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Point to Point Navigation: A Memoir Paperback – October 9, 2007
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Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Written in a most difficult narrative syle, not a good read.Published 23 days ago by Dr. Louis S. Coloia
GV is one my favorite authors of all time. My advice is for you to read everything he wrote or said. He was that good, back then. Don't argue or question why, just do it.Published 4 months ago by Fredrick Upchurch
The final half of Vidal's memoir. Typically filled with name dropping, at times self serving, but interesting nevertheless.Published 8 months ago by Kindle Customer
I expected more of Palimpsest, but Gore Vidal is always terrific.Published 9 months ago by Dianne Spencer Durfey
Gives a lot of insight into historical events that I have lived through.Published 19 months ago by Ted
In theory, this is supposed to pickup where Vidal left off with Palimpsest. Instead, it rehashes many of the same anecdotes and tries to settle some of the same old scores. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Richard A. Jenkins
I loved this audio book. This is one of the few times when the author's reading of the work actually added to the quality. Read morePublished 20 months ago by DailyReader
A combination of Vidal's usual smug sense of entitlement as a scion of the ruling class and a meandering approach to name-dropping with a vengeance produce an effect that may not... Read morePublished on August 19, 2014 by othoniaboys
Not as illuminating or entertaining as his first memoir, it still provides a good read for anyone interested in Vidal's life, writings and personality.Published on August 17, 2014 by anonymous