Journalist, author, and influencer Tom Wolfe has died following a hospital stay for an infection. He was 88 years old when he passed on Monday.
Wolfe started as a reporter at the Springfield (Massachusetts) Union before moving onto the Washington Post. He moved to New York in 1962 to join the New York Herald-Tribune and remained in the city for the rest of his life.
He was known as a pioneer of a literary style in nonfiction that became known as New Journalism. It was a long-form of writing in which writers deeply immersed themselves in the subject they were writing about. The style relied on rich and detailed description that evoked a more literary style of prose than found in typical non-fiction works.
He became a leader in the field. Wolfe edited a volume of work by himself and other prominent writers of the era, including Truman Capote, Joan Didion, Hunter S. Thompson, Norman Mailer, George Plimpton, titled “The New Journalism.”
By then he had already published a number of ground-breaking books of his own, including “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test,” in which Wolfe provided a psychedelic chronicle of Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters as they experimented with LSD. He went on to write “The Right Stuff” about the Mercury space program.
He then moved onto his first work of fiction, “The Bonfire of the Vanities” a seminal tale of 1980s New York involving a Wall Street banker, a Bronx high school student, and a tabloid reporter. He wrote the work as a series of stories written on deadline every two weeks for Rolling Stone in 1984 and 1985. It was later published in book form in 1987.
Remembrances have flooded the media.
If you haven't read any Tom Wolfe, you've been missing out. A suggested place to start:
1) The Right Stuff
2) The Bonfire of the Vanities
3) Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers
4) The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) May 15, 2018
I'd never met Tom Wolfe when my editor at the time, Adam Bellow, sent him the manuscript of my first book. Wolfe owed me nothing and got grief for his endorsement (as he later told me, with no regret and much amusement). It was one of the highlights of my career. pic.twitter.com/MZ0jLrtKY6
— Jonah Goldberg (@JonahNRO) May 15, 2018
Tom Wolfe died. Let’s re-read a brief portion of The Right Stuff together.
This is both how to write and how to view the nature of your existence on earth. pic.twitter.com/EkGtwDRxx1
— Jeff Macke (@JeffMacke) May 15, 2018
If you've never read Tom Wolfe's "Radical Chic" and "Mau-Mauing The Flak Catchers," you've missed out. Go get it today and remember the best nonfiction writer of the latter half of the 20th century. https://t.co/sX7PUnmssS
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) May 15, 2018
Tom Wolfe envisioned a Donald Trump before the actual one came into tabloid being. RIP https://t.co/ATVHHKuuR2
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) May 15, 2018
Firing Line with William F. Buckley Jr.: Tom Wolfe and The Painted Word https://t.co/RwTVGTCJdR
— Christopher J. Scalia (@cjscalia) May 15, 2018
RIP The world of words loses a master. New Journalism writer Tom Wolfe dies. Author of The Right Stuff, Bonfire of the Vanities and my fave The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby was 87. pic.twitter.com/NJw0GXbvrH
— Andrew Malcolm (@AHMalcolm) May 15, 2018
The highest compliment I can pay Tom Wolfe as a writer is that I had no idea he’d earned a Ph.D. from Yale. https://t.co/NY3JnEL7as
— Daniel W. Drezner (@dandrezner) May 15, 2018
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