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State of the Union: The Nation's Essays 1958-2008

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The essays collected here all appeared in The Nation magazine between 1958 and 2005. The early literary ones reflected Vidal’s status as a rising young novelist of the postwar generation, and as he expanded confidently into nonfiction, his essays range widely over politics, religion, society, manners and morals. We see him emerge as the pre-eminent essayist of his generati The essays collected here all appeared in The Nation magazine between 1958 and 2005. The early literary ones reflected Vidal’s status as a rising young novelist of the postwar generation, and as he expanded confidently into nonfiction, his essays range widely over politics, religion, society, manners and morals. We see him emerge as the pre-eminent essayist of his generation, winning a 1993 Nation Book Award for a collection of nonfiction works. Vidal’s Nation years—his Golden Age at the magazine—really commenced in 1981 when Victor Navasky invited him to become a contributing editor. Gore’s first contribution, “Some Jews and the Gays,” would be his most explosive one. This collection exemplifies his critical vision in great works like “Requiem for the American Empire,” “Monotheism and Its Discontents,” “Notes on Our Patriarchal State,” and the delightful “Birds and the Bees” with its Monica–Lewinsky era sequel, “The Birds and the Bees and Clinton.” Prepare to have your preconceptions challenged. Prepare also to smile or laugh out loud.


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The essays collected here all appeared in The Nation magazine between 1958 and 2005. The early literary ones reflected Vidal’s status as a rising young novelist of the postwar generation, and as he expanded confidently into nonfiction, his essays range widely over politics, religion, society, manners and morals. We see him emerge as the pre-eminent essayist of his generati The essays collected here all appeared in The Nation magazine between 1958 and 2005. The early literary ones reflected Vidal’s status as a rising young novelist of the postwar generation, and as he expanded confidently into nonfiction, his essays range widely over politics, religion, society, manners and morals. We see him emerge as the pre-eminent essayist of his generation, winning a 1993 Nation Book Award for a collection of nonfiction works. Vidal’s Nation years—his Golden Age at the magazine—really commenced in 1981 when Victor Navasky invited him to become a contributing editor. Gore’s first contribution, “Some Jews and the Gays,” would be his most explosive one. This collection exemplifies his critical vision in great works like “Requiem for the American Empire,” “Monotheism and Its Discontents,” “Notes on Our Patriarchal State,” and the delightful “Birds and the Bees” with its Monica–Lewinsky era sequel, “The Birds and the Bees and Clinton.” Prepare to have your preconceptions challenged. Prepare also to smile or laugh out loud.

30 review for State of the Union: The Nation's Essays 1958-2008

  1. 5 out of 5

    Walter Simpson

    The truth shall set you free The truth shall set you free I heartily recommend this book to anyone capable of reading without moving one's mouth. Mr. Vidal astounded me with his prescience. He seemed to have had the ability to presage the future. You'll laugh, you'll cry--on the same page. We lost a great man with his passing.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    The later essays (1990s and beyond) are weaker than first several decades worth. Still, a remarkable consistency across the writings. Great ideas. Good grasp of historical precedence. I like Vidal most when he's in attack mode. Attacking Norman Mailer, the Podhoretz clan etc. His tour de force in Esquire in 1969 is not included for obvious reasons.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lucas

    Overwrought and painful to read at times, but he does have passion. The framing of many of his pieces leads him off-track at times, but he often rises above his own limitations and sheds light in some dark alley of comfortable assumptions. Enjoyable till the end.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Arthur

    please cancel my purchase of this Kindle book. I only want a sample Please cancel my purchase of this book only wanted a sample And help me operate your kindle system better. Thanks

  5. 5 out of 5

    Bill Casti

    Gore Vidal can do no wrong, though he did get pretty irascible in his old age. An amazing man and amazing writer.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tess

  7. 5 out of 5

    John Taylor

  8. 4 out of 5

    HO

  9. 5 out of 5

    Roger Knowles

  10. 4 out of 5

    Edina

  11. 4 out of 5

    Robin Rendle

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mark

  13. 4 out of 5

    Susanne S. Latourell

  14. 5 out of 5

    Keith Dodds

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ann

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jan

  17. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Lonis

  18. 4 out of 5

    Louis

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mark Sherman

  20. 5 out of 5

    Robin Anderson

  21. 4 out of 5

    Julia Pickering-Monk

  22. 5 out of 5

    Molly Black

  23. 4 out of 5

    Judith Ryan

  24. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

  25. 5 out of 5

    Patricia

  26. 4 out of 5

    Henry Silver

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Biava

  28. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Payne

  29. 5 out of 5

    John

  30. 5 out of 5

    C. Haucat

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