Tom Wolfe, Best-Selling Author and Innovative Journalist, Dies at 88

  • Tom Wolfe, Best-Selling Author and Innovative Journalist, Dies at 88

Tom Wolfe, Best-Selling Author and Innovative Journalist, Dies at 88

His notable works include "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test", "The Right Stuff", "The Last American Hero", and "The Bonfire of the Vanities", the last three of which were adapted into movies. Newsy confirmed through his agent Lynn Nesbit that he was 88.

Wolfe then enrolled in Washington and Lee University.

Despite earning a Ph.D., Wolfe set out on a career in journalism, working as a reporter at the Springfield Union in MA and later at 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. "I carried a copy of Electric Acid Kool-aid Test with me throughout high school, dazzled by the idea that you could really write like that about real things". Nine years later and in a more restrained style than some of his earlier works, he wrote "The Right Stuff" about the first seven US astronauts and test pilot Chuck Yeager who came before them. 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".

He was present at the birth of what was known as "new journalism", a loose style that featured lots of dialogue and detail and allowed reporters to narrate and develop characters in a way more often associated with fiction. The film version of "The Right Stuff", about the Mercury Seven astronauts, was directed by Philip Kaufman in 1983.

Trained as a journalist, Wolfe was equally adept at non-fiction and fiction in a career that spanned over half a century. "He goes out and writes a best-selling novel".

In his use of novelistic techniques in his nonfiction, Wolfe, beginning in the 1960s, helped create the enormously influential hybrid known as New Journalism.

More recently, Wolfe published "I Am Charlotte Simmons" (2004) and "Back to Blood" (2013).

Even more controversial was Wolfe's 1975 book on the American art world, "The Painted Word", which outraged many artists.