Η θεματολογία του είναι χαοτική, κινείται από την ιστορία του Robert Noyce, του ιδρυτή της Intel και "Δήμαρχο του Sillicon Valley" μέχρι το βαρετό ύφος του New Yorker την επί William Shawn εποχή. Επί παντός επί στητού σα να λέμε και δεν αφήνει τίποτα να πέσει κάτω.

Το πρώτο μέρος του, για το Sillicon Valley, μέχρι και το "Ambush at Fort Bragg"
David Ward
Hooking Up by Tom Wolfe (Farrar Strauss and Giroux 2000)(818) is a collection of recent nonfiction works by the eminent author. The title work begins with the author's update on the struggle between the sexes. The book jacket sums it up best: "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 t ...more
Nov 06, 2011 Crystal rated it did not like it
Shelves: rejects
Had to be honest and say "I didn't like it." That should in no way detract from the mastery of Tom Wolfe's writing, and if you like him and you want to know a lot about stuff that happened way back (like everything you never wanted to know about The New Yorker in the '60s), by all means take a gander. There was a lengthy essay about the germination of Silicon Valley, but I found inaccuracies in the depiction. My favorite part of the book was his novella, "Ambush at Fort Bragg," about "ambush" jo ...more
Mikey B.
Feb 12, 2013 Mikey B. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A turn of the millennium book by Mr. Wolfe, in which he overstates that the U.S. is the center of the world (as Britain was 100 years ago). One also ponders how much Mr. Wolfe would have changed his outlook after Sept. 11/2001. To some extent there is a bit of prudery and anti-liberalism in this book – or perhaps a lack of tolerance in his tone.

There seems to be an underlying glorification of Middle America – and Middle American values (the work ethic, religion). But regardless, Mr. Wolfe is an
Jul 08, 2012 Patrick rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 24, 2012 Andrew added it
Shelves: favorites
great collection. the novella is so-so, but the essays are generally fantastic (not to mention thoroughly researched and delightfully reported, as wolfe's work so often is), covering a range of intermingling topics, including science and technology, art and literature, and the trend of late-century american thinking toward the absurdly refined. this last point crops up again and again and comes to fruition in "rococo marxists" and "my three stooges," where wolfe dismantles the tired dogma of pos ...more
Jun 05, 2013 John rated it really liked it
I recently found this book in my stacks and checked the reviews on Amazon to see if I should invest the time in reading it. The reviews were all over the place... some loved it, a lot hated it, many gave it mediocre marks. After reading it I see why - there's something somewhere in "Hooking Up" to piss off everyone. I enjoyed most of the book immensely.

My infuriating moment came near the end of the 3rd section as Wolf describes the hyper-reaction to E. O. Wilson's groundbreaking work in the fiel
Lars Guthrie
Apr 07, 2008 Lars Guthrie rated it really liked it
I'm probably only going less than all the way because Wolfe so joyfully savages many of my beliefs and predispositions. That makes me resent that he is so damned fun to read. After reading a story in the SF Chronicle about his upcoming book on neuroscience and language (and I'm interested in that for lots of reasons--right now I'm reading Stuart Shanker and Stanley Greenspan's "The First Idea"), which referred to Wolfe's "Sorry, But Your Soul Just Died," I got this book just to read that essay, ...more
Jessica Blevins
Jul 07, 2008 Jessica Blevins rated it it was ok
A collection of essays and one novella by Tom Wolfe, covering a wide range of topics, from art history to neurotechnology to literature. It was ok, but not great. My favorite essays were "Sorry, But Your Soul Just Died" (about philosophy, religion and neurotechnology...interesting bits on Nietzche's predictions for the future after the "intellectual elite" agreed that religion was no longer a viable belief) and "In the Land of the Rococo Marxists" (interesting downloading of social structures th ...more
Dec 23, 2008 mark rated it liked it
I enjoyed this collection of essays and one short story, but it is not Wolfe at his finest. I noticed more than I had with his earlier works just how US-centric his viewpoints are and how little he criticizes the country, specifically in its foreign policies. I'm thinking of the pieces "Hooking Up" and "In The Land of The Rococo Marxists," both of which are very entertaining and make some excellent observations, but in which he overstates his case. Of course, that is Wolfe's style. "Sorry But Yo ...more
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Madison Mega-Mara...: Hooking Up 1 5 Apr 29, 2012 02:07PM  
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Wolfe was educated at Washington and Lee Universities and also at Yale, where he received a PhD in American studies.

Tom Wolfe spent his early days as a Washington Post beat reporter, where his free-association, onomatopoetic style would later become the trademark of New Journalism. In books such as The Electric Koolaid Acid Test, The Right Stuff, and The Bonfire of the Vanities, Wolfe delves into
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“You can be denounced from the heavens, and it only makes people interested.” 15 likes
“In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, old people in America had prayed, "Please God, don't let me look poor." In the year 2000, they prayed, "Please God, don't let me look old." Sexiness was equated with youth, and youth ruled. The most widespread age-related disease was not senility but juvenility.
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