United States: Essays 1952-1992

United States: Essays 1952-1992

4.0 1
by Gore Vidal
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

From the age of Eisenhower to the dawning of the Clinton era, Gore Vidal’s United States offers an incomparably rich tapestry of American intellectual and political life in a tumultuous period. It also provides the best, most sustained exposure possible to the most wide-ranging, acute, and original literary intelligence of the postWorld War

Overview

From the age of Eisenhower to the dawning of the Clinton era, Gore Vidal’s United States offers an incomparably rich tapestry of American intellectual and political life in a tumultuous period. It also provides the best, most sustained exposure possible to the most wide-ranging, acute, and original literary intelligence of the postWorld War II years. United States is an essential book in the canon of twentieth-century American literature and an endlessly fascinating work.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This mammoth omnibus of 114 essays is vintage Vidal, a marvelous compendium of sharp wit and independent judgment that confirms his status as a man of letters. The prolific novelist/critic offers withering putdowns of the French ``new novel,'' billionaire Howard Hughes and bestseller lists. He displays a reporter's hard nose for facts in travel pieces on Nasser's Egypt and Mongolia. He pens definitive portraits of H. L. Mencken, Oscar Wilde, Anthony Burgess, L. Frank Baum. He reminisces on his boyhood friendship with Amelia Earhart, who, we learn, was in love with Vidal's father, Eugene, FDR's director of commercial aviation. Mingling patrician impulses and egalitarian, subversive sentiments, Vidal takes unfashionable stances, as when he urges the legalization of drugs or ending military aid to the Middle East, including Israel. His sense of the United States as hub of an overextended empire informs pieces on ``American sissy'' Theodore Roosevelt, JFK, CIA spook E. Howard Hunt and the bloated military budget. (June)
Library Journal
Vidal's National Book Award-winning volume comprises 114 essays. Vidal paints in broad strokes, and the pieces cover history and politics (Richard Nixon and Robert Kennedy); sociology (feminism, the American Empire); American and world literature including figures such as Tennessee Williams, William Dean Howells, Norman Mailer, Henry James, Edmund Wilson, Anthony Burgess, Paul Bowles, and more; and of, course, the film industry. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780767908061
Publisher:
Crown Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/15/2001
Pages:
1312
Product dimensions:
3.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 2.15(d)

Meet the Author

Gore Vidal is the author of twenty-two novels, five plays, many screenplays and short stories, more than two hundred essays, and a memoir. His most recent novel is The Golden Age, and his new essay collection, The Last Empire: Essays 1993?2000, has just been published.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
La Rondinaia, a villa in Ravello, Italy; and Los Angeles, California
Date of Birth:
October 3, 1925
Place of Birth:
West Point, New York
Education:
Attended St. Albans. Graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy, 1943. No college.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

United States: Essays 1952-1992 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Ronald_Beasley More than 1 year ago
Gore Vidal was the only postwar writer capable of teasing out American insecurities about its place in the world from almost every subject. It would be enough to make him a great writer if he had 'simply' written about art, or politics, or the great people he had known, but in this collection it's all three and then some. If you've read the product description or any of Vidal's essays, you won't need me to tell you how diverse his topics of interest are, or how well-versed he is in writing about all of them. This is a canon of Vidal's essays if there will ever be one, and it wisely ends before the 21st century, when the great man was clearly in decline. These aren't essays like you'll read in some online rags today. They are long, thoughtful pieces, each referencing many facets of life and Americana. Multiple political party conventions are analyzed. Monotheism meets its unmaker. His contemporaries are, of course, turned inside out and occasionally chewed up and tossed away like a pet's toy. Vidal has the almost enviable gift of writing about anything for an indefinite length of time. These essays will take longer to read than today's ten minute, single topic simple screeds, and in most cases they must be read several times just to pick up threads that were missed earlier when your hands were already full. Vidal has recently left us, but the dense yet enjoyable scribblings of this 20th century master will continue to inspire those few brave 21st century Americans who dare to tackle this brick.