From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Vidal's daunting career has encompassed 24 novels, 11 essay collections, six plays, two memoirs and countless occasional writings. This new collection is an entry point into this literary giant's work for a new generation of readers, offering some of Vidal's most famous and entertaining essays from the past 50-odd years. Compiled and introduced by Parini (The Last Station
), Vidal's literary executor, the pieces range across Vidal's far-flung areas of expertise, resting most frequently and contentiously on literature and presidential politics of the past and present. His assessment of The Top Ten Bestsellers of January 7, 1973, is a savagely meticulous dissection of middlebrow American taste, while American Plastic tacks in the opposite direction, skewering the academy-approved, theory-based fiction of Donald Barthelme and William Gass with derisive glee. Vidal's comfort in puncturing conventional wisdom with his wit and analysis is fully displayed throughout, most notably in his discussion of the battle over the Kennedy legacy in The Holy Family and the controversial Black Tuesday, which condemns the Bush administration for its alleged imperial ambitions in the wake of September 11. (June 17)
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“Gore Vidal is the master essayist of our age.” —The Washington Post Book World
“Vidal is the best all-around American man of letters since Edmund Wilson.” —Newsweek
“Wonderfully selected. . . . All classic Vidal essays are here. . . . [They] confirm Vidal's stature.” —The Buffalo News
“Gore Vidal, essayist; so good that we cannot do without him. He is a treasure of the state.” —R.W.B. Lewis, The New York Times Book Review
“Fearlessness and independence of mind are the strengths in this author’s arms, but his heart’s love is language and the richness of language.”—Los Angeles Times Book ReviewFrom the Trade Paperback edition.