Tom Wolfe was already a best-selling author of nonfiction when he took modern American novelists to task in print for failing to mine the riches of the life around them. His critics claimed that the kind of social novel he proposed in his essay, "Stalking the Billion-Footed Beast," was no longer possible, but Wolfe proved them wrong with his own first work of fiction, The Bonfire of the Vanities. A runaway best-seller, it is now recognized as the classic literary account of New York City in the boom years of the 1980s.
The foremost pioneer of the New Journalism, Wolfe revolutionized American writing in the 1960s, documenting the emerging counterculture in books and essays such as The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine Flake Streamline Baby and The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. At the end of the '70s, he staked new ground with his provocative critiques of modern art and architecture: The Painted Word and From Bauhaus to Our House. In The Right Stuff, he brought to life the untold story of America's first astronauts and made a national hero of test pilot Chuck Yeager.
Wolfe has continued to document the ever-changing manners and mores of American society in his novels, including the best-seller A Man in Full, and his latest, I Am Charlotte Simmons, an exploration of contemporary university life. Readers snap his books off the shelves, and critics hail him as a unique literary stylist and the premier chronicler of the postmodern era.