Wolfe continued to create sensation when in 1968 he published two bestsellers on the same day: The Pump House Gang, composed of articles about life in the sixties, and The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, a nonfiction story of a LSD-fueled, cross-country trip in the summer of 1964 aboard a psychedelic-painted school bus during the hippie era. His highly controversial book about racial friction in the United States, Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers, was published in 1970. The book described a party, given by Leonard Bernstein for the Black Panthers—formed in 1966 by African Americans to promote black power and self-defense—in his Park Avenue duplex, juxtaposed with a portrayal of the inner workings of the government’s poverty program.
In 1979, a year after his marriage to Sheila Berger—art director of Harper’s Magazine—Wolfe completed a book he had been at work on for more than six years. The book recounted the early American space program and its goal, set by President Kennedy, of landing a man on the moon before Soviet Russia. This work focused on the psychology of the rocket-plane pilots and the astronauts, and the competition between them. The book, The Right Stuff, became a best-seller and won the American Book Award for nonfiction, the National Institute of Arts and Letters award for prose style, and the Columbia Journalism Award. In 1983, the work formed the basis of a feature film starring Sam Shepherd and Dennis Quaid.
When I refer to creative nonfiction, I include memoir (autobiography), and documentary drama, a term more often used in relation to film, as in "Hoop Dreams," which captures the lives of two inner-city high school basketball players over a six-year period. Much of what is generically referred to as "literary journalism" or in the past, "new journalism," can be classified as creative nonfiction. Although it is the current vogue in the world of writing today, the combination of creative nonfiction as a form of writing and immersion as a method of research has a long history. George Orwell's famous essay, "Shooting an Elephant" combines personal experience and high quality literary writing techniques. The Daniel DeFoe classic, "Robinson Crusoe," is based upon a true story of a physician who was marooned on a desert island. Ernest Hemingway's paean to bullfighting, "Death in the Afternoon," comes under the creative nonfiction umbrella, as does Tom Wolfe's, "The Right Stuff," which was made into an award-winning film. Other well-known creative nonfiction writers, who may utilize immersion techniques include John McPhee ("Coming Into the Country"), Tracy Kidder ("House"), Diane Ackerman ("A Natural History of the Senses") and Pulitzer Prize winner Annie Dillard ("Pilgrim at Tinker Creek"), to name only a few of the many authors who have contributed to this burgeoning genre.
Now Schiller is revisiting the era through a that combines his most memorable photos of the era with an abridged version of Tom Wolfe's New Journalism classic the seminal text on The Merry Pranksters.
Thomas ConnerThomas HowardThomas LandessThomas SowellThomas WestTom CottonTom McClintockTom ThrockmortonTom WolfeTony SnowVaclav KlausVictor Davis HansonVictor HermanVirginia GilderWade F HornWalter BernsWalter OlsonWalter WilliamsWard ConnerlyWarren BrookesWendy ShalitWilfred McClayWilliam AllenWilliam BallWilliam BennettWilliam CampbellWilliam DennisWilliam Kirk KilpatrickWilliam KristolWilliam McGurnWilliam PendleyWilliam RalstonWilliam RaspberryWilliam SimonWilliam StanmeyerWilliam TuckerWilliam VoegeliZell Miller
Tom Wolfe’s writings have produced penetrating social and cultural insights, raised intriguing journalistic questions, and suggested the vast potential of nonfiction writing when exercised by a stylistically inventive, perceptive author committed to investigative reporting. For these accomplishments Tom Wolfe ranks as one of the premier literary journalists in America.
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Their infamous Acid Tests, parties full of color, experimental music and light shows -- along with Kool-Aid laced with still-legal LSD -- became their calling card.
In 1962 Wolfe became a reporter for the New York Herald-Tribune and New York magazine, and the following year he began an article about custom-car aficionados in Southern California for Esquire magazine. He had great difficulty trying to arrange his notes into a traditional article, and when he reached his deadline, he simply provided his notes as they were—a mixture of fact, personal observation, opinion, and literary-style description—to the magazine editor. The editor ran the notes untouched, and a new style of journalism—referred to as ”New Journalism”—was born. Quite by accident, Wolfe realized that what would otherwise have been a bland and structurally rigid form-magazine article was transformed into an exciting and creative literary journalism that, while still factual, sounded like a novel. By applying the stylistic techniques usually associated with fiction writing to factual data collected from exhaustive research, Wolfe could produce an audience-involving, realistic nonfiction.
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 , published in 1980, featured these drawings and many others. In 1981 he wrote a companion to The Painted Word entitled , about the world of American architecture.
Wolfe brought a new style of writing to the forefront of American literature, a style that blends fictional techniques with journalistic writing. According to Wolfe, New Journalists are motivated by their desire to provide a fuller, more realistic prose than traditional journalism—a style that both excites and informs readers. Theoretically, a writer can practice New Journalism neutrally on any topic; the form prescribes neither a subject matter nor a posture of advocacy. New Journalists, Wolfe explains, ”do analyze and evaluate their material, although seldom in a moralistic fashion.”
In 1979 Wolfe completed a book he had been at work 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 focusing upon the psychology of the rocket pilots and the astronauts and the competition between them. 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.
The foremost theorist and best-known practitioner of New Journalism, Tom Wolfe has become almost synonymous with the journalistic movement he helped foster in the mid-1960s. After several books and numerous articles, Wolfe’s writings continue to provoke and sustain debate. Whatever his future literary offerings, Wolfe thus far has delivered a bursting portfolio of provocative observations and thoughts. When students of American culture look back on the last third of the twentieth century, Wolfe may well be the person toward whom they turn. More than any other fiction or nonfiction writer, he has recorded in detail the popular mentality of the period.