Tom Wolfe

Tom Wolfe

Thomas Kennerly Wolfe Jr. (1930 – 2018) was an American writer. He was one of the pioneers of ‘new journalism’ which used a range of literary techniques from fiction to make nonfiction more personal. In The Right Stuff, Wolfe wrote about the space race against the Soviet Union from the point of view of the American astronauts and their families. In 1987, he published his first and best-known novel, The Bonfire of the Vanities, a satire of 1980s New York which was later turned into a movie with Tom Hanks and Melanie Griffith.

Before he died, in 2010, we asked Tom Wolfe if he would do a Five Books interview with us on American journalism, to which he replied:

“You compliment me by your very invitation! But I can’t take on any interviews—not even short ones, because I wind up being the one who talks and talks . . . and talks and talks—until I complete the book I’m working on.

Incidentally, the best work on contemporary journalism I know of is a passage in one of Marshall McLuhan’s books of the late 1960s in which he said—don’t try to follow the logic, if any, just note the accuracy of the prediction—that television had altered the “sensory balance” of the young and turned them “tribal” (as I said, don’t try . . . don’t try). If you hand a tribesman some sort of news in printed form, he will assume it’s a trick. He will only believe what people tell him; i.e., rumors. And there you have it: the blogosphere.”

Books by Tom Wolfe

Interviews where books by Tom Wolfe were recommended

The Best Physics Books for Teenagers, recommended by Kate Lee

What are the best books for getting a teenager into physics? Kate Lee, a physics teacher at St Paul’s Girls School, recommends books about NASA, space travel, and the Big Bang—and puzzles the question of why it is so hard for young women to stay in physics as a profession.

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