Hollywood

( 2 )

Overview

"Wicked and provocative...Vidal's purview of Hollywood in one of its golden ages is fascinating." —Chicago Tribune

In his brilliant and dazzling new novel, Gore Vidal sweeps us into one of the most fascinating periods of American political and social change. The time is 1917. In Washington, President Wilson is about to lead the United States into the Great War. In California, a new industry is born that will transform America: moving pictures. Here is history as only Gore Vidal ...

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Hollywood

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Overview

"Wicked and provocative...Vidal's purview of Hollywood in one of its golden ages is fascinating." —Chicago Tribune

In his brilliant and dazzling new novel, Gore Vidal sweeps us into one of the most fascinating periods of American political and social change. The time is 1917. In Washington, President Wilson is about to lead the United States into the Great War. In California, a new industry is born that will transform America: moving pictures. Here is history as only Gore Vidal can re-create it: brimming with intrigue and scandal, peopled by the greats of the silver screen and American politics, from Charlie Chaplin and Douglas Fairbanks to Franklin D. Roosevelt and the author's own grandfather, the blind Senator Gore. With Hollywood, Vidal once again proves himself a superb storyteller and a perceptive chronicler of human nature's endless deceptions.

The sixth of Vidal's magnificent historical novels which, through real and imaginary characters, captures America in the 1920s.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"        Wicked and provocative. . . . Vidal's purview of Hollywood in one of its golden ages is fascinating."
--Tom Tryon

"        Vidal succeeds in making his history alive and plausible."
--The New York Times

"        Vidal's originality derives from his as-
surance that he can create and command the American history of his novels, as much as he can their imaginary components. No other American writer I know of has Vidal's sense of national proprietorship. He summons the entire American scene into his confident voice. Vidal's presump-
tions work marvelously well for his intentions."
--Richard Poirier,
The New York Review of Books

Also available from the Modern Library:
Burr  ¸  Lincoln  ¸  1876  ¸
Empire  ¸  Washington, D.C.

New York Times
Vidal succeeds in making his history alive and plausible.
Richard Poirier
Vidal's originality derives from his as- surance that he can create and command the American history of his novels, as much as he can their imaginary components. No other American writer I know of has Vidal's sense of national proprietorship. He summons the entire American scene into his confident voice. Vidal's presump- tions work marvelously well for his intentions.—The New York Review of Books
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In the sixth of Vidal's historic novels about Aaron Burr and his descendants, the author has come a long way from Burr , the first in the series, both in time span--the focus here is on the years between 1917 and 1924--and quality. His imagination seems to flag as he draws closer to the present, and he delivers a surprisingly dry recitation of the facts and circumstances of history. Each of the novels in Vidal's U.S. saga has become more extravagantly peopled with historical personages. Presidents Harding, Wilson and Coolidge, and Hollywood stars Fairbanks, Chaplin and Mabel Norman make major appearances here. His fictional protagonists--Caroline Sanford and Burden Day, also the main characters of Empire --seem on hand merely to be injected at just the right moment to catch an intimate glimpse of the rich and famous. There is no dramatic tension in Hollywood , although there are regular flashes of Vidal's wit, in particular a scene in a steambath with Fairbanks and Chaplin waxing grandiloquent on the nature of movies. The details of the Teapot Dome scandal, the shadow presidency of Mrs. Wilson during her husband's incapacitation, and the difficulty of dealing with Harding's mistress are recounted with none of Vidal's usual relish. Although his writing continues to be clear and elegant, in Hollywood , he has failed to produce a compelling story. First serial to Washingtonian; BOMC featured alternate. (Feb.)
Library Journal
Prolific essayist, novelist (Burr et al.), screenwriter (Suddenly, Last Summer), playwright (The Best Man), and sometime political candidate Vidal quotes the definition of palimpsest as " `a parchment which has been written upon twice; the original having been rubbed out.' " This particular memoir of his first 39 years (1926-65), says Vidal, has "many rubbings-out and puttings-in," which may explain its many-layered nature and the bare nod to chronology, with flashbacks and flashforwards and curious juxtapositions of friend and foe. In it he blithely skewers both family and friends (or ex-friends)-particularly his alcoholic mother, the Auchinclosses, John and Jackie Kennedy, Anas Nin and other literati, and too many more to recount-with nasty revelations. But Vidal is still a stylish writer, and those not put off by the mean-spiritedness of these self-serving memoirs and fascinated by the literary, political, and entertainment worlds of the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s may want to read this. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/95; BOMC and Quality Paperback selections; New Yorker serial, Oct. 2.]-Francine Fialkoff, "Library Journal"
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375708756
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/1/2000
  • Series: International Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 586,677
  • Product dimensions: 5.16 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.90 (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

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2000

    Vidal's Hollywood Novel: A Disappointment

    Gore Vidal should restrict himself to historical novels set in the distant past. 'Hollywood' falls flat, for it lacks the insider's sensitivity that so many other recent Hollywood novels possess. Take 'A Boy Scout in Hollywood' by Brian J. Hayes for example. Though a novel, Hayes's work reflects the pain and suffering young men and women undergo as they attempt to enter the cruel, bitter world of Hollywood filmmaking. Vidal's 'Hollywood' contains no such pathos. Leave Vidal by the wayside and read Hayes instead.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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