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The Right Stuff Author Tom Wolfe Dies at 88

16 May 2018
The Right Stuff Author Tom Wolfe Dies at 88

Other notable works from Wolfe include 1968's The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test-detailing Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters' journey across America-and 1979's The Right Stuff, about the first astronauts.

Author Tom Wolfe at the Hay literary festival in Hay-on-Wye, UK.

Wolfe's longtime agent Lynn Nesbit confirmed the writer's death to ABC News.

Born and Raised in Richmond, Virginia, to an agronomist father and a mother who was a landscape architect, Wolfe traced his love for literature to the books his parents kept on their bookshelves. He graduated Washington and Lee University, after he'd turned down Princeton University. He pioneered a literary style of non-fiction that would eventually become known as New Journalism and alongside contemporaries like Truman Capote, Norman Mailer, and Hunter S. Thompson upended conventional journalistic and nonfiction techniques with long-form pieces from a deeply immersed perspective. The author and journalist started as a regional newspaper reporter at Massachusetts' Springfield Union before moving onto The Washington Post.

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 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.

Wolfe's 1979 bestseller "The Right Stuff" focused on the USA astronauts involved in the space race with the Soviet Union.

Even more controversial was Wolfe's 1975 book on the American art world, "The Painted Word", which outraged many artists.

Wolfe became a major figure in the NY social scene, identified with his distinct personal style - typified by a white, 3-piece suit. Wolfe's first fiction novel, The Bonfire of the Vanities, was published in 1987.