Tom Wolfe, 1931 - 2018

May 15, 2018 | Wendy

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Tom Wolfe at the White House
Author Tom Wolfe participates in the White House Salute to American Authors hosted by Laura Bush, Monday, March 22, 2004. White House Photo by Susan Sterner. 

Tom Wolfe, author of "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test", "The Right Stuff" and "Bonfire of the Vanities", has died, aged 87. 

Wolfe's 1973 anthology, "The New Journalism", defined an era in news reporting. It featured work that combined literary techniques with traditional journalism, by writers including Truman Capote, Hunter S. Thompson and Joan Didion. 

He contributed extensively to the genre he defined. "Acid Test" (1968), which followed the psychedelic journey of countercultural collective the Merry Pranksters, and "The Right Stuff" (1979), an epic investigation into the lives of astronauts, were both cultural touchstones that helped to define their respective eras. 

Although the New Journalism was Wolfe's response to the decline of the American novel, he also wrote several novels himself. His first two, The Bonfire of the Vanities (1987),  and A Man in Full (1998), captured the racial tension and greed of 1980s America, and the subsequent racial tension and collapse into debt of 1990s America, in a way that feels especially relevant now.

Tom Wolfe books available at Toronto Public Library:

The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby  by Tom Wolfe

"The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine Flake Streamline Baby" by Tom Wolfe (1965)


The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test  by Tom Wolfe

"The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test", by Tom Wolfe (1968)


Radical Chic and Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers  by Tom Wolfe

"Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flack Catchers" by Tom Wolfe (1970)


Mauve Gloves and Madmen  Clutter and Vine by Tom Wolfe

"Mauve Gloves & Madmen, Clutter & Vine" by Tom Wolfe (1976)


  The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe

"The Right Stuff" by Tom Wolfe (1979)


  In Our Time by Tom Wolfe

"In Our Time", by Tom Wolfe (1980)


  From Bauhaus to Our House by Tom Wolfe

"From Bauhaus to Our House", by Tom Wolfe (1981)


   The Purple Decades A Reader by Tom Wolfe

"The Purple Decades: A Reader" by Tom Wolfe (1982)


  The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe

The Bonfire of the Vanities (1987)


 A Man in Full by Tom Wolfe

"A Man in Full" by Tom Wolfe (1998)


 Hooking Up  by Tom Wolfe

"Hooking Up" by Tom Wolfe (2000)


I Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe

"I Am Charlotte Simmons" by Tom Wolfe (2004)


  Back to Blood by Tom Wolfe

"Back to Blood" by Tom Wolfe (2012)


The Kingdom of Speech  by Tom Wolfe

"The Kingdom of Speech" by Tom Wolfe (2016)