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There's one key difference between this book and its predecessors, however. Vidal was alive and kicking in 1939, and thanks to his role as Senator Thomas Pryor Gore's grandson (and occasional seeing-eye dog), he met or at least observed many of The Golden Age's dramatis personae. This fact turns out to have a double edge. On one hand, it gives his portraits of the high and mighty an extra ounce of verisimilitude. Here (the invented) Caroline Sanford observes her old friend FDR at an informal White House mixer:
She felt for an instant that she should curtsey in the awesome presence of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a figure who towered even when seated in his wheelchair. It was the head and neck that did the trick, she decided, with a professional actor's eye. The neck was especially thick while the famous head seemed half again larger than average, its thinning gray hair combed severely back from a high rounded forehead.Like all of Vidal's politicians, FDR is a more or less gifted illusionist, and The Golden Age is one more chapter in the convergence of theater and politics, of Hollywood and Washington, D.C. But the very vividness of these historical actors (in every sense of the phrase) makes the author's invented cast seem a little pale and lifeless. No matter. Even in its occasional longueurs, Vidal's concluding volume is packed with ironic insight and world-class gossip, much of it undoubtedly true. And in the surprisingly metafictional finale, he signs off with a fine display of Heraclitean fireworks, not to mention an encore appearance from his rakish progenitor Aaron Burr--which makes you wonder exactly who created whom. --James Marcus --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
The characterizations of the main characters are extremely boring.
I was looking forward to reading this book, and was not disappointed........It is very good, now a part of my library, and will be reread a time or two.....
Some of Gore Vidal's work has entertained me a lot (Julian), but this book wasn't one of them.
You'll never view the US the same! A Great read and a fascinating story that puts the America of today into perspectivePublished 4 months ago by Joseph J. Auch
Though the realizations in this book might have been a bombshell back when it was written, they're old news now. Read morePublished 5 months ago by mselectromagnetic
Not quite. This is a pretentious, name-dropping bore of a novel. Vidal does what he does best - puts his nose in the air and sniffs at everything around him which does not... Read morePublished 5 months ago by febnyc
From Burr to the golden age you will read the history of the USA in away that you were never taught at school. Interesting, good stories and educational while being fun to read. Read morePublished 6 months ago by tom
I enjoyed the whole series. I'm struck with the notion that nothing has really changed, politically maybe socially as well. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Avalon
I was looking forward to reading this book, and was not disappointed........It is very good, now a part of my library, and will be reread a time or two.....Published 10 months ago by Dean Bell
In The Golden Age Gore Vidal shows the ways things have been realy happening. It teaches a lot on the way americans think about themselves and about how they value the rest of... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Claudio Antonio Scarpinella
Needed this for a Christmas gift which was a special request of my step son. He wanted a set of historical novels by Gore Vidal which were of course out of print and he wanted... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Carolyn Cefalo
"THE GOLDEN AGE" is the capstone to the series of fine historical novels (known as "Narratives of Empire") about America through the ages which Gore Vidal began... Read morePublished 13 months ago by KOMET