Tom Wolfe: Lighter of the Bonfires

When the nouveau riche ran wild in the Manhattan of the 1980s, Tom Wolfe marked the moment and set the whole scene ablaze with his debut novel, Bonfire of the Vanities.

He coined the term ‘stratusphere’ and ‘the right stuff’. He broke down barriers in journalism, becoming personally involved in his stories.

I liked his writing because it captured society at a particular moment in time, sparing no detail and taking no prisoners.

I admired him because he did not use the internet. I envied his white suits, worn year round, and his high shirt collars. (His wife mentioned, years ago, that he dressed this way almost daily, whether he was going out or not. He had no concept, she said, of ‘casual.’)

He wrote. He left his mark. Thank you, Mr. Wolfe.

  • BGT



6 thoughts on “Tom Wolfe: Lighter of the Bonfires

  1. I just ordered two of your books to be given as a gift. Its for a friend of mine who is engaged to be married in the fall. I hope she enjoys reading them as much as I did. Thanks for writing your books and leaving a mark on us just as Tom Wolfe! Have a great day..

  2. I have not read any of his work, but reading what you’ve posted and a few different articles I looked up afterward makes him sound very interesting. Which of his novels would you suggest someone start with?

    (I’m all caught up!)


    1. Hi Kathleen! I’d suggest Bonfire of the Vanities for a glimpse at the go-go 80s on Wall Street. Then, to on to the Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test for the oh-no 60s. – BGT

  3. I read “The electric kool-aid acid test” when I was younger. As an adult I reflect on how I am not happy with how the book was received by youth in particular the perception that it condoned drug usage. I will never forget Tom Wolfe’s recounting of a person that took the drugs and ended up in a mental hospital. This was a unique period in history and one that is encapsulated by Tom Wolfe. My hope is that this particular work doesn’t become a “fear and loathing in Las Vegas” rather, something that Nancy Reagan would enjoy. To all the youth who read this…”just say no.”

    1. Very true. For every person I hear about who ‘found themselves’ doing LSD or some other drug, there’s always this downside risk. Thanks, Dario. Much appreciated. – BGT

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