Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon

The Decline and Fall of the American Empire (The Real Story Series) Paperback – July 1, 2002

ISBN-13: 978-1878825001 ISBN-10: 1878825003 Edition: F First Edition Used
Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback, July 1, 2002
"Please retry"
$19.90 $0.01
Free Two-Day Shipping for College Students with Amazon Student Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student


Hero Quick Promo
Save up to 90% on Textbooks
Rent textbooks, buy textbooks, or get up to 80% back when you sell us your books. Shop Now
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE


Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Series: The Real Story Series
  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Odonian Press; F First Edition Used edition (July 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1878825003
  • ISBN-13: 978-1878825001
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 4.2 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #615,632 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Gore Vidal has received the National Book Award, written numerous novels, short stories, plays and essays. He has been a political activist and as Democratic candidate for Congress from upstate New York, he received the most votes of any Democrat in a half-century.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

85 of 91 people found the following review helpful By S. Ferguson on April 28, 1998
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It will not be easy for any of us who love our country to face the assertions Gore Vidal makes in this book, but this is exactly what we need to wake up from the current miasma of smoke-and-mirrors spin. Perhaps the proliferation of conspiracy theories is a symptom of what we all suspect, but are in denial about. Vidal confronts us with the cold hard facts: 90% of the disbursements of the federal government go to defense; our language has grown decadent and is used to disguise; the corporations control opinion through the conglomerate media; in 1991, 37% of federal revenues (taxes) came from individuals and only 8% from corporations. Reading this book will be worth the anguish it causes you. If Thomas Jefferson could see that his beloved country was being ruled by an elite through armies of lawyers, lobbyists, and paid-for-scientists, he would warn us all that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance; and this is precisely what Gore Vidal is attempting to do.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
59 of 64 people found the following review helpful By The Orange Duke on March 24, 2002
Format: Paperback
Gore Vidal has the power to drive conservatives insane, I can't say why, but the mere mention of his name seems to turn them into screaming maniacs, that alone would make this book worth owning. In addition to its value as a heart attack inducer, it is also easy reading, witty and well written. I especially enjoyed his vicious attack on the Christian Church (which he refers to as the cult of the `Sky God'). He is also right on target with his assessment of the pervasive dangerous of corporate power. This slim volume is not a scholarly tome by any means, but Vidal's strength is in the way that he says things, not in the way that he backs up his assessment. Less a stunning indictment than a readable, witty summing up of the Vidal take on several important topics. A superb little pamphlet.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth R. Kahn on July 17, 2001
Format: Paperback
The beauty of Vidal's volume is that it establishes signposts, dates, events, places marking historically important events. To say that the American empire is in decline sounds like just more left-wing doctrine. To document that assertion, Vidal places a date--September 16, 1985--during the roaring, go-go, Reagan years--when America changed from a creditor to a debtor nation, and has been there ever since.
Combining dates with events and revealations of the names and identities of the men behind the men in power marks a significant departure by documenting the rise and fall. The fear of accepting the reality of failure is a heavy burden empires must accept. Like the lives of people, empires do not go on forever. Americans cannot imagine a world without American military, political and economic hegemony (this is what happens when one believes the hype).
Vidal traces the history--the 1914 shift of capital from New York to London, the men of power who created American foreign policy, the establishment of the national security state in 1947 and the place of America in the world. He ends with practical solutions to the decline and fall. Vidal's style is hard-hitting, real, well-documented and informed. The volume is worth reading and re-reading. The sinking feeling, the giant sucking sound of America heading south is on every page. The "Decline and Fall" is the ultimate reality check.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By William Hare on December 1, 2003
Format: Paperback
Gore Vidal demonstrates once more that as author and political pundit he remains well ahead of his time, but that it appears as if we are starting to catch up and comprehend the importance along with the necessity of his message.
When Vidal ran for U.S. Senator in the 1982 California Democratic Party primary his opponent was Jerry Brown. The California Governor had a reputation for being unconventional in many ways like Vidal. When Brown later sought the Democratic Party's presidential nomination in the 1992 primaries he sought out the anti-establishment ideas he had heard Vidal espouse earlier. Vidal willingly helped Brown in the idea department in 1992 and the Californian ran a strong and idea-effective anti-establishment primary campaign.
Since the sixties Vidal has preached that the American political system has become increasingly beholden to entrenched corporate interests, which is further reflected in an all too often obeisant media. Now the public has demonstrated an increasing alertness of the captivity as more individuals seek fundamental changes based on Vidal's concepts.
Another fundamental idea that Vidal has tackled for many years, and on which the public is finally catching up with him, is the degree of infringement upon basic freedoms, as evidenced by the Bush-Ashcroft Patriot Act. He also rails against the dangers of the military industrial compex, and how its most reactionary elements have been served by an active intelligence community through the auspices of the CIA and the FBI.
Vidal preaches hard core liberty in the best tradition of Founding Fathers such as Thomas Paine and Benjamin Franklin. This volume shows him at his best, witty, acerbic, and driving his point home with an economy of effort.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By C. Middleton on February 14, 2004
Format: Paperback
This collection of six essays and speeches by America's most astute and acerbic critic, though somewhat dated, (written from 1987-92) still manages to pack a powerful and relevant punch directly at what Vidal perceives to be the reasons for America's political, cultural and economic continuing downward spiral. He states in the Preface that his intention is to "...put into historical perspective the state of our nation and what can be done to salvage it." (p.5)
In the essay, The National Security State, he explains its history and formation and its official start in the National Security Act of 1947; this was a blueprint created after WW2, which the country had never seen before. This doctrine, (only declassified in 1975) grants the pentagon unlimited power and spending on "defence" against the Soviet Union during peacetime. To justify such a massive spending on weapons, part of the document states that the American society had to be "mobilized" to fight communism. This, of course, manifested in the form of media-generated propaganda, creating fear in the hearts of ordinary Americans, to justify high taxes to pay for defence during peacetime. Vidal writes, "...thanks to the brainwashing of the national security state's continuing plan, Americans have a built-in horror of the Evil Empire, which the press and the politicians have kept going for forty years." Now that this particular "Evil Empire" has unfortunately fallen, we currently have a new "Axes of Evil" to justify billions of dollars spent on "defence".
It is impossible to cite all of Vidal's arguments in the space provided. However, rather than merely list everything wrong with America, he offers solutions, albeit radical solutions, to some of the problems.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews