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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vintage Vidal
In his memoirs, Gore Vidal calls this novel the beginning of his literary voice. It is a joy to read, and appears to have been a joy to write, for this youthful, vibrant, charismatic novel flows effortlessly through cities, affairs, and misadventures. Colorful characters abound -- early on there's an uproariously matter-of-fact description of our hero's casual fling with...
Published on March 18, 2001

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Isherwood did it so much better
I was very disappointed in this book. While I love and esteem Vidal as a critic, as a novelist I have found him uneven -
loved Lincoln, learned something from Creation, found the characters in his 'Kennedy' novel a little wooden.
But this novel in my opinion is his worst. The characters are two-dimensional, and the older homosexuals
(all quite grotesque)...
Published 6 months ago by Lee Cronbach


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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vintage Vidal, March 18, 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Judgement of Paris (Hardcover)
In his memoirs, Gore Vidal calls this novel the beginning of his literary voice. It is a joy to read, and appears to have been a joy to write, for this youthful, vibrant, charismatic novel flows effortlessly through cities, affairs, and misadventures. Colorful characters abound -- early on there's an uproariously matter-of-fact description of our hero's casual fling with the wife of an American power broker. The mythological superstructure of the book -- glorious youth flirting with power, wisdom, and love -- is light enough for Vidal's characters to prance and amuse. It's a nice departure from his oh-so-serious historical novels and a welcome, balletic hop into Vidal's fantasies. He wrote this novel around 1950 -- when peace and prosperity were just re-emerging after wartime. Read this book, if only to see Gore Vidal exercise a masterful light touch years before he turned bitter.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!, July 30, 2006
By 
Ventura Angelo (Brescia, Lombardia Italy) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Judgement of Paris (Paperback)
Gore Vidal's wit and humour sparkle in this tale of a young american boy traveling Europe in search of a purpose to his life. Like Paris, he knows the lures of power, knowlwdge and love, represented by three fascinating women. The characterization and the detailing of the major and minor charachters make of this book a masterpiece, full of wry notations and often exilarating situations. A must read!
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In the beginning..., March 23, 2007
This review is from: The Judgment of Paris (Paperback)
This is the first true Vidal novel. The value of those that went before this work are valuable more for their content than style ("Williwaw" and "City and the Pillar" - both strongly recommended nonetheless). With the Judgment of Paris, Vidal became the heir to a beautiful tradition that may be traced back to Thomas Mann's "The Magic Mountain" and Somerset Maugham's "Christmas Holiday."
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best Books I've Read, March 30, 2010
By 
A. C. Dovie (New Orleans, LA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Judgment of Paris (Paperback)
Lucid and entertaining, this coming of age novel follows the travels of Philip Warren as he discovers himself and contemplates his future with the help of a diverse gaggle of characters. Vidal captured the essence of the modern world while including the grandeur of the ancient tales that so captivate us all.

