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The Selected Essays of Gore Vidal Kindle Edition

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Length: 482 pages

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Editorial Reviews

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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Review

“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 Review


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • File Size: 763 KB
  • Print Length: 482 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0307388689
  • Publisher: Vintage; 1 edition (June 17, 2008)
  • Publication Date: June 17, 2008
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001AO0IS4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #374,660 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

69 of 81 people found the following review helpful By Best Of All on June 22, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It all comes down to what you want and what you have read.

For those who are exploring the vast depth of essays penned by Gore Vidal, this volume - edited by Jay Parini - is a nice primer.

But 21 of the 24 selections appeared in the 1993 Random House collection, United States: Essays 1952-1992, with a pair of recent political essays - Black Tuesday (2001) and State of the Union, 2004 (2004) - easily found in other settings.

Ultimately, this is a very puzzling release and what appears to be a slick means to reissue what Parini feels is the best material from a massive volume - 114 pieces - published 15 years ago.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A. Blank on September 6, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I knew Mr. Vidal was a erudite, witty and entertaining writer having read many of his historical novels, and this collection confirms that. The downfall is that many of the authors, works, and subjects under discussion are from so long ago that much of the context is lost and with it the significance of the writing. For, instance, there are two long articles about the French New Novel, the hip thing from the 50's and 60's. I happen to have read several novels by one of the authors being addressed, so had some inkling of what is going on, but for most readers it would be a thicket filled with unknown names and criticism aimed at a mysterious target. So beware - if you buy the book, you'll end up skipping parts of it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gallura Gatto on October 29, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This covers two categories - literary & political. It's Vidal's acerbic voice throughout. Some of the literary essays might be considered dated but the political ones could be written today. Highly recommended.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Harlen on September 14, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As may be expected somewhat uneven essays by Gore spanning decades . He is always entertaining and frequently quite erudite but he is much too harsh on John Updike and the Kennedys. Here's hoping he lives on for many more years and books.
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By ilprofessore on January 5, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a splendid silver platter of some of Gore's best writing over the years. A voice in the wilderness. The unpopular bystander who kept pointing out that in an imperial culture the emperor's new clothes are often non-existent, although we the citizens seem to be paying more and more for them. Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Superb. Here is great observer, thinker, and crtic of the whole spctrum of american " themes" of his era. Well worth reading, especially asa foreigner.
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