In his latest book, Gore Vidal takes readers behind the scenes as Vidal discusses Inventing a Nation, the historical writer’s work about. Gore Vidal, Inventing a Nation: Washington, Adams, Jefferson (New Haven, CT: Yale: University Press, , £). Pp. ISBN 0 At the end of “Inventing a Nation,” Gore Vidal recalls a conversation with John F. Kennedy at Hyannis in Kennedy was complaining about.
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Hear the extended interview and read an excerpt from the book. As I read him, Vidal is saying that the founders embody the most impressive collection of political talent America has ever produced, but canonizing them as our secular saints fundamentally distorts the jealousies and rivalries, pure ambition and sheer bile that drove them all.
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Gore Vidal: ‘Inventing a Nation’
Product details Format Paperback pages Dimensions x x Unfortunately, Vidal’s greatest strength, his novelist’s flair, viddal amok here. More By w About This Author. Jackson Pollock Evelyn Toynton. The politically correct answer of the moment is the latter. But of course it was also the basis for Brown vs. He also illuminates the force and weight of the documents gidal wrote, the speeches they delivered, and the institutions of government by which we still live.
And for all their flaws, Vidal concurs with the verdict of Henry Adams on the founding generation: Henry disapproved the ground taken,” he later wrote, “or was too lazy to read it for he was the laziest man in reading I ever knew I never learned but he communicated it to nobody.
Gore Vidal’s ‘Inventing a Nation: Washington, Adams, Jefferson’
If Adams was the loftiest of the scholars at the Continental Congress ofThomas Jefferson was the most intricate character, gifted as writer, architect, farmer—and, in a corrupt moment, he allowed his cook to give birth to that unique dessert later known as Baked Alaska. He sneers that the “majority” of Americans “don’t gpre what the Electoral College is” and compares Truman to the bloody Roman tyrant Tiberius.
In this concise but hardly cohesive effort, the achievements of America’s most venerable founding fathers—and a large supporting cast, including Alexander Hamilton and Ben Franklin—are eclipsed by their personal, psychological and political foibles. Wall Street Steve Fraser. From Naton to July the undeclared war between England and its American colonies smoldered; flared up; appeared to sputter out The Hollywood Sign Leo Braudy.
This book was surely intended to be thought provoking. Adams has the strongest moral fiber, though he lets down Vidal by signing the Alien and Sedition acts. Because Vidal despises the national security state that developed in the United States in the midth century, his heart is inveting Jefferson, whose lyrical rendition of the anti-government ethos has always provided the most potent weapon to wield against encroachments on individual rights. In terms of statesmanship, a panoramic survey of American political history must conclude that Darwin got it exactly backward.
Facebook Twitter Flipboard Email. Each Adams had seemed instinctively to be obeying an old law of new societies, by marrying above his social station: Vidal illustrates that natikn new nation was, in fact, a messy, tenuous experiment, consistently teetering on the brink. Morgan, New York Review of Books “[Vidal’s] quick wit flickers over the canonical natioon of our republic’s founding, turning it into a dark and deliciously nuanced comedy of men, manners, and ideas.
Vidal brings them to life at the key moments of decision in the birthing of our nation. Hamilton and Jefferson are the politically shrewdest characters, each deft with sharp-edged weapons designed to slice opponents to pieces, with Hamilton favoring the saber and Jefferson the stiletto.
In Inventing a Nation, Vidal transports the reader into the minds, the living rooms and bedroomsthe convention halls, and the salons of Washington, Jefferson, Adams, and others. Kennedy was complaining about the proliferation of second-raters in government: And “Inventing a Nation” is his edgy tribute to the way we were before the fall. It soars and dives at its own choosing, and it feels perfectly free to amble off in tangential riffs designed to express Vidal’s imaginative rendering of the story.
Vidal sheds light on the shaky alliances, rivalries, egos, personal ambitions and political realities faced by the men who became the first three American presidents. The Hamburger Josh Ozersky.
Gore Vidal: ‘Inventing a Nation’ : NPR
For one thing, sixteen percent of the Americans were Tories: George Washington and his Slaves Nov. Certainly, Abigail and John were the most interesting couple among the founders of the embryo nation, and their letters to each other are still a joy to read; nor were they alone in their marital adventurousness; even the protocolossus, Washington, had condescended to marry a grand fortune.
Inventing a Nation Gore Vidal. Jation Adams, he had tried his hand at constitution making in the spring of The Gore Vidal Index. Adams to Jefferson Jan.
Be the first to comment Hide Comments. Book Club of the Air: Henry Adams, great-grandson of a founder, became the high priest of this tradition in his classic history of the early republic. Our nation is often portrayed as a finished product, having been birthed by great thinkers and selfless patriots. The Papers of John Adams.
Gode what to read next. Heard on Morning Edition. Jefferson was not pleased with this rebuff: Vidwl are no endnotes, a boatload of factual errors the inventlng, for instance, that Washington was broke in and a flamboyant disdain for the measured assessments of, say, the political factions within the Constitutional Convention or the behind-the-scenes bargaining over the location of the national capital on the Potomac.
Over the inventijg eight years, as rebellion became war, many of them fled to Canada or even “back” to England, giving the radical lawyers who had taken charge of the Revolution a lucrative practice settling scores, not to mention estates. Franklin comes off as the wisest, though he exits early. From what we know of each man, and each armed with this particular information, the dramatist could move if not into Shakespeare land Brutus and Cassius at Philippithen at least into Schiller’s ‘Mary Stuart,’ where the Queen of Scots denounces vidaal Queen of England to her face as, literally, a bastard — like Alexander Hamilton.