Six essays on the theme of empire and republic, with particular focus on the national security state and the failure of the U.S. economic system.
Library Journal - Library JournalProlific 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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