The Bonfire of the Vanities

Version: Unabridged
Author: Tom Wolfe
Narrator: Joe Barrett
Genres: Fiction & Literature
Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks
Published In: June 2009
# of Units: 22 CDs
Length: 23 hours
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This bitingly hilarious American satire will forever define late twentieth-century New York style.
Tom Wolfe's bestselling modern classic tells the story of Sherman McCoy, an elite Wall Street bond trader who has it all: wealth, power, prestige, a Park Avenue apartment, a beautiful wife, and an even more beautiful mistress, until one wrong turn sends Sherman spiraling downward in a humiliating fall from grace.
A car accident in the Bronx involving Sherman, his girlfriend, and two young lower-class black men sets a match to the incendiary racial and social tensions of 1980s New York City. Suddenly, Sherman finds himself embroiled in the most brutal, high-profile case of the year, as prosecutors, politicians, the press, the police, the clergy, and assorted hustlers rush in to further their own political and social agendas. With so many egos at stake, the last priority on anyone's mind is truth or justice.

Reviews (5)

Written by Anonymous on June 16th, 2019

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Brilliant! Tom Wolfe's masterpiece, his Bayeux Tapestry of modern life. It's as true now as it was in 1987, when he wrote it, and it will remain invaluable for as long as America exists. I fear the "internet attention span" will make it inaccessible and impossible for far too many people. Plus, this work would violate too many PC taboos to be published, probably, though it is suffused with the most understanding, loving, humanism. The narration is incredible. This is the only book I've ever heard that I preferred above reading in the written original form. R.I.P. Tom Wolfe. You will be sorely missed.


Written by jeff C on February 28th, 2018

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Excellent snapshot of new. N.Y. in the 1980s. Great satire of American culture. The narrator was the best I've heard on audio book so far.


Written by Linda P on December 21st, 2017

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Loved everything about it. Holds up to the test of time. Fabulous job by the narrator.

not just dated

Written by Andy H from Wyomissing, PA on August 16th, 2012

  • Book Rating: 2/5

This book isn't just dated, it's also incredibly dull. Each character is a rather unimaginative stereotype, and the buildup to the main plotline has barely begun, and I'm 7 discs into it. It simply can't hold my attention any longer, I am returning it unfinished.


Written by Anonymous on August 22nd, 2011

  • Book Rating: 2/5

Did not age well. I did not even get past the second disc.

Author Details

Author Details

Wolfe, Tom

Tom Wolfe grew up in Richmond, Virginia, and graduated from Washington and Lee University. He received his doctorate in American Studies from Yale University. Mr. Wolfe worked as a reporter for the Springfield Union, The Washington Post, and the New York Herald Tribune. His writing has also appeared in New York magazine, Esquire, and Harper's.

In 1965 Farrar, Straus and Giroux published The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby, and in 1968 The Pump House Gang and The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test were published simultaneously. Radical Chic and Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers was published in 1970.

In 1975, FSG published The Painted Word, an incandescent, hilarious look at the world of modern art; it caused as much controversy as anything Mr. Wolfe has written. Mauve Gloves and Madmen, Clutter and Vine, a collection of essays, was published by FSG in 1976.

The Right Stuff, a national bestseller published by FSG in 1979, won the American Book Award for general nonfiction. The American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters named Mr. Wolfe as recipient of the Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award for distinguished service in the field of journalism. From Bauhaus to Our House, his distinctive look at contemporary architecture, was published in the fall of 1981 and became another national bestseller; in 1982, FSG published The Purple Decades: A Reader. Mr. Wolfe's novel The Bonfire of the Vanities was published by FSG in 1987, and went on to become one of the top ten bestselling books of the decade.

Tom Wolfe lives in New York City. On November 6,1998, Farrar, Straus and Giroux published a new novel by Tom Wolfe entitled A Man in Full.