Burr

( 16 )

Overview

Gore Vidal's Narratives of Empire series spans the history of the United States from the Revolution to the post-World War II years. With their broad canvas and large cast of fictional and historical characters, the novels in this series present a panorama of the American political and imperial experience as interpreted by one of its most worldly, knowing, and ironic observers.

Burr is a portrait of perhaps the most complex and misunderstood of the Founding Fathers. In 1804, ...

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Burr

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Overview

Gore Vidal's Narratives of Empire series spans the history of the United States from the Revolution to the post-World War II years. With their broad canvas and large cast of fictional and historical characters, the novels in this series present a panorama of the American political and imperial experience as interpreted by one of its most worldly, knowing, and ironic observers.

Burr is a portrait of perhaps the most complex and misunderstood of the Founding Fathers. In 1804, while serving as vice president, Aaron Burr fought a duel with his political nemesis, Alexander Hamilton, and killed him. In 1807, he was arrested, tried, and acquitted of treason. In 1833, Burr is newly married, an aging statesman considered a monster by many. Burr retains much of his political influence if not the respect of all. And he is determined to tell his own story. As his amanuensis, he chooses Charles Schermerhorn Schuyler, a young New York City journalist, and together they explore both Burr's past and the continuing political intrigues of the still young United States.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Dazzling. . . . Burr is wicked entertainment of a very high order."
--The New York Times Book Review

"A tragedy, a comedy, a vibrant, leg-kicking life. . . . All of this and much, much more is told in a highly engaging book that teems with bon mots, aphorisms and ironic comments on the political process. . . . Enlightening, fresh and fun."  --The Boston Globe

"A novel of Stendhalian proportions. . . . It is probably impossible to be an American and not be fascinated and impressed by Vidal's telescoping of our early history. . . . Always absorbing." --The New Yorker

Library Journal
"The novel is masterfully constructed, right down to a shocking but logical surprise on the last page," said LJ's reviewer, who gushed further, adding, "The familiar figures and stock scenes when we encounter them here are fresh, new, and utterly absorbing. Vidal has made a century and a half seem but a heartbeat from today" LJ 11/1/73. With the world focusing on the current round of political shenanigans emanating from Washington, this should retain its popularity. Note that Modern Library is also releasing Vidal's Lincoln ISBN 0-679-60284-4. $21.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375708732
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/28/2000
  • Series: Vintage International Series
  • Edition description: 1st Vintage edition
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 282,039
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 8.01 (h) x 0.97 (d)

Meet the Author

Gore Vidal
Gore Vidal
Unafraid to point fingers and assassinate characters, Gore Vidal has always been provocative, if not universally liked. A prolific essayist and acclaimed author of historical novels such as 1984's Lincoln, his talent for positioning history within a modern context is one thing about Vidal that remains undisputed.

Biography

As a prominent post-WWII novelist, socialite and public figure, Gore Vidal has lived a life of incredible variety. Throughout his career, he has rubbed shoulders and crossed swords with many of the foremost cultural and political figures of our century: from Jack Kennedy to Jack Kerouac, Truman Capote to William F. Buckley.

From his early arrival on the literary scene, Vidal's fascinations with politics, power and public figures have informed his writing. He takes his first name from his maternal grandfather, Thomas Pryor Gore, a populist Senator from Oklahoma for whom neither blindness nor feuds with FDR could prevent a long, distinguished career (Incidentally, T.P. Gore belonged to the same political dynasty into which Al Gore was born). Vidal's best-received historical fictions, like Julian, Burr, and Lincoln, re-imagine the personal and political lives of powerful figures in history. In his essays, he frequently chooses political subjects, as he did with his damaging assessment of Robert Kennedy-for-President in an Esquire article in 1963.

At the same time, Vidal's assets as a writer have made him a dangerous public figure in his own right. His sharp wit has discomposed the unrufflable (William F. Buckley) and the frequently ruffled (Norman Mailer) alike, and did so terrify his congressional campaign opponent J. Ernest Wharton that the latter refused to engage Vidal in debate. Even since he's left his aspirations as a politician behind, Vidal's attraction to controversial political issues continues in his provocative essays and public appearances.

Author biography courtesy of Random House, Inc.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Edgar Box (mysteries), Eugene Luther Gore Vidal (full name)
      Gore Vidal
    2. Hometown:
      La Rondinaia, a villa in Ravello, Italy; and Los Angeles, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      October 3, 1925
    2. Place of Birth:
      West Point, New York
    1. Education:
      Attended St. Albans. Graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy, 1943. No college.

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 16 )
Rating Distribution

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(8)

4 Star

(5)

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Sort by: Showing all of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 5, 2009

    A fantastic read, but be prepared to pay attention

    I read this as a summer read, and I loved it. Although it was an historical novel, I believe that Gore Vidal tried to keep as much to actual history from letters and other accounts of the time, adding only a couple of characters to move the story along. The story is certainly a classic one, in that the powers that be have the ability to create their own spin, and to besmerch people who didn't agree or who made them look bad. Aaron Burr was the besmerched, as it turns out. Which definitely makes you think about other historic figures that we've learned were "bad."

    You definetly have to pay attention, so while I was at the water park, I had to re-read a couple of paragraphs, but it keeps you interested like a great novel. READ IT!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2006

    What a Book

    This book is one of the best books that I have ever read. i recommend this book to anyone, even if they are not interested in the Revoluionary war or Aaron Burr. It's a spectacular read!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2004

    good

    this book was very good, it included a lot of history. i usually never read historical fiction, but i had to for summer reading. it was very intriguing because you have heard about aaron burr in school, but never in depth. this also is a very different style of writing.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2001

    Very Recommended

    I very thoroughly enjoyed this book. I have already bought the whole American Chronicle series, and this first book (chronologically) does not disappoint. I have heard others say they are not sure how much is really fact but the book is so entertaining and and does give a great picture of politics and life at the time that it is worth your time, even if Vidal plays with some facts. I am dying to start the next book in his series.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2013

    Having trouble getting through this.

    Usually enjoy historical novels, but can't seem to get into this one. Maybe Vidal just isn't for me; maybe need to brush-up on Burr and the era.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2012

    Highly Recommended

    I enjoyed this book. Aaron Burr was the victim of bad PR. If left alone he could have taken Sam Houstons place, freeing Texas from Mexico. (Hero instead of Villian)

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    Posted December 15, 2012

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