David Pesetsky posted a comment linking to this review of Wolfe's book by Joshua Leach. I bring it to your attention here for it is readable, incisive and informed.
There are two large questions that the Wolfe book invites. First, what could motivate someone like Wolfe to write the drivel that he wrote? The second: why does this junk gets positive reviews in our high brow press (HBP)?
The answer to the first question is not that interesting, I believe. Grab your favorite psychological theory of personality and have at it. Wolfe is not the first person who wants to be the smartest person in the room, nor will he be the last.
The second question is more interesting, for it tells us something about our current institutions and the "intellectuals" who aspire to lead them. Oddly, the recent coverage in the HBP does quite a bit to confirm Chomsky's poignant discussion in "The Responsibility of Intellectuals." The HBP feels threatened and something about Chomsky threatens it/them. That's the story. How can such junk get so much non-critical coverage? As Leach points out, Trumpism has moved up stream and has ensconced its intellectual values in the smart New Yorker, NYT reading set. That's the big story. Read the piece. It's very good.