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The Gore Supremacy (Kindle Single) [Kindle Edition]

James Wolcott
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $1.99
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  • Length: 17 pages (estimated)
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Book Description

Novelist, essayist, memoirist, playwright, screenwriter, actor, sexual liberationist, traitor to his class, balloon-popper of the pious and pretentious, the country’s last true man of letters (they should now retire the title), Gore Vidal belonged to the Greatest Generation of American authors, and was the last great one to go. (He died on July 31st, 2012 at the age of 86.) The triumphant arc of Vidal’s literary career wasn’t solely a mastery of language, though that never hurts. Handsome, poised, slim, charismatic, able to hold his own in verbal fisticuffs without losing his imperious cool, Vidal was the premiere star author of his generation, the one who elevated the role of talk-show guest to a command performance--a theatrical event. He brought the electronic crackle of the TV screen to his prose and the tactical precision of his prose to combat debate on TV. His near-violent altercations on camera with William F. Buckley, Jr. and Norman Mailer are the stuff of YouTube legend and the secret to The Gore Supremacy.

A contributing writer to Vanity Fair, a partisan observer of pop culture, and the author of the New York-in-the-70s memoir Lucking Out (which comes out in paperback this fall), James Wolcott has been a closeup observer of Vidal on-camera and off for more years than seems respectable. This, his first Kindle Single, is his way of paying homage--and saying goodbye.

Editorial Reviews Review

Among the flood of remembrance for Gore Vidal in the wake of his 2012 passing, James Wolcott's holds its own. Not only does The Gore Supremacy evince the same assured prose it celebrates, it also plays a tearful "Taps" for a time when men and women of letters had a meaningful forum on national television, a forum for ideas and debate of which Vidal made singular use. To hear Wolcott sing Vidal's praises is to succumb to a lament that--with the latter's death--the coffin swings shut on the very last of an era in American literature from which literally no writer has yet risen to carry the torch. Along the way Wolcott offers blistering criticism of reality TV and M.F.A. writing programs and revelatory accolades for those few who wring the most out of celebrity, privilege, and the English language. Rare among the proud micro-genre of literary obituary, The Gore Supremacy is as pleasurable to read as the work of the man it commemorates. --Jason Kirk

Product Details

  • File Size: 108 KB
  • Print Length: 17 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008YOJRW6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #325,660 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Essay Vidal Would Have Enjoyed August 18, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
So much has been written about Vidal through the years, and especially after he passed on this July. This essay is a true standout, though, and its engaging prose will edify Vidalophiles and newcomers to Vidal alike. Wolcott, naturally, refers to the oft-told stories of Vidal's public scrapes with the likes of Mailer and Buckley, but he does not dwell on them. Wolcott places Vidal in context, and makes the reader yearn for the days when David Susskind sat in a cloud of cigarette smoke on his show with the likes of Susan Sontag, and when Dick Cavett engaged his guests in discussions worth listening to. What I especially appreciate, in a goosebumpy kind of way, is Wolcott's deliberate refusal to immerse us in the products of Vidal's unfortunate mental decline toward the end of his life. This is not a fawning tribute; it is a fair one and one which Vidal himself would have appreciated.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Words seldom failed Gore Vidal" August 19, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Whether you were a fan of Gore Vidal or not, it was hard to ignore him. As one of the rising stars of the literary world after World War II, he was one of the generation of writers who became as comfortable in front of a TV camera as he was with a typewriter. As well known as he would become for his novels and stage plays, Vidal is perhaps even better known for his classic TV appearances. I'm old enough to actually remember the 1968 Democratic Convention when Vidal and William F. Buckley Jr. faced off as political commentators, and the head-to-head with Norman Mailer on the Dick Cavett Show a few years later. That era of TV has long since ended (how many authors have you seen on talk shows lately?), but James Wolcott has captured the essence of the times in the Kindle Single "The Gore Supremacy." Vidal described his personal credo as "Never say no to sex or appearing on television."

Obviously a fan of Gore Vidal, Wolcott rehashes the highlights of Vidal's tumultuous career, including the rejection and blackballing his early gay novels received from mainstream reviewers. Vidal forged ahead, however, eventually achieving mainstream acceptance and popularity. But he never cared about being liked, preferring to sit on his throne "dispensing papal benediction to those who came to pay homage."

