I Wear the Black Hat by Chuck Klosterman

I Wear the Black Hat

By Chuck Klosterman

  • Release Date: 2013-07-09
  • Genre: Social Science
Score: 4
From 117 Ratings
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One-of-a-kind cultural critic and New York Times bestselling author Chuck Klosterman “offers up great facts, interesting cultural insights, and thought-provoking moral calculations in this look at our love affair with the anti-hero” (New York magazine).

Chuck Klosterman, “The Ethicist” for The New York Times Magazine, has walked into the darkness. In I Wear the Black Hat, he questions the modern understanding of villainy. When we classify someone as a bad person, what are we really saying, and why are we so obsessed with saying it? How does the culture of malevolence operate? What was so Machiavellian about Machiavelli? Why don’t we see Bernhard Goetz the same way we see Batman? Who is more worthy of our vitriol—Bill Clinton or Don Henley? What was O.J. Simpson’s second-worst decision? And why is Klosterman still haunted by some kid he knew for one week in 1985?

Masterfully blending cultural analysis with self-interrogation and imaginative hypotheticals, I Wear the Black Hat delivers perceptive observations on the complexity of the antihero (seemingly the only kind of hero America still creates). As the Los Angeles Times notes: “By underscoring the contradictory, often knee-jerk ways we encounter the heroes and villains of our culture, Klosterman illustrates the passionate but incomplete computations that have come to define American culture—and maybe even American morality.” I Wear the Black Hat is a rare example of serious criticism that’s instantly accessible and really, really funny.


  • Layers of Reality

    By G_R_Bonzo
    I'm one of the odd literary enthusiasts that prefer introspective looks of the actual than imaginatively creative scenarios. This is one of the finest opinionated collectives I've ever read and highly recommend it to anyone that just wants to open up their spiritual eye to what's actually around them.
  • Made me laugh out loud

    By Jori B
    I really enjoyed this book. I could totally relate and kept thinking "so true!" about everything I read. I was bummed when I finished it. I'm definitely looking up more of CK's work and will recommend this book to everyone.
  • Thank you sir, may i have another

    By tsierer
    I wait semi-patiently for Mr Klosterman's odd, yet educational, always hilarious books to come out. I always wish they were 500 pages long because I just love his writing style and what he has to say... Keep em coming, Chuck! We love you.
  • If you were born in 1970

    By Richledbetter
    ...you must read this book and this man's work. I'm not suggesting that you have to love the premise, intellectual approach or conclusions...just that there are so many opportunities to re-live your own formation as the 43 year old you are. I however do love the premise, intellectual analysis and conclusions of Mr. Klosterman's work. I love that he writes the way I think, especially during the golden years and hours spent giggling and tearing apart our lives and the world around us (often passing a three-foot graphix around. My own premise here is not to highlight one of the essays (2012 political campaign) or another (Clinton), but instead to just urge this read as a necessity to continue to form..."know thyself". Thanks Chuck.
  • A nice few hours of mind gymnastics

    By Stockman311
    Chuck has a style of writing that I really enjoy. Not always contrarian but always attempting to get to the truth amongst the never ending noise of myth and common ignorance. The only reason it doesn't get the 5 stars from me is the length of the book. I got to the end and said out loud, "That's it?"