Best-Selling Writer Tom Wolfe Dies At Age 88

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I've been pleased by the stories of his personal kindness in my Twitter feed since he died on Monday, at age 88 - and a little surprised, given the multifaceted antagonism he enjoyed provoking for half a century.

Tom Wolfe, an early practitioner of "new journalism" who captured the mood and culture of the USA across five decades with books including The Bonfire of the Vanities, The Right Stuff and The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, has died at the age of 88, his agent said.

'He was a sweet and generous man, not just a great writer but a great soul, ' said Moneyball author Michael Lewis.

Wolfe started his writing career at the Springfield, Massachusetts, Union newspaper and also worked for the Washington Post, New York Herald-Tribune and New York Magazine.

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New Journalism mixed traditional journalism for stylized journalism, and "saturation reporting", where a reporter would shadow the subject, observes them over an extended period of time. In 1979, he published the book The Right Stuff about the Mercury Seven astronauts. His first novel, Bonfire of the Vanities, arrived in 1987, skewering the excesses of the money-hungry 1980s.

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.

Tom Wolfe had only one thing about him that was informal and unfussy in his later life, and that was his first name.

When I arrived at my next editor in chief job, at NY magazine, my fundamentalist vision was to make it as much as possible like the NY to which Mr. Wolfe (and Ms. Ephron) had been a founding contributor 20 years earlier. Wolfe is survived by his wife, Sheila, and two children, Alexandra and Tommy.

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