The Best Tom Wolfe Books

List Rules
Both his novels and his nonfiction works, as well as collections of smaller works, are eligible

List of the best Tom Wolfe books, ranked by voracious readers in the Ranker community. Tom Wolfe is the rare writer who is equally adept with fiction and nonfiction, and has had bestsellers in both. With commercial success and critical acclaim, there's no doubt that Tom Wolfe is one of the most popular authors of the last 100 years. Some of his novels have even been made into hit films as well. This poll is also a great resource for new fans of Tom Wolfe who want to know which novels they should start reading first, as well as fans of Wolfe's writing who want to weigh in on their favorites. With memorable characters and excellent storytelling, there's no reason why you shouldn't check out his work if you're a big reader.

List of books include The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, The Bonfire of the Vanities, and many more. What are Tom Wolfe's best books? Vote on this list and help us definitively answer that question.


  • The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test
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    The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test is a nonfiction book by Tom Wolfe that was published in 1968. The book is remembered today as an early – and arguably the most popular – example of the growing literary style called New Journalism. Wolfe presents an as-if-firsthand account of the experiences of Ken Kesey and his band of Merry Pranksters, who traveled across the country in a colorfully painted school bus named "Further". Kesey and the Pranksters became famous for their use of LSD and other psychedelic drugs in hopes of achieving intersubjectivity. The book chronicles the Acid Tests, the group's encounters with famous figures of the time, including famous authors, Hells Angels, and The Grateful ...more
    • First Published: 1968
    • Author: Tom Wolfe
    • Subjects: Social science, Hippie, Beat Generation, Popular culture, Literature
    • Genres (Book): Creative nonfiction, Sociology
    • Original Language: English Language
  • The Right Stuff
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    The Right Stuff is a 1979 book by Tom Wolfe about the pilots engaged in U.S. postwar experiments with experimental rocket-powered, high-speed aircraft as well as documenting the stories of the first Project Mercury astronauts selected for the NASA space program. The Right Stuff is based on extensive research by Wolfe, who interviewed test pilots, the astronauts and their wives, among others. The story contrasts the "Mercury Seven" and their families with test pilots such as Chuck Yeager, who was considered by many contemporaries as the best of them all, but who was never selected as an astronaut. Wolfe wrote that the book was inspired by the desire to find out why the astronauts accepted ...more
    • First Published: 1979
    • Author: Tom Wolfe
    • Subjects: Technology, Aeronautics, Astronautics, Military, United States of America
    • Genres (Book): Mathematics, Children's literature, Biography, Autobiography, Science
    • Original Language: English Language
  • A Man in Full is a novel by Tom Wolfe, published on November 12, 1998 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. It is set primarily in Atlanta, with a significant portion of the story also transpiring in the East Bay region of Northern California.
    • First Published: 1998-11-12
    • Author: Tom Wolfe
    • Subjects: Social dynamics, Legal, Atlanta
    • Genres (Book): Fiction, Novel
    • Original Language: English Language
  • The Bonfire of the Vanities
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    The Bonfire of the Vanities is a 1987 novel by Tom Wolfe. The story is a drama about ambition, racism, social class, politics, and greed in 1980s New York City and centers on three main characters: WASP bond trader Sherman McCoy, Jewish assistant district attorney Larry Kramer, and British expatriate journalist Peter Fallow. The novel was originally conceived as a serial in the style of Charles Dickens' writings; it ran in 27 installments in Rolling Stone starting in 1984. Wolfe heavily revised it before it was published in book form. The novel was a bestseller and a phenomenal success, even in comparison with Wolfe's other books. It has often been called the quintessential novel of the ...more
    • First Published: 1987-10
    • Author: Tom Wolfe
    • Subjects: Literary, New York City, Social class
    • Genres (Book): Fiction, Novel, Political fiction
    • Original Language: English Language
  • Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers
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    Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers is a 1970 book by Tom Wolfe. The book, Wolfe's fourth, is composed of two articles by Wolfe, "These Radical Chic Evenings," first published in June 1970 in New York magazine, about a gathering Leonard Bernstein held for the Black Panther Party and "Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers," about the response of many minorities to San Francisco's poverty programs. Both essays looked at the conflict between black rage and white guilt.
    • First Published: 1970
    • Author: Tom Wolfe
    • Genres (Book): Fiction
    • Original Language: English Language
  • Back to Blood
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    Back to Blood is the title of Tom Wolfe's fourth novel, published by Little, Brown. The novel, set in Miami, focuses on the subject of Cuban immigrants in Miami, Florida.
    • First Published: 2012
    • Author: Tom Wolfe
    • Genres (Book): Novel
    • Original Language: English Language