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Tom Wolfe (1) (1930–2018)

Author of The Bonfire of the Vanities

For other authors named Tom Wolfe, see the disambiguation page.

45+ Works 36,824 Members 540 Reviews 99 Favorited

About the Author

Thomas Kennerly Wolfe Jr. was born in Richmond, Virginia on March 2, 1930. He received bachelor's degree in English from Washington and Lee University in 1951 and a Ph.D in American studies from Yale University in 1957. He started his journalism career as a general-assignment reporter at The show more Springfield Union. While he was working for The Washington Post, he was assigned to cover Latin America and won the Washington Newspaper Guild's foreign news prize for a series on Cuba in 1961. In 1962, he became a reporter for the New York Herald Tribune and a staff writer for New York magazine. His work also appeared in Harper's and Esquire. His first book, a collection of articles about the flamboyant Sixties written for New York and Esquire entitled The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby, was published in 1968. His other collections included Radical Chic and Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers and Hooking Up. His non-fiction works included The Pump House Gang; The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test; The Painted Word; Mauve Gloves and Madmen, Clutter and Vine; In Our Time; and From Bauhaus to Our House. The Right Stuff won the American Book Award for nonfiction, the National Institute of Arts and Letters Harold Vursell Award for prose style, and the Columbia Journalism Award. It was adapted into a film in 1983. His fiction books included The Bonfire of the Vanities, Ambush at Fort Bragg, A Man in Full, The Kingdom of Speech, I Am Charlotte Simmons, and Back to Blood. He was also a contributing artist at Harper's from 1978 to 1981. Many of his illustrations were collected in In Our Time. He died on May 14, 2018 at the age of 88. (Bowker Author Biography) show less


Works by Tom Wolfe

The Bonfire of the Vanities (1987) 8,933 copies
The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (1968) 6,335 copies
The Right Stuff (1979) 4,659 copies
A Man in Full (1998) 4,517 copies
I Am Charlotte Simmons (2004) 3,873 copies
Hooking Up (2000) 1,040 copies
Back to Blood (2012) 975 copies
The Painted Word (1975) — Author; Illustrator, some editions — 942 copies
The Pump House Gang (1968) 505 copies
Mauve Gloves & Madmen, Clutter & Vine (1976) — Author; Illustrator, some editions — 338 copies
The New Journalism (1973) — Editor; Contributor — 334 copies
The Kingdom of Speech (2016) 291 copies
The Purple Decades (1982) — Illustrator, some editions — 271 copies
Ambush at Fort Bragg (1997) 146 copies
In Our Time (1980) — Illustrator, some editions — 122 copies
Frederick Hart: Sculptor (1995) — Contributor — 20 copies
Où est votre stylo ? (2016) 9 copies
Mid-Atlantic Man (1969) 3 copies
Wolfe Tom 2 copies
il deceennio dell'io (2013) 2 copies
Underneath the I-Beams (1981) 1 copy

Associated Works

The Best American Essays of the Century (2000) — Contributor — 775 copies
Gonzo: The Life of Hunter S. Thompson (2007) — Contributor — 601 copies
Reporting Vietnam: American Journalism 1959-1969, Volume 1 (1998) — Contributor — 325 copies
The Top Ten: Writers Pick Their Favorite Books (1997) — Contributor — 304 copies
The Best of Modern Humor (1983) — Contributor — 292 copies
Writing New York: A Literary Anthology (1998) — Contributor — 278 copies
Three Novels : Mildred Pierce; Double Indemnity; The Postman Always Rings Twice; (1934) — Introduction, some editions — 211 copies
Russell Baker's Book of American Humor (1993) — Contributor — 210 copies
The Best American Sports Writing of the Century (1999) — Contributor — 191 copies
Photographs (1983) — Introduction — 179 copies
The Best American Essays 1990 (1990) — Contributor — 117 copies
On the Firing Line: The Public Life of Our Public Figures (1989) — Contributor — 112 copies
The Best American Essays 1987 (1987) — Contributor — 85 copies
Going Downtown: The War Against Hanoi and Washington (1988) — Foreword, some editions — 77 copies
Malaparte: A House Like Me (1999) — Foreword — 51 copies
The Best American Magazine Writing 2000 (2000) — Contributor — 26 copies
Color Photographs (1976) 18 copies
I'm a Little Special (1999) — Contributor — 15 copies
Sky High: Stories of Survival from Air to Space (2002) — Contributor — 15 copies
Bill Cunningham New York [2010 film] (2011) — Actor — 9 copies
À la Mode: On the Social Psychology of Fashion (1973) — Introduction, some editions — 8 copies
Speed: Stories of Survival from Behind the Wheel (2002) — Contributor — 6 copies


