Welcome to American National Biography Online
The life of a nation is told by the lives of its people
- Over 19,000 biographies of significant, influential or notorious figures from American history written by prominent scholars
- Life of the day now available as an email to your inbox or by RSS feed
- Learn about our editors and the Letter from the General Editor Miroslava Chávez-García.
This update features five new biographies, including journalist and novelist Tom Wolfe; Chuck Yeager, the first pilot to break the sound barrier, and a subject of Wolfe’s book, The Right Stuff; country music singer and songwriter Jan Howard; California architect Roger Lun Yuen Lee; and baseball hall of famer Minnie Miñoso.
Tom Wolfe (1930–2018) was a groundbreaking journalist, a bestselling novelist, and a polarizing public figure. His impact on postwar journalism in the United States cannot be overstated; generations of young journalists tried to copy his novelistic style of “New Journalism.” His novels, most famously The Bonfire of the Vanities, attracted millions of readers, although critics and literary competitors deplored his superficial characterizations of social and racial groups. Wolfe welcomed public attention for his provocative musings and also for his eccentric taste in fashion: in most of his public appearances he was wearing a white suit.