Messiah

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Overview

When a mortician appears on television to declare that death is infinitely preferable to life, he sparks a religious movement that quickly leaves Christianity and most of Islam in the dust. Gore Vidal's deft and daring blend of satire and prophecy, first published in 1954, eerily anticipates the excesses of Jim Jones, David Koresh, and the Heaven's Gate suicide cult.

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Overview

When a mortician appears on television to declare that death is infinitely preferable to life, he sparks a religious movement that quickly leaves Christianity and most of Islam in the dust. Gore Vidal's deft and daring blend of satire and prophecy, first published in 1954, eerily anticipates the excesses of Jim Jones, David Koresh, and the Heaven's Gate suicide cult.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780141180397
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/28/1998
  • Series: Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics Series
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,432,917
  • Product dimensions: 5.14 (w) x 7.58 (h) x 0.71 (d)

Meet the Author

Gore Vidal

Gore Vidal (1925–2012) was born Eugene Luther Vidal, later adopting the surname of his grandfather, Senator Thomas Gore, as his first name. Well known as a novelist, an essayist, a playwright, and a social and political commentator, he was the author of numerous novels—the first, Williwaw, written when he was twenty-one—as well as scripts for film, television and the stage, including the extremely successful The Best Man and Visit to a Small Planet. His other novels include Myra Breckenridge (1968), as well as thehistorical novels in the series Narratives of Empire, which includes Burr (1973), 1876 (1976), Lincoln (1984), Empire (1987), Hollywood (1990), and The Golden Age (2000). He won the National Book Award in 1993 for his book of essays, United States: Essays (19521992). 

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.

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