1960s (255) 20th century (360) American (348) American fiction (118) American history (157) American literature (502) anthology (331) architecture (294) art (208) astronauts (128) biography (263) college (118) counterculture (170) drugs (204) essays (808) fiction (3,204) first edition (128) hippies (129) history (671) humor (283) journalism (565) Library of America (129) literature (452) LSD (118) new journalism (196) New York (315) New York City (125) non-fiction (1,524) novel (514) own (183) politics (120) read (382) Roman (120) satire (241) social commentary (165) space (226) to-read (1,359) Tom Wolfe (209) unread (222) USA (310)

Common Knowledge

Canonical name
Wolfe, Tom
Legal name
Wolfe, Thomas Kennerly, Jr.
Date of death
Richmond, Virginia, USA
Place of death
New York, New York, USA
Cause of death
antibiotic-resistant infection
Places of residence
Richmond, Virginia, USA
New York, New York, USA
St. Christopher's School
Washington and Lee University (BA|English|1951)
Yale University (PhD|American Studies|1957)
baseball player
artist (show all 7)
social commentator
Springfield Union
The Washington Post
New York Herald Tribune
New Journalism
Rolling Stone (show all 7)
Harper's Magazine
Awards and honors
Jefferson Lecture (2006)
Washington Newspaper Guild Award ( [1961])
Society of Magazine Writers Award for Excellence (1970)
National Humanities Medal (2001)
Frank Luther Mott Research Award (1973)
John Dos Passos Award (1984) (show all 17)
Virginia Laureate for Literature (1977)
Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award of the American Institute of Arts and Letters (1980)
Art History Citation (National Sculpture Society ∙ 1980)
Washington Irving Medal for Literary Excellence (1986)
St. Louis Literary Award (1990)
National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters (2010)
Gari Melchers Medal (1986)
Benjamin Pierce Cheney Medal (Eastern Washington University ∙ 1986)
Chicago Tribune Literary Prize for Lifetime Achievement (2003)
Golden Plate Award (American Academy of Achievement, 2005)
Carl Sandburg Literary Award (2008)
Lynn Nesbit (Janklow and Nesbit)



Bonfire of the Vanities: Tom Wolfe in Someone explain it to me... (March 2021)


You’re either on the bus or off the bus.

This novel is unique. I can appreciate the efforts and how it’s written. Few authors can write like this and do it well. That being said, it was hard to focus on at times.

You’re either on the bus or off the bus...and I guess I’m just off the bus.
RochelleJones | 74 other reviews | Apr 5, 2024 |
Page 227, said by Martha Croker: Here I am at fifty-three, trying to start over as a woman--in this ludicrous factory for boys with breasts!

Page 259, said by Harry Zale: Lenin had it easy. He didn't have to clean after a shithead like Charlie Croker.
Lokileest | 45 other reviews | Apr 2, 2024 |
Highly enjoyable critique of the origin and content (Flatness!!) of Abstract Expressionism and other Modern Art schools. No more trouble to read than a lengthy essay.
lelandleslie | 17 other reviews | Feb 24, 2024 |
Finally finished the bastard---it was a real slog. I'm sure the writing is some people's cup of tea, but not mine.

The most interesting part of it, and the only part that has stayed with me strongly, was the description of how it all went sour---the point where the civil rights movement stopped being cool and was dropped in favor of drugs. Definitely a warning.
caedocyon | 74 other reviews | Feb 22, 2024 |


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Books (1)


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