The Right Stuff Author Tom Wolfe Dies at 88

The Right Stuff Author Tom Wolfe Dies at 88

On "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test", our reviewer wrote, "it is not simply the best book on the hippies, it is the essential book".

Wolfe was born March 2nd, 1930 in Richmond, attended St. Christopher's - an all-boys Episcopal school - and went enrolled at Washington & Lee University.

Ever the dandy in wide-lapeled, tailored suits replete with a Panama hat, Wolfe started his writing career as a reporter at the Springfield Union in MA before moving on to The Washington Post. For Wolfe, the techniques a writer used in fiction and nonfiction were interchangeable, and he proved that assumption repeatedly with a host of captivating essays in magazines like The New Yorker, Esquire, and Harper's. 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.

The book earned Wolfe a nomination for the National Book Award before the first copy of the 1.2 million first-run printing was sold, CNN said.

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Wolfe came up with "radical chic" to brand pretentious liberals, the "me decade" to sum up the self-indulgence of the 1970s and the "right stuff" to quantify intangible characteristics of the first United States astronauts and their test pilot predecessors. He "already was celebrated for his journalism and nonfiction when, "What does he do?" In 1987, Wolfe published "The Bonfire of the Vanities", a novel that also later became a film.

Wolfe critiqued art critics in The Painted Word in 1975, and the architectural decline in From Bauhaus to Our House in 1981.

Wolfe, who coined the term "the me decade" for the 1970s and "radical chic", was also known for the distinctive tailored white suits he started wearing in 1962.

He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Sheila, daughter Alexandra Wolfe, 37, a writer for the The Wall Street Journal and son Tommy, 32, a sculptor.

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