Tom Wolfe speaks at Washington & Lee University campus in Lexington, Va., Feb. 5, 2005
Stephanie Klein-Davis/The Roanoke Times via AP
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A pioneer of "new journalism" whose books captured the mood and culture of America across five decades, Tom Wolfe has died at the age of 88 .Fiction and nonfiction, Wolfe's works ranged widely, from the art world to Wall Street to 1960s counterculture, touching on issues of class, power, race, corruption and sex.With "radical chic," Wolfe branded pretentious liberals.Wolfe lived in New York with his wife, Sheila. Wolfe started his writing career at the Springfield, Massachusetts, Union newspaper and also worked for the Washington Post, New York Herald-Tribune and New York magazine.One of the genre's defining moments came when Wolfe was having trouble meeting a deadline for a 1964 magazine story on the hot-rod car culture.After Rolling Stone magazine assigned him to cover an Apollo program launch in 1972, Wolfe became fascinated with astronauts. Nine years later, and in a more restrained style than some of his earlier works, he wrote "The Right Stuff," about the first seven U.S. astronauts and test pilot Chuck Yeager.
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