'The Bonfire of the Vanities' Revisited with Alvin Hall

Monday, May 28, 2012

It's Memorial Day, and we're looking back at some of our favorite Takeaway conversations from the last year. 

We spoke with Alvin Hall in March, shortly after he had completed a five part series for our partner the BBC called "Alvin Hall in the Bonfire of the Vanities." Twenty-five years ago, in 1997, the novel “The Bonfire of the Vanities” was published. Written by Tom Wolfe, the book tells the story of a greedy, white Wall Street trader who accidentally kills a black teenager in the South Bronx, then deliberately flees the scene of the accident. Along the way, we meet a nosy British ex-pat journalist, a media-obsessed Jewish D.A., an ambulance-chasing Irish American defense attorney, a divisive black evangelical pastor, and every New York archetype in between. 

Highlighting issues of class privilege, racism, greed, and politics, the book was a commercial and critical success, and came to define an era in New York City and in America. Alvin Hall looks back and asks: How much has New York changed in 25 years?

This interview was originally broadcast on March 22, 2012.


Alvin Hall

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