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Books by Title/Title=topic name > Gore Vidal's American Chronicles series

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message 1: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 11789 comments There are SEVEN books in Gore Vidal's American Chronicles series.
Have you read any of them? How did you like them?

I googled and learned the following about the series:
=====================================================
"Vidal's literary legacy rests on what is termed his American Chronicles series. These books follow the growth of America from colonial times to the 1950s. Ostensibly following the ancestors of a fictional family, Vidal's American Chronicles is historical fiction at its level best, incorporating real life people and events into the epic tapestry of the making of a country. Although written out of order, chronologically the books that make up the series are:
_Burr_
_Lincoln_
_1876_
_Empire_
_Hollywood_
_Washington, D.C._
_The Golden Age._"

ABOVE QUOTE IS FROM: http://www.associatedcontent.com/arti...
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Below is a cover link to the final book in the series: ====>
The Golden Age  A Novel by Gore Vidal The Golden Age A Novel
The Goodreads description at the above link says: "Even in its occasional longueurs, Vidal's concluding volume is packed with ironic insight and world-class gossip, much of it undoubtedly true."

Another excerpt from the GR description:
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"Since 1967, when he published Washington, D.C., Gore Vidal has been assembling an artful, acidic history of the United States. _The Golden Age_ represents the seventh and final installment of this national epic, covering the years from 1939 to 1954 (with a valedictory fast-forward, in its final pages, to the end of the millennium). As Vidal did in the earlier books, the author sticks pretty rigorously to the facts."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Looks as if I might eventually enjoy all seven of Gore Vidal's American Chronicles series.


message 2: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 11789 comments Below is a link to Gore Vidal's Goodreads profile. It includes a listing of his writings:
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/...

Gore Vidal Gore Vidal


Lori I recently stumbled across these books and a couple of them sparked my interest more than the others. I read an article that said they could be read in the order published and that reading them in chronological order is fine too. What I'm wondering is whether it matters if I read them in any order?


message 4: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 11789 comments Lori wrote: "I recently stumbled across these books and a couple of them sparked my interest more than the others. I read an article that said they could be read in the order published and that reading them in chronological order is fine too. What I'm wondering is whether it matters if I read them in any order?"

Hi Lori - I was wondering the same thing. I'm going to try reading them in chronological order. I understand there are fictitious characters which may be carried over from book to book. So I'd like to know their background.

If I find chronological order uninteresting, I may try a different order.


Lori Joy H. (of Glens Falls) wrote: "Lori wrote: "I recently stumbled across these books and a couple of them sparked my interest more than the others. I read an article that said they could be read in the order published and that re..."

Hi Joy, I heard that too about the characters, but since we obviously know what happened from history, I don't know if it would necessarily matter. I'm going to do a bit more searching on them this week and then I'll buy one of them next weekend. Do you mean you're going to read them chronologically in US history (thus starting with Burr, then Lincoln, then 1876) or in order of publication?


message 6: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 11789 comments Lori wrote: "Hi Joy, I heard that too about the characters, but since we obviously know what happened from history, I don't know if it would necessarily matter. I'm going to do a bit more searching on them this week and then I'll buy one of them next weekend. Do you mean you're going to read them chronologically in US history (thus starting with Burr, then Lincoln, then 1876) or in order of publication?"

We may know the real history, but we don't know anything about the fictitious characters which Gore Vidal has created. I think I'd like to know their story from the beginning.

I'm going to start with Burr, then Lincoln, etc. But if I get bogged down, I might throw in the towel. :)


message 7: by Lori (last edited Aug 30, 2009 08:22AM) (new)

Lori Joy, The only thing about the fictitious characters is that Vidal didn't publish the books in order, but I'm not sure how isolated their (the fictitious characters) narratives are. I'm waiting on my history professor, who has read some Vidal books, to let me know whether order matters. The only reason I don't want to read them in order is that the books about the 20th century interest me more than the 19th century ones. I feel that I will be more likely to read all 7 books if I thoroughly enjoy the first one I read and I believe I will have a better chance of that enjoyment if I read about the 20th century first.

I guess it would be an interesting experiment for us to read them in a different order and then compare notes.


Added later: Joy, I think I am going to read the books in the order they were published. I'll start with Washington, D.C. A Novel, then I'll read Burr A Novel, 1876 A Novel, Lincoln A Novel, Empire A Novel, Hollywood and lastly, The Golden Age A Novel. My professor has read 2 of these books and they weren't in any sort of order, so I'm guessing that the fictional narrative won't completely fall apart if they're read in any order. It will be interesting to compare my experience with the series with yours, if you read them in historical order. Happy reading!


message 8: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 11789 comments Lori wrote: "Joy, The only thing about the fictitious characters is that Vidal didn't publish the books in order, but I'm not sure how isolated their (the fictitious characters) narratives are. I'm waiting on..."

Lori, Thanks for the information. I understand the reason for your decision to start with Vidal's "Washington, D.C.".

Another member here has said that he liked Vidal's "Golden Age" best of all the books he's read in the series. See his message at the following topic: ====>
http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1...
(See his post #7. It explains the reason for his choice.)

I'll let you know how I'm doing with "Burr" as soon as I get a handle on it. This is an interesting experiment.


message 9: by Lori (last edited Aug 30, 2009 01:11PM) (new)

Lori Joy, It's going to be a while before I'm able to start Washington, D.C. A Novel because I had to order it from Amazon. It's apparently not carried in any bookstores near here (but the nice thing about ordering from Amazon is that I'll be able to make sure all of the books will be uniform). I read an Amazon review of the book and someone said it's a good introduction to the rest of the series, despite its place in history. I'm really looking forward to how this goes! Burr A Novel will be the second book I tackle.


message 10: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Aug 30, 2009 02:00PM) (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 11789 comments Lori wrote: "Joy, It's going to be a while before I'm able to start Washington, D.C. A Novel because I had to order it from Amazon. It's apparently not carried in any bookstores near here (but t..."

Oh boy, Lori, ... _Washington, D.C._ ... right into the midst of the politics! That certainly should be an interesting book. From his audio, I get the impression that Vidal likes to dish the dirt. :) He tells so many behind the scenes stories.


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Books mentioned in this topic

The Golden Age (other topics)
Lincoln (other topics)
Empire (other topics)
1876 (other topics)
Burr (other topics)
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Gore Vidal (other topics)