Author and Richmond native Tom Wolfe dies at 87

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The nonfiction author and novelist, who wrote a number of best-sellers over a career that spanned decades, was among the writers credited with creating "New Journalism", an American literary movement in the 1960s and 1970s that pushed the limits of traditional journalism and nonfiction writing.

Wolfe, whose other titles include the essay collection "The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby" and the 1987 satirical novel "The Bonfire of the Vanities", gave rise to "New Journalism", a style of non-fiction that placed truth before fact and embraced a subjective perspective. He went on to write "The Right Stuff" about the Mercury space program.

"I started working on newspapers as soon as I left school - graduate school, actually".

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By then he had already published a number of ground-breaking books of his own, including "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test", in which Wolfe provided a psychedelic chronicle of Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters as they experimented with LSD. His last published book was 2016's "The Kingdom of Speech", which challenged society's understanding of Darwinism. Wolfe slammed both Charles Darwin and linguist Noam Chomsky in the book. 'He didn't just help me to become a writer, he did it with pleasure'.

Tom Wolfe had only one thing about him that was informal and unfussy in his later life, and that was his first name. It was made into a film in 1983 that lost money at the box office - perhaps due to its more than three-hour run time - but was a critical and Oscar-winning hit that was included in the Library of Congress' National Film Registry five years ago.

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