Tom Wolfe

Date Of Birth:
2 March 1931
Date Of Death:
14 May 2018
Place Of Birth:
Richmond, Virginia
Best Known As:
The author of 'The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test' and 'The Bonfire of the Vanities'
Tom Wolfe was the New York journalist who wrote The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (1968) and The Right Stuff (1979), then turned to writing novels, including The Bonfire of the Vanities (1987). A Virginian with a doctorate in American Studies from Yale, Wolfe began his career writing for newspapers in 1957. By 1959 he was with The Washington Post, but he left in 1962 for New York City. There Wolfe began writing for Esquire magazine, and by 1965 published his first collection of essays, The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby. Then he wrote about Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters in The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (1968), a bestseller that stands as an example of New Journalism, an approach that involved a reporter's personal involvement and techniques borrowed from fiction. Wolfe himself was easily recognized in public, thanks to his steady sartorial choice of an all-white suit and hat. With a lively writing style, he critiqued American pop culture, modern art and architecture, and New York society. In his 50s and following the huge success of The Right Stuff (also made into an Oscar-winning movie), Wolfe switched gears and began writing fiction. His novels were hits and brought fame and fortune, if not universal love from the critics. His other novels include A Man in Full (1998), I Am Charlotte Simmons (2004) and Back to Blood (2012).
Extra Credit

Authors John Updike, John Irving and Norman Mailer sneered at Tom Wolfe’s second novel, A Man in Full, after its publication, and Wolfe fought back with an essay, “My Three Stooges,” to the wide-eyed delight of his audience… Thomas Wolfe was a college baseball pitcher who tried out for the New York Giants but didn’t make the team.

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