Gore Vidal

I must mark the passing of Gore Vidal.

As I have only read two of his novels, Myra Breckinridge and Julian, I knew him mostly from his appearances on television which were always entertaining and informative and in which he showed himself to be an unusual citizen of the US (at least from the perspective of this side of the Atlantic) since he was sharply critical of many aspects of his native country’s political and cultural life – a stance which is arguably more patriotic than that of someone who accepts and follows unquestioningly. He dubbed the US the United States of Amnesia, bemoaning the lack of historical knowledge the majority of his countrymen have of their own political system. He was in a position to know, having been brought up right in the heart of government when as a twelve year old he acted as guide to his blind grandfather – the first ever Senator for Oklahoma – through the corridors of Congress.

It is probably as a novelist dedicated to illuminating that history his countrymen are too blindly unaware of that he will be best remembered though various of his television and other appearances remain to give a flavour of his wit and perspicacity.

Most of his books from that US historical cycle are somewhere on my TBR shelves. So many books, so little time.

Eugene Louis Vidal, Jr. (Eugene Luther Gore Vidal) 3/10/1935 – 31/7/2012. So it goes.

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