The Man in White: Remembering Tom Wolfe

The Man in White: Remembering Tom Wolfe

Wolfe's other books include The Pump House Gang, Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers, The Painted Word and Mauve Gloves & Madmen, Clutter & Vine, which includes his well-known essay about the Me Decade.

In 1979, he penned "The Right Stuff", which documented the 15-year span of America's first space program and highlighted Mercury astronauts, including John Glenn and Alan Shepard.

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. In frustration, he sent his editor a letter with his thoughts and reportage. These, too, were part of Wolfe's style. Wolfe was so cash-strapped at the time that he kept the suit and wore it during the winter, causing no shortage of double takes in an era when people really didn't wear white after Labor Day.

"The right stuff" described the intangible characteristics of the first USA astronauts and test pilots.

He was a pioneer of New Journalism, which developed in the 1960s and 1970s, a literary style known written from a subjective perspective as opposed to more traditional objective journalism.

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Wolfe won the Bad Sex in Fiction prize in 2004 for I Am Charlotte Simmons and was also shortlisted in 2012 for Back to Blood.

A contrarian with a satirical bent, Wolfe's prose pyrotechnics and oft-startling turns-of-phrase found their way into the pop-culture lexicon and cemented Wolfe as one of the finest writers of his generation. That kindled rivalries with contemporaries Norman Mailer and John Updike, who Wolfe referred to as "two old piles of bones". Wolfe was instantly recognizable in his trademark white suit, which he started wearing nearly year round in 1962.

In 1951 he graduated from Washington and Lee University, and in 1957 received his PhD in Yelsk University, majoring in American studies.

Event Co-Chair Tom Wolfe and wife Sheila Wolfe attend the 2015 Library Lions Benefit on November 2, 2015 in New York City.