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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.


I Wear the Black Hat
Average rating
3.5 / 5
this is what I want from Klosterman
December 1st, 2014
Some really interesting stuff on OJ, IT people, the guy who owned MegaUpload as well as Klosterman's relationship with his MLB nemesis. Klosterman is at his best when he's doing non-fiction and he's in his element for this one.
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1 review
March 8th, 2014
This book was very enjoyable, the conversational narrative and refreshingly honest wit will keep you immersed from beginning to end. Throughout the book I found myself thinking, wow I never thought about it like that, the type of paradigm flips that I find exciting in a read. It was thought provoking as well as incredibly humorous. The only thing I thought was a little strange at first was that the subjects seemed almost arbitrary and sequence of topics were non-linear. However it's all related to pop culture and Chuck Klosterman's thoughts on it which are definitely worth reading. It's a charming and fun read that I would recommend.
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1 review

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