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

Author and Richmond native Tom Wolfe dies at 87 - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

- Tom Wolfe, whose 1979 book "The Right Stuff" chronicled the high-flying adventures of the first US astronauts, has died at the age of 88.

Wolfe, who lived in New York since 1962, had been hospitalized with an infection, his agent Lynn Nesbit told the New York Times. Wolfe worked at The Washington Post and the New York Herald Tribune, where he developed "New Journalism", a style marked by interior monologues and eccentric language.

Described as a chronicler and satirist of American culture, Wolfe believed that the only way to tell a great story was to go out and report it.

He was instantly recognisable as he strolled down Madison Avenue - a tall, slender, blue-eyed, still-boyish-looking man in his spotless three-piece vanilla bespoke suit, pinstriped silk shirt with a starched white high collar, bright handkerchief peeking from his breast pocket, watch on a fob, faux spats and white shoes.

Wolfe's style was not for everyone.

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"The Right Stuff" was adopted into a film in 1983.

Wolfe's first novel 'The Bonfire of the Vanities, ' was first serialised in Rolling Stone magazine and came out as a book three years later. The resulting bestseller, The Bonfire Of The Vanities, defined the late-1980s era of Wall Street ambition, power and money.

Wolfe didn't begin his novels with a character and a plot so much as an idea, Tom Vitale of NPR explained.

Wolfe complained that novelists did not bring enough reality to their books, and while bemoaning the state of American literature, offered himself as an exemplar of what it should be. He didn't just help me to become a writer.

Wolfe was born March 2, 1930 and grew up in Richmond, Virginia, the son of an agronomist father and an arts-oriented mother. He graduated Washington and Lee University, after he'd turned down Princeton University. They had two children.

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