Tom Wolfe, author and pioneer of new journalism, dead at 88

Tom Wolfe, author and pioneer of new journalism, dead at 88

Tom Wolfe, the groundbreaking journalist and novelist, whose bestselling works included The Bonfire of the Vanities and The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, passed away Monday in a Manhattan hospital. Nesbit said Wolfe died after he was hospitalized with an infection.

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.

Wolfe was well known for being a stylish dresser, often photographed in his trademark white suit. In a statement given to the Wall Street Journal, Wolfe's agent Lynn Nesbit said, "He is not just an American icon, but he had a huge worldwide literary reputation". He moved to New York join the New York Herald-Tribune in in 1962.

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".

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Quickly developing an unconventional style, he was much-recognised for his work, winning an award from The Newspaper Guild for foreign reporting in Cuba in 1961 and also scooping the Guild's award for humour. He later wrote books, including The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby, The Pump House Gang, and The Right Stuff, among many others. "They called my brilliant manuscript "journalistic" and 'reactionary, ' which means I must go through with a blue pencil and strike out all the laughs and anti-Red passages and slip in a little liberal merde, so to speak, just to sweeten it".

In his space-race classic The Right Stuff - the American Book Award victor - he combined the emotional impact of a novel with the factual foundation of hard reporting.

Wolfe was born March 2, 1931 and grew up in Richmond, Virginia, the son of an agronomist father and an arts-oriented mother. Since childhood, Tom Wolfe dreamed of becoming a writer.

If you're looking for a glimpse into the mind of Tom Wolfe, look no further than the New York Public Library. He was 88 years old. He is survived by his wife Sheila, and their two children, Alexandra and Tommy.