'The Bonfire of the Vanities' Revisited with Alvin Hall

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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.