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Point to Point Navigation Audio CD – Audiobook, November 7, 2006

3.8 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

'There is no one quite like him, and if you do not know his work you should' Erica Wagner, THE TIMES ' Gore Vidal is the most elegant, erudite and eclectic writer of his generation' Roy Hattersley, THE GUARDIAN 'A figure whose vibrant verbal presence has itself been an essential of part of American cultural life for the past fifty-odd years' Sylvia Brownrigg, TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

GORE VIDAL is the author of twenty-two novels, five plays, many screenplays, more than two hundred essays, and the critically lauded, Palimpsest: A Memoir. Vidal's United States (Essays 1952-1992) won the 1993 National Book Award. Gore Vidal lives in Beverly Hills, California. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Recorded Books; Unabridged edition (November 7, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1428112979
  • ISBN-13: 978-1428112971
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 5.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #437,304 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Point to Point Navigation is best described as a stream of consciousness. Reflections, observations, and reminisces, not in any chronological order necessarily, but as one thought leads to another Vidal recollects interesting as well as poignant memories from throughout his life. Filled with Vidal's wit and observations, one comes away from the book with a sense of what it must be like to sit down with this renowned author simply for a talk together.

Aptly titled, "Point to Point Navigation" refers to the dangerous navigation Vidal had to use during World War Two when as first mate on an army freight-supply ship they had to maneuver without compass (inoperable due to weather) but rather by memorized landmarks and without radar, a process which the writing of this memoir made him feel as if he "were again dealing with those capes and rocks in the Bering Sea," for the memoir presents a nonlinear reflection of a life whose course and recollection thereof has twist and turns but which remained on course.

Vidal is one of America's finest biographers: author of twenty-five novels including his fascinating informative Narratives of Empire series, six plays, many screenplays, and more than two hundred essays. He is an esteemed political commentator who has expertly utilized rationality and erudite humor regarding topics such as sex, religion, politics, literature, and history of empire.

I have loved the man's works since I was a teenager, from his essays and earliest novels to his more recent pamphlets regarding American imperialism, his words have educated, enlightened, and given me much to ponder. When I consider Vidal, I think of knowledge combined with unrestrained candor, and this is what makes Vidal a pleasure to read.
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Format: Hardcover
If name dropping bothers you, you will not want to read this book, for most of the author's best friends belong to the Who's Who of the 20th century. And if egotism and self-glorification annoy, you will have even more reason not to open this book. But then let's be open-minded, in memoirs the Self always plays the starring role, and in Gore Vidal's case, he always shines and often outshines some of the 20th century's most interesting characters.

Vidals list of friends and acquaintances include Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, Anais Nin, Johnny Carson, Rudolph Nureyev, Eleanor Roosevelt, Paul Newman, Orson Welles, Saul Bellow, JFK, Princess Grace, Princess Margaret, Amelia Earhart, Greta Garbo, Federico Fellini...just to name a few. One notices that most of these people are no longer among the living and Vidal, now 82 and in failing health, is pondering his own journey "toward the door marked Exit."

There is no continuous narrative in this book. The stories jump from the Hudson Valley to the Hollywood Hills to Ravello and back again. It zooms back and forth in time as well with 30 and 50 year jumps, so the metaphor of point to point navigation is apt. I have read only a few of Vidal's novels (Kalki, Messiah, Myra Breckenridge, Creation) but I have read, I think, most of his essays. Some critics predict that Vidal's American chronicle series of novels are his best work (I couldn't finish them.) but I believe that his essays will be his lasting legacy.

Vidal's essays are always witty, observant, and his prose is always a precision instrument. He often repeats himself, especially in this book. He recognizes that his memory is failing and wonders out loud whether he has already told some these anecdotes. But the telling is always entertaining.
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Format: Hardcover
"No other writer has peered so intently under the hood of American Society. None can match his uncanny gift for "telling us what we want to know' about public life, including politics, theatre and the movies. Three worlds he has noted where 'no one is under oath'. But this author kept one subject under cover: himself. His new book is a sad, spotty chronicle that would suggest Gore is stuck in a fog from a dwindling set of landmarks. Vidal's' imagination has always been able to get into the past. With his first memoir, Palimpsest, Vidal finally took the witness stand." James Marcus

None of us know much about Gore Vidal, he likes it that way. His two memoirs have finally put sight on himself, and the people he liked and those he loved. Gore's wit could cut someone, usually politicians, to the core without them even realizing they had a sliver. However, with his contemporaries, authors,per say, he is even tempered and respectful. His stories about Tennessee Williams, whom he adored, but wrote about with sarcasm and satire are ones to savor. As are his stories about and with Johnny Carson. Carson and Gore liked each other and when Gore appeared on 'The Tonight' show, that was what television was all about. There are witty remembrances of Paul Bowles, Federico Fellini, Amelia Earhart, and Jackie Onassis. Gore Vidal's father had a 'fling' with Amelia Earhart and this inside is a story in itself. And, the stories of Saul Bellow, 'a man of Bentha glimpsed checking out some sexy nuns with Albetto Moravia.' Of course, the fact that Gore Vidal had entrance to the Camelot known as the Kennedy Administration, was his forte. He and the Kennedy's had spats, but one of the final chapters in this memoir is about Kennedy and his death and this portrayal has credence.
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