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The first of Tom Wolfe's genre-defining non-fiction books, reissued to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test

Tom Wolfe's debut collection of essays - a brilliant, form-bending dive into the future of America as it careened through the 1960s

In 1965, Tom Wolfe dropped like a bomb onto the American literary scene with his first book, The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby, an incandescent panorama of American counter-culture, its dances, bouffant hairdos, customised cars and rock concerts. Capturing the energy of the age in its portraits of Phil Spector, Cassius Clay, Las Vegas and the Nanny Mafia – as well as asking, why do doormen hate Volkswagens? – Wolfe’s flamboyant essay collection remains one of the great, revolutionary landmarks of modern non-fiction.

'Journalism, it is said, is the first draft of history. Nobody exemplifies the dictum better than Wolfe, the cultural observer and social critic par excellence' Daily Telegraph


You only had to look at him… or read such books as The Bonfire of the Vanities and The Right Stuff to know that Tom Wolfe was like no other

John Pye, The Scotsman

Journalism, it is said, is the first draft of history. Nobody exemplifies the dictum better than Wolfe, the cultural observer and social critic par excellence

Mick Brown, Daily Telegraph

Effortlessly, elegantly, Tom Wolfe bestrode both fiction and non-fiction… a style at once objective, subjective, and hallucinatory

Andy Martin, Independent

[Tom Wolfe’s] gleeful use of punctuation and italics, along with entertaining asides and neologisms that often quickly cemented themselves into the English lexicon, helped Wolfe stand out from other journalists


[Wolfe] made literature fun and bores don’t like fun

Freddy Gray, The Catholic Herald

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    May 28, 2018

    Vintage Classics

    RRP $19.99

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    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Also by Tom Wolfe

The Kingdom of Speech
Back to Blood
Hooking Up
The Bonfire of the Vanities
The Right Stuff
The Purple Decades
I Am Charlotte Simmons
A Man In Full
The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test


On Chesil Beach
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls
How To Change Your Mind: The New Science of Psychedelics
The Square And The Tower
The Odyssey
The Republic
St Petersburg
Save With Jamie
Bit Rot
The Rise and Fall of Australia
The Rub of Time
A Walk in the Park
Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom
The Wife Drought
Chronicles of a Liquid Society
Animals Strike Curious Poses