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Inventing a Nation: Washington, Adams, Jefferson

by Gore Vidal

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6061231,806 (3.35)22
Volumes have been written about Washington, Adams, and Jefferson, but no previous work captures the intimate and vital details the way Vidal's does. His consummate skill takes the reader into the minds and private rooms of these great men, illuminating their opinions of one another and their concerns about crafting a workable democracy.… (more)
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Enjoyable. Hamilton, for all that he's not the main player in the title, looms large throughout, probably because he had his fingers in a number of apple pies where they didn't belong. Gore Vidal's writing is vibrant, intelligent, and quite broad, as he makes commentary on not only historical matters but also matters which were on going in his life time. It's neat when a historian can do that (not all of them can). ( )
  fuzzipueo | Apr 24, 2022 |
NA
  pszolovits | Feb 3, 2021 |
Interesting contrast to the current celebration of Alexander Hamilton. Vidal obviously didn't like Hamilton and distrusted his influence on Washington and on the early formation of the US. ( )
  ritaer | Jul 23, 2017 |
55. Inventing a Nation: Washington, Adams and Jefferson (Audio Book) by Gore Vidal, narrated by Paul Hecht (2003, 208 pages in paper form, listened Oct 29 - Nov 4)

Discursive musings is probably enough of a description. Vidal brings in many curious details. Being who he is, it seems Vidal was simply drawn not to the three icons of his title but to the person he seems to have considered the smartest in room, so so speak. Alexander Hamilton, the main author of the Federalist Papers, somehow crops of everywhere, good and bad. Overall these are entertaining wanderings and there is just something fascinating in any random pieces spoken and written by the characters from this era.

One touching aspect was listening to Gore Vidal, in his own voice, discuss an interview he had with then president John F. Kennedy. Kennedy wondered how nascent America could be full of such a rich array of brilliant minds, something so much richer than his impression of the people he had to deal with. He said they were somehow better then. Vidal couldn't really answer, and claims this book is his reply.

Also posted on my LT thread here: http://www.librarything.com/topic/160515#4393489 ( )
  dchaikin | Dec 5, 2013 |
If you enjoy your history with a partisan flavor and a good dose of skepticism, you will immensely enjoy Inventing A Nation, Gore Vidal's romp through early American history. Gore begins with 1786 as Washington prepares to lead the constitutional convention.

It's refreshing to go beyond the glowing myths we are fed in high school and see the great men with all their foibles, flaws that somehow make them even a little greater in my estimation. There was a lot of groping going on to find just the right mix. Democracy did not have much in the way of precedence. After the Athenian defeat by Alexander, there was really no democratic example to follow.

Ours is certainly not a democracy in the Athenian sense as Gore, in his inimitable manner makes clear: "Much of the significance of December 2000 was that the Electoral College, created to ensure that majority rule be thwarted if unacceptable to what Hamilton thought of as the proper governing elite, threw a bright spotlight on just how undemocratic our republic has become, causing one of the Supreme Court Justices (by many thought to be a visiting alien) to respond to the Gore lawyers who maintained that Florida's skewed voting machines and confused rulings by various interested courts had deprived thousands of Floridians of their vote for president. The American Constitution, said the Justice, mandibles clattering joyously, does not provide any American citizen the right to vote for president. This is absolutely true. One votes for a near-anonymous member of the Electoral College, which explains why so few Americans now bother to 'vote' for president. But then a majority don't know what the Electoral College is."

That's classic. ( )
  ecw0647 | Sep 30, 2013 |
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Volumes have been written about Washington, Adams, and Jefferson, but no previous work captures the intimate and vital details the way Vidal's does. His consummate skill takes the reader into the minds and private rooms of these great men, illuminating their opinions of one another and their concerns about crafting a workable democracy.

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Yale University Press

2 editions of this book were published by Yale University Press.

Editions: 0300101716, 0300105924

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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