Legendary Author Tom Wolfe Dead At 87

Legendary Author Tom Wolfe Dead At 87

Tom Wolfe, author of Bonfire of the Vanities, has passed away.

Wolfe died in a Manhattan hospital on Monday, his agent Lynn Nesbit confirmed.

Born in Richmond, Va., Wolfe attended Washington and Lee University and went on to get his PhD at Yale before becoming a reporter.

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.

It followed the greed, racism and social classes of New York City in the 1980s.

After graduating, Wolfe started working at The Washington Post.

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Speaking about Wolfe's style, writer Joseph Epstein wrote in The New Republic: "His prose style is normally shotgun baroque, sometimes edging over into machine-gun rococo, as in his article on Las Vegas which begins by repeating the word "hernia" 57 times". He first came to wide notice with the 1968 novel The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, an account of counterculture icon Ken Kesey and friends, aka the Merry Pranksters, traveling the country in their painted bus and the adventures they experienced.

Wolfe was known for his fiction and nonfiction works, like "The Bonfire of the Vanities" and "The Right Stuff".

In 1979, he published his bestseller "The Right Stuff" about Project Mercury astronauts in the NASA space program and the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Before moving to NY in the 60s, Wolfe worked as a reporter at the Springfield Union in MA and as the Latin American correspondent for The Washington Post. It took him 11 years to finish his second novel, A Man in Full, which was published in 1998.

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 US astronauts and their test pilot predecessors.

Wolfe is survived by Sheila Wolfe, his wife of almost 40 years; a son, Tommy Wolfe, and a daughter, Alexandra Wolfe.

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