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The bonfire of the vanities
Wolfe, Tom.
Adult Fiction

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Tom Wolfe is the author of more than a dozen books, among them such contemporary classics as The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, The Right Stuff, The Bonfire of the Vanities, and A Man in Full. A Native of Richmond, Virginia, he earned his B. A. at Washington and Lee University and a Ph. D. in American studies at Yale. He lives in New York City. (Publisher Provided) Tom Wolfe was born March 2, 1931 in Richmond, Virginia. He received his Bachelor's from Washington and Lee in 1951 and his Ph.D in American Studies from Yale in 1957. In December 1956, he took a job as a reporter on the Springfield Union. For six months in 1960 he served as The Washington Post's Latin American correspondent and won the Washington Newspaper Guild's foreign news prize for his coverage of Cuba. In 1962 he became a reporter for the New York Herald Tribune and, in addition, one of the two staff writers of New York magazine, which began as the Herald Tribune's Sunday supplement. While still a daily reporter for the Herald Tribune, he completed his first book, a collection of articles about the flamboyant Sixties written for New York and Esquire and published in 1965 as The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby. The book became a bestseller and established Wolfe as a leading figure in the literary experiments in nonfiction that became known as the New Journalism. In November 1965, there was a one-man exhibition of his sketches, followed by another in 1974. In 1968 he published two bestsellers on the same day: The Pump House Gang, made up of more articles about life in the Sixties, and The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, a nonfiction story of the hippie era. In 1970 he published Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers, a highly controversial book about racial friction in the United States. Even more controversial was Wolfe's 1975 book on the American art world, The Painted Word. In 1976 he published another collection, Mauve Gloves & Madmen, Clutter & Vine, which included his well-known essay "The Me Decade and the Third Great Awakening." In 1979 Wolfe completed a book he had worked on for more than six years, an account of the rocket airplane experiments of the post-World War II era and the early space program. The Right Stuff became a bestseller and 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. Wolfe had been illustrating his own work in newspapers and magazines since the 1950s, and in 1977, he began doing a monthly illustrated feature for Harper's magazine called "In Our Time". The book, In Our Time, published in 1980, featured these drawings and many others. In 1981 he wrote a companion to The Painted Word entitled From Bauhaus to Our House, about the world of American architecture. In 1984 and 1985 Wolfe wrote his first novel, The Bonfire of the Vanities, in serial form against a deadline of every two weeks for Rolling Stone magazine. It came out in book form in 1987. A story of the money-feverish 1980s in New York, The Bonfire of the Vanities was number one of the New York Times bestseller list for two months and remained on the list for more than a year, selling over 800,000 copies in hardcover. It also became the number-one bestselling paperback, with sales above two million, and was recognized as the essential novel of America in the 1980s. In 1989 Wolfe outraged the literacy community with an essay in Harper's magazine called "Stalking the Billion-footed Beast." In 1996, Wolfe wrote the novella "Ambush at Fort Bragg" as a two-part series for Rolling Stone. In 1997 it was published as a book in France and Spain and as an audiotape in the United States. The novel, A Man in Full, was published in November of 1998, and headed the New York Times bestseller list for ten weeks and selling nearly 1.4 million copies in hardcover. The book's tremendous commercial success, its enthusiastic welcome by reviewers, and Wolfe's appearance on the cover of Time magazine, along with his claim that his sort of detailed realism was the future of the American novel, if it was going to have one, provoked a furious reaction among other American novelists, notably John Updike, Norman Mailer, and John Irving. Wolfe has also coined several phrases, including "The Me Decade," "Master of the Universe," "Radical Chic," and "The Right Stuff." (Bowker Author Biography)

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