A very readable account of Gore Vidal, a one of a kind character.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tender, lingering voice August 19, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
In all of his reasonable and warranted lamentations on the passing of the last master, Wolcott has overlooked a voice that keeps us all listening despite a year of tragic literary losses. It is his own.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In the tank for Vidal and Wolcott August 27, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As the title of this review indicates, caveat lector: I was Gore Vidal's last book editor and am James Wolcott's current one. Fair warning! But I want to tell prospective readers that this is a lovely, eloquent and touchingly elegaic piece of writing, one that not only captures Vidal in all his singularity (while not shining off his flaws) , but that mourns the passing of the literary culture in which such a figure could flourish. It is the best such piece produced since Gore Vidal left the building.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! October 16, 2012
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An homage to a man who may have been America's last public intellectual. This work highlights classic Vidal at his best and is an enjoyable, often amusing read. I am almost 65 years old and have followed Mr. Vidal since college, and always found his curmudgeonly persona quite engaging. Reading this reminded me how much he will be missed.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Gore, who I met once or twice September 21, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
This essay by James Wolcoat is rather bland overview of the writer's opinion about the great American man of ideas, Gore Vidal. Vidal took an insider's outside look of American society. Born into the right, but not quite so right, upperclass WASP society, Vidal formed an objective viewpoint of American society, particulary towards politics and social order. The review begins quite sharply with Mr Wolcot's first viewing of Mr. Vidal and his barbed battle with William F. Buckley, Jr., which sets the reader up for a sparkling review of the wit and wisdom of the great essayist and writer. There is a respectful and somewhat enlightened coverage of Vidal's earlier works, such as the adolescent Williwaw, and the popular and shockingly (for a postwar nation) hilarious, Myra Breckenridge. Wolcot's book seems more nostalgic for an age gone by, than by the poignant growth of a writer who matured during that emerging period. Although Vidal did titilate us with societal gems of his relations with Jackie O., Truman Capote, Norman Mailer and other celebrities, I found that more like icing on the cake than the vision of the sage that played in that cultural circus. In both Gore Vidal's personal and professional life, and those who lived it with him,Vidal's analysis of our society progressed, often far more than society at large did. Vidal gave us insight into our nation's history, and through his enlightened vision may just haved helped us understand our country objectively and begin to mature us all. Above all, Vidal knew the folly of mankind, but, I do think, he had hope for the goodness and intelligence of us all.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful And Very Personal Tribute To Gore Vidal February 2, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
James Wolcott has written a delightful, long magazine piece, the sort of thing I remember from the Atlantic Monthly or Harper's of my teenage years, a tribute to one of America's finest -- and most deliberately controversial -- contemporary writers. I enjoyed every minute I spent with this piece and my only regret is that it wasn't a bit longer. Highly recommended.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Too much unnecessary verbosity.
In the middle of this I wondered if the author was just dart boarding his thesaurus. Interesting though, made me want to check out some of the people mentioned.
Published 1 month ago by RandyMan
5.0 out of 5 stars good essay about an interesting man
This is a very well written essay about one of my favorite authors
Published 6 months ago by John Lewis
1.0 out of 5 stars Not my taste
Not my type of book didn't read beyond the third page, but hey who am I to speak it might be to others' taste - just not mine.
Published 6 months ago by NOELLE
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
A unique character.
Published 6 months ago by Yvonne Quinn
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
i never read it
Published 10 months ago by pamela friedland
1.0 out of 5 stars Mistake. Really I was trying a gift card
I didn't read it. I bought it by mistake!!!
Is it possible Amazon give my money back!!
I don't have a concept.
Published 16 months ago by Mario Ardila
5.0 out of 5 stars A great tribute written in the acute and incisive prose of the master...
It's not often that one comes across such edgy, informed, incisive and witty writing in these digital days. As pleasurable to re-read as the first time.
Published 16 months ago by Austea
4.0 out of 5 stars Vidal
I claim that I was a '68' er. This impresses my younger son who spent some time in France as an adolescent. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Goneril
4.0 out of 5 stars Gore Vidal's additions to the literary debates of his times
Seems a balanced a count of the artist, fairly placed in his era, facing societal obstacles to describing the world as he experienced it. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Rebecca Phifer
4.0 out of 5 stars I'd like to know more.
His ability to use the English language so well. He didn't care if anybody like him or not . He wrote how he felt.
Published 23 months ago by Larry W. Marler
Search Customer Reviews

More About the Author

Born and raised in Maryland, James Wolcott is a columnist for Vanity Fair and has written for The New Republic, The London Review of Books, Bookforum, and many other publications still treading water. He--I mean, I--also have a blog at the Vanity Fair website, where I keep tabs on politics, Project Runway, Mad Men, the dance scene, books, birding, and generally make a nuisance of myself, but in a fun, passionate, caring way. My wife Laura Jacobs is a novelist (her latest is The Bird Catcher), a dance critic, and Vanity Fair writer, and we live a wacky sitcom life in Manhattan with our two ocicats, Henry and Veronica, who deserve their own spinoff series. We also have a small bungalow on the Delaware Bay side of the Jersey Shore, where I sleep on the screened-in back porch and harbor any cricket who happens to pop in. My memoir about the Seventies in NYC, those years of punk and Pauline Kael, was published in 2011 by Doubleday. And in the autumn of 2013, Doubleday published my bulging nonfiction collection Critical Mass, which received (if I may be immodest) a rave in The New York Times.

I have published two bestselling Kindle Singles: The Gore Supremacy, about the life and strife of writer-provocateur Gore Vidal, and Wild in the Seats, a recreation of the tumultuous first performance of Stravinsky-Nijinsky-Diaghilev's The Rite of Spring on its 100th anniversary.

I can be followed on Twitter:

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