Sherman McCoy is an icon for the superficial life of the wealthy in New York City in the 1980s. His world is shaken by a sudden encounter with unexpected fear and danger when he accidently drives his 50,000 Mercedes into the South Bronx. Wolfe's novel touches on every rung of the social and economic ladder of the times, from inner-city communities, to scavenger-like New York reporters, to the daily grind at an Assistant D. A.'s office, to the highest rungs of the Wall Street bond market. First published in 1987, BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES is Tom Wolfe's first novel.