Gore Vidal is a celebrated essayist, historian and even novelist, and all of his great talents are brought to the fore in his Narratives of Empire series. From the publisher:
“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.
Lincoln is the cornerstone of Gore Vidal’s fictional American chronicle, which includes Burr, 1876, Washington, D.C., Empire, and Hollywood. It opens early on a frozen winter morning in 1861, when President-elect Abraham Lincoln slips into Washington, flanked by two bodyguards.
The future president is in disguise, for there is talk of a plot to murder him. During the next four years there will be numerous plots to murder this man who has sworn to unite a disintegrating nation. Isolated in a ramshackle White House in the center of a proslavery city, Lincoln presides over a fragmenting government as Lee’s armies beat at the gates.
In this profoundly moving novel, a work of epic proportions and intense human sympathy, Lincoln is observed by his loved ones and his rivals. The cast of characters is almost Dickensian: politicians, generals, White House aides, newspapermen, Northern and Southern conspirators, amiably evil bankers, and a wife slowly going mad. Vidal’s portrait of the president is at once intimate and monumental, stark and complex, drawn with the wit, grace, and authority of one of the great historical novelists.
With a new Introduction by the author.
Note that 1876: A Novel, the third book in this series, is not currently available in Kindle format
Empire, the fourth novel in Gore Vidal’s monumental six-volume chronicle of the American past, is his prodigiously detailed portrait of the United States at the dawn of the twentieth century as it begins to emerge as a world power.
While America struggles to define its destiny, beautiful and ambitious Caroline Sanford fights to control her own fate. One of Vidal’s most inspired creations, she is an embodiment of the complex, vigorous young nation. From the back offices of her Washington newspaper, Caroline confronts the two men who threaten to thwart her ambition: William Randolph Hearst and his protégé, Blaise Sanford, Caroline’s half brother. In their struggles for power the lives of brother and sister become intertwined with those of Presidents McKinley and Roosevelt, as well as Astors, Vanderbilts, and Whitneys–all incarnations of America’s Gilded Age.
“Mr. Vidal demonstrates a political imagination and insider’s sagacity equaled by no other practicing fiction writer,” said The New York Times Book Review. “Like the earlier novels in his historical cycle, Empire is a wonderfully vivid documentary drama.”
Hollywood marks the fifth episode in Gore Vidal’s “Narratives of Empire,” his celebrated series of six historical novels that form his extended biography of the United States.
It is 1917, and President Woodrow Wilson is about to lead the country into the Great War in Europe. In California, a new industry is born that will irreversibly transform America. Caroline Sanford, the alluring heroine of Empire, discovers the power of moving pictures to manipulate reality as she vaults to screen stardom under the name of Emma Traxler. Just as Caroline must balance her two lives–West Coast movie star and East Coast newspaper publisher and senator’s mistress–so too must America balance its two power centers: Hollywood and Washington. 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.
“Hollywood shimmers with the illusion of politics and the politics of illusion,” wrote the Chicago Sun-Times. “A wonderfully literate and consistently impressive work of fiction that clearly belongs on a shelf with Vidal’s best,” said The New York Times Book Review.
The Golden Age is the concluding volume in Gore Vidal’s celebrated and bestselling Narratives of Empire series-a unique pageant of the national experience from the United States’ entry into World War Two to the end of the Korean War.
The historical novel is once again in vogue, and Gore Vidal stands as its undisputed American master. In his six previous narratives of the American empire-Burr, Lincoln, 1876, Empire, Hollywood, and Washington, D.C.-he has created a fictional portrait of our nation from its founding that is unmatched in our literature for its scope, intimacy, political intelligence, and eloquence. Each has been a major bestseller, and some have stirred controversy for their decidedly ironic and unillusioned view of the realities of American power and of the men and women who have exercised that power.
The Golden Age is Vidal’s crowning achievement, a vibrant tapestry of American political and cultural life from 1939 to 1954, when the epochal events of World War Two and the Cold War transformed America, once and for all, for good or ill, from a republic into an empire. The sharp-eyed and sympathetic witnesses to these events are Caroline Sanford, Washington, D.C., newspaper publisher turned Hollywood pioneer producer-star, and Peter Sanford, her nephew and publisher of the independent intellectual journal The American Idea. They experience at first hand the masterful maneuvers of Franklin Roosevelt to bring a reluctant nation into World War Two, and later, the actions of Harry Truman that commit the nation to a decades-long twilight struggle against Communism-developments they regard with a marked skepticism, even though they end in an American global empire. The locus of these events is Washington, D.C., yet the Hollywood film industry and the cultural centers of New York also play significant parts. In addition to presidents, the actual characters who appear so vividly in the pages of The Golden Age include Eleanor Roosevelt, Harry Hopkins, Wendell Willkie, William Randolph Hearst, Dean Acheson, Tennessee Williams, Joseph Alsop, Dawn Powell-and Gore Vidal himself.
The Golden Age offers up United States history as only Gore Vidal can, with unrivaled penetration, wit, and high drama, allied to a classical view of human fate. It is a supreme entertainment that will also change readers’ understanding of American history and power.