Tom Wolfe, Pioneer of 'New Journalism', Dies at 88

Thomas Wolfe

Thomas Wolfe

Tom Wolfe had only one thing about him that was informal and unfussy in his later life, and that was his first name. He cemented his reputation with Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers and The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby, collections of his articles and essays.

Author Tom Wolfe, whose novels The Right Stuff and The Bonfire of the Vanities were made into feature films, has died at age 88.

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In 1973, Wolfe co-edited The New Journalism, an anthology that collected several of his pieces along with work from peers such as Joan Didion, Hunter S. Thompson, Norman Mailer, Truman Capote, and others.

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. From 1965 to 1981 Mr. Wolfe produced nine nonfiction books. Nine years later and in a more restrained style than some of his earlier works, he wrote The Right Stuff about the first seven United States astronauts and test pilot Chuck Yeager who came before them. "They should have gotten a job at a butcher's shop", said Gay Talese. In 1987, Wolfe published "The Bonfire of the Vanities", a novel that also later became a film. It was also adapted for the big screen by director Brian De Palma. He is remembered for his sense of humor and his penchant for needling sacred cows.

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Wolfe is survived by his wife and two children.

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