Best-selling author Tom Wolfe dies at 88

17 May, 2018, 05:07 | Author: Denise Dawson
  • Tom Wolfe

The man behind bestsellers "The Bonfire of the Vanities" and "The Right Stuff" passed away in Manhattan, New York on Monday, May 14.

Wolfe's agent Lynn Nesbit confirmed to the Associated Press that Wolfe died of an infection in a New York City hospital.

A pioneer of new journalism, Wolfe wove ornate tapestries through his fervent prosaic style and vivid storytelling techniques.

The nonfiction author and novelist, who wrote a number of best-sellers over a career that spanned decades, was among the writers credited with creating "New Journalism", an American literary movement in the 1960s and 1970s that pushed the limits of traditional journalism and nonfiction writing.

One of the genre's defining moments came when Wolfe was having trouble meeting a deadline for a 1964 magazine story on the hot-rod vehicle culture.

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In 1979, he published The Right Stuff, a portrait of American heroism, viewed through the exploits of military test pilots and astronauts known as the Mercury Seven, which was made into a successful movie in 1983.

Wolfe's first book, The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby, published in 1965, was born out of a collection of articles about the 1960s he wrote for Esquire and NY magazines. Bonfire, a best-seller that was a much-revised version of a serial he wrote for Rolling Stone, portrayed class struggles in New York City against a backdrop of Wall Street ambition, racial stress and yellow journalism.

If you're looking for a glimpse into the mind of Tom Wolfe, look no further than the New York Public Library. "I never exchanged a cross word with him in our many years of working together". He didn't just help me to become a writer.

Wolfe was well known for being a stylish dresser, often photographed in his trademark white suit.

Born in Richmond, Virginia, on March 2, 1930, Wolfe was a star baseball player at his high school and also edited its newspaper. In a 1976 NY cover article he coined "the "Me" Decade" to describe the 1970s, which I'd misremembered as some trifling swipe at yuppie narcissism. They had two children.

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