Cover image for The man in the gray flannel suit
The man in the gray flannel suit
Wilson, Sloan, 1920-2003.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Four Walls Eight Windows, 2002.

Physical Description:
276 pages ; 21 cm
Format :


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Material Type
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X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
X Adult Fiction Central Library

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Universally acclaimed when first published in 1955, The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit captured the mood of a generation. Its title -- like Catch-22 and Fahrenheit 451 -- has become a part of America's cultural vocabulary. Tom Rath doesn't want anything extraordinary out of life: just a decent home, enough money to support his family, and a career that won't crush his spirit. After returning from World War II, he takes a PR job at a television network. It is inane, dehumanizing work. But when a series of personal crises force him to reexamine his priorities -- and take responsibility for his past -- he is finally moved to carve out an identity for himself. This is Sloan Wilson's searing indictment of a society that had just begun to lose touch with its citizens. The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit is a classic of American literature and the basis of the award-winning film starring Gregory Peck. "A consequential novel." -- Saturday Review

Author Notes

Jonathan Franzen was born in Western Springs, Illinois on August 17, 1959. He graduated from Swarthmore College in 1981, and went on to study at the Freie University in Berlin as a Fulbright scholar. He worked in a seismology lab at Harvard University's Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences after graduation.

His works include The Twenty-Seventh City (1988), Strong Motion (1992), How to Be Alone (2002), and The Discomfort Zone (2006). The Corrections (2001) won a National Book Award and the 2002 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction. Freedom (2010) is an Oprah Book Club selection. He also won a Whiting Writers' Award in 1988 and the American Academy's Berlin Prize in 2000. He is also a frequent contributor to Harper's and The New Yorker. In 2015 his title Purity made The New Yort Times and New Zealand Best Seller List.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Indistinguishable from the thousands who commute from home, wife, and children in the suburbs to office work in New York City, Thomas Rath hides his obsession with his World War II experiences. [BKL Jl 1 55]

Publisher's Weekly Review

Though it's cited in nearly every book and article about the culture of the 1950s, few readers under 65 know Sloan Wilson's The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit firsthand. The 1955 bestseller is being reissued with a new introduction by Jonathan Franzen-and, indeed, the story of disappointed Westport, Conn., strivers Tom and Betsy Rath anticipates the novels of suburban anomie by Franzen and his contemporaries. Dreaming of a bigger house for his wife and three kids, WWII veteran Tom leaves his job with an arts foundation to be a well-paid public relations executive at the United Broadcasting Corporation. But corporate ladder climbing and consumer rewards leave him miserable. Though his sentimental conclusion now seems dated, Wilson's portrait of the martini-soaked malcontents is sharp, memorable and still resonant today. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved