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United States: Essays 1952-1992 by Gore…
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United States: Essays 1952-1992 by Gore Vidal (1993-05-18) (original 1993; edition 1993)

by Gore Vidal (Author)

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590525,778 (4.36)21
"Gore Vidal's reputation as "America's finest essayist" is an enduring one. Vidal has a gift for writing about the events of the moment with an astuteness usually reserved for the beneficiaries of hindsight, and about events of the past with the familiarity of someone who has just come out of the room where they were happening. This collection, chosen by the author from forty years of work, contains about two thirds of what he has published in various magazines and journals. He has divided the essays into three categories, or states. State of the Art covers literature, including novelists and critics, bestsellers, pieces on the French New Novel, Henry James, Oscar Wilde, Suetonius, Edmund Wilson, Nabokov, Herman Wouk, Italo Calvino, and Montaigne (a previously uncollected essay from 1992). State of the Union deals with politics and public life: sex, drugs, pornography, money, Abraham Lincoln, Eleanor Roosevelt, H.L. Mencken, "The Holy Family" (his famous essay on the Kennedys), Nixon, Reagan, and, finally, "Monotheism and Its Discontents," a scathing critique of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. In State of Being, we are given "personal responses to people and events": recollections of his childhood, E. Nesbit, Tarzan, as well as Tennessee Williams, Anais Nin, making movies, travel, home. A lifetime of work from a writer of enormous intelligence, wit, and style."--Jacket.… (more)
Member:Samuel.Sotillo
Title:United States: Essays 1952-1992 by Gore Vidal (1993-05-18)
Authors:Gore Vidal (Author)
Info:Random House (1993), Edition: (6th)
Collections:Your library, EBooks
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Tags:Ebooks, American Writer, American Nonfiction, Nonfiction, Essays

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United States: Essays 1952-1992 by Gore Vidal (1993)

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Showing 4 of 4
Thankfully this collection stops just as Vidal's politics are becoming annoyingly cranky. Vidal in the twenty-first century has unfortunately taken some of the joy and some of the credit out of his sometimes daring, sometimes bitchy, but always entertaining essays from the late twentieth century. Which is a shame. They can still be a guilty pleasure though ;-) ( )
  ehines | Jun 25, 2011 |
Essays
  Budzul | Jun 1, 2008 |
Vidal write clearly and presents a very lucid point of view, which he marshals from a vast corpus of his reading, listening, watching, and thinking.

Many will disagree with his conclusions, or even with his presuppositions. The clarity of his arguments, however, gives the reader the opportunity to absorb his wisdom and experience without risk to his own.

It is hard to fault anything in this volume except for its length. The three main sections; on literature and the arts, on American politics, and on his own experience, could be as easily divided into separate volumes. ( )
  Dystopos | Jan 31, 2007 |
Gore Vidal's reputation as "America's finest essayist" is an enduring one. This collection, chosen by the author from 40 years of work, contains about two-thirds of what he published in various magazines and journals. He has divided the essays into three categories, or states. State of the art covers literature, including novelists and critics, bestsellers, pieces on Henry James, Oscar Wilde, Suetonius, Nabakov and Montaigne (a previosly uncollected essay from 1992). State of the union deals with politics and public life: sex, drugs, money, Abraham Lincoln, Eleanor Roosevelt, "The Holy Family" (his essay on the Kennedys), Nixon, and finally "Monotheism and its Discontents", a scathing critique of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. In state of being, we are given personal responses to people and events: recollections of his childhood, E. Nesbit, Tarzan, Tennessee Williams and Anais Nin.
  antimuzak | Nov 27, 2005 |
Showing 4 of 4
Vidal is much more than a novelist and critic of literature. He is also a commentator on politics, a gadfly who imagines himself a hornet. It took courage, or impregnable self-esteem, to reprint some of the pieces in State Of The Union, this book's second section. Vidal makes it clear that he knew most of the top people and was related to some of them. His pen is dipped in honey for an article on President Kennedy written in 1961, which calls im "withdrawn, observant, icily objective in crisis" (Cuba lay ahead). "Over the years I've occasionally passed books on to him", and not only books but the manuscript of a Vidal play about politics ("his comments were shrewd"). Some later back-tracking doesn't much change this idealised picture...

Some essays here offer the best available antidotes to past and current foolishness about deconstruction, academic pomposity, modernism in the novel, pretentiousness in the cinema. It is a pity that so much of what he writes should be marked and marred by a psychological need for self-advertisement. If Vidal loved himself a little less, we should like him a lot better and admire him more.
added by SnootyBaronet | editLondon Times, Julian Symons
 
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AUTHOR’S NOTE

I wrote the first of these pieces in 1952, the year that Eisenhower was elected president, and the last in 1992, the year of Clinton’s election.
ECKERMANN: I’m delighted that The New York Review of Books is still going strong after—what is it now? Fifty years?
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