I personally have never read a book that I liked so much that when I turned he final page, I reopened the first and proceeded to read it again. The Judgment of Paris is truly a delightful story, I recommend this book to both fans of Vidal and to those who have never heard of him before.
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5.0 out of 5 stars gore vidal: his work should be required reading., July 24, 2014
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This review is from: The Judgment of Paris (Kindle Edition)
i have never underlined some many lines and even pages in a book in my entire life - and i am a voracious reader. the breadth of knowledge of the works ancient - and modern - writers which vidal brings to his work is staggering...and fun (though much less important) to identify when he sometimes discusses their work without naming them, as well. as we see in the recent documentary in which he participated broadly the the sheer brilliance of his political, emotional and social insights is virtually unparalleled - truths if not necessarily popular ones. i've since downloaded all the other books of his which you carry!
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2.0 out of 5 stars Isherwood did it so much better, May 18, 2014
By 
Lee Cronbach (Seattle, WA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Judgment of Paris (Kindle Edition)
I was very disappointed in this book. While I love and esteem Vidal as a critic, as a novelist I have found him uneven -
loved Lincoln, learned something from Creation, found the characters in his 'Kennedy' novel a little wooden.
But this novel in my opinion is his worst. The characters are two-dimensional, and the older homosexuals
(all quite grotesque) are just cardboard imitations of Isherwoods Berlin characters of the same type. The younger homosexuals, and the young men generally (there are no young women) are so bland as to be characterless.
The plot is a little unbelievable - the protagonist Philip is very insistenly described as straight, but keeps going to homosexual
hangouts, where he continues on saying how straight he is while never going to a straight dance hall, or bistro, or scene of
any kind. His love affairs are all with older women, who all have the same cardboard personality - they all talk middlebrow
philosophy and little else. The love scenes are pure Hollywood cliche - the hero's spirit tours the galaxy as he merges into one briefly with his current mothergoddess. The 'high society' scenes are ridiculous: Firbank moderated through 1930s Hollywood cliches. I always try to finish a book I started, but this is a rare exception where I skimmed rapidly through the last 100 pages.
This review has gone into detail to serve as a 'warning off' - of course, if you love his Washington D.C., or James Michener, this might be your cup of tea!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A most entertaining read about a young man's mid-century travels in Europe, May 5, 2014
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This review is from: The Judgment of Paris (Kindle Edition)
Anything by Gore Vidal is worth reading. This account of a young man's year in Europe is filled with exotic characters, some verging on the ridiculous and others more sinister in their intentions. The narrator's love affairs with two different women are not totally convincing as most of his associates appear to be gay. He observes closely the absurd behavior of several men locked into a strange cult of worshiping a hermaphrodite who appears to be wanted by the police. For some weird and way out experiences Gore Vidal is a master story-teller and keeps you turning the pages. Highly recommended.
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4.0 out of 5 stars GORE-in unforgettable transition, June 18, 2013
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This review is from: The Judgement of Paris (Paperback)
Vidal's JUDGEMENT OF PARIS is a complex, occasionally labored, frequently prescient, and hysterically funny observation of life as it existed in Europe, for visiting Americans, after WW2. As 10 Williams (and V. himself said) it ws the novel where he finally embraced his own style that evolved over the years, and the book is full of exuberant wit, a view of who we were then, an examination of what made our world ideas flaccid or trenchant, and a cast of characters from the Best British Eccentric written since Waugh (the gay & lunatic Lord Glen Elllen) to a series of set pieces involving historical characters like Denham Foutts, and witty approximations of others then on the scene. (Primarily Rome). It is also a somewhat eerie approximation of a new religion lurching to be born, and in tandem, an exploration of the legend that is the judgement of Paris. It's memorably worth reading, even if it is not of a perfect piece, and to those who like Vidal, it will usurp the place reserved for some of his better known historical novels. An imperfect, but radiant gem that sheds brighter & more ensorceling light with repeated readings.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Quite Risque for its Time, and Still a Thoroughly Entertaining Read, February 10, 2013
By 
Dr. Laurence Raw (Beckenham, Kent United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Judgment of Paris (Paperback)
First published in 1952, THE JUDGMENT OF PARIS is a picaresque tale outlining the peregrinations of a young American male around Europe in the years immediately following the end of the Second World War. Quite explicit in its sexual content - especially for the time - it is at once a satiric yet very funny piece: Vidal has great fun deflating the pretensions of the so-called 'smart set' of Europeans (as well as Americans) who infested the cities at that time, attempting to dictate the manners of the time yet simultaneously driven by the desire to remain famous for being famous. Yet Vidal does not overlook the shortcomings of his hero; despite his desire for travel, he is seduced by this world, both literally and physically. Occasionally the narrative is interrupted by lengthy authorial interpolations; but nonetheless this is definitely worth a read.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Early Vidal, July 10, 2011
This review is from: The Judgment of Paris (Paperback)
The content of this novel is bold for 1952. I tried to find some information on its reception at the time, but found nothing online. I did learn that Vidal's novel The City and the Pillar: A Novel, published in 1948, a coming of age story of a homosexual male, caused Vidal to be blacklisted for 6 years in which time he wrote under pseudonyms. This book is dated within the blacklisting period, but I can't find a publication date. Perhaps it was written under a pseudonym with a different title.

The coming of age theme (so-called on the cover jacket) features experiences in Europe's (and Cairo's) post-war Bohemian circles. It includes some scenes that would surely challenge 1950's sensibilities. The unabashed homosexual characters demonstrate that the blacklisting did not deter Vidal.

I found the story too fragmented. Phillip has experiences in Rome, Cairo and Paris. He socializes with a free spirited and monied crowd. There seems to be no center, other than the protagonist, who appears to be floating around. He has no distinct personality, for instance, he hates politics, but might go into it. He has an ivy league education, but there are no signs of it other than the society he hob nobs with.

While the themes are modern, the format is not. Some of the characters give a page long discourse on life - today's fictional characters speak in sound bites. The "coming of age" protagonist is a 26 year old WWII veteran. The classical allusion of the title doesn't capture the story, and suggests a lofty message.

Not a great book, but you can see the beginnings of a great novelist.
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The Judgment of Paris
The Judgment of Paris by Gore Vidal
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