Washington D.C. (Narratives of Empire #6)
Widely regarded as Vidal's ultimate comment on how the American political system degrades those who participate in ...more
"The apes have always governed us, and our complaints are simply monkey chatter."
The local library had a fistful of Gore Vidal's to pick from, but I had already decided I was going to pick up this novel for several reasons. First, it is the first novel in the Narratives of Empire series. Second, it was published in 1967. The year of my birth. It is interesting for me to see what was published, and what was on the minds of the people the year I was born. Third, I own a signed first edition that ...more
Now? Washington D.C reeked of hyperbole; a kiss and tell where Vidal begs with glee, look at me. The novel is a settling of scores poised between ludicrous coincidences. A moldy snapshot of cocktail parties and dirty deeds. It is a Jackie Collins for the Beltway. Now I'm not so sure. If Gore comes a knocking, I'll gird myself, stay dressed, but ab ...more
Despite the numerous entertaining romances and scandals that fill its pages, the book is fundamentally a meditation on the nature of p ...more
If there is one thing that I take away from Gore Vidal's political treatises in the Narratives of Empire, it is that nothing ever changes. Despite being set during the period of the Second World War (the late 1930's through the early 1950's), and written/published in the mid 1960's, the scandals, intrigues, betrayals, and political maneuverings read as if they had been ripped from the modern day headlines. apparently politics has always been as corrupt and politicians as self serving as they are...more
It won't come as a surpri ...more
That said, Vidal is still a superb writer, and still manages to provide great insight into a period of politics and American history. This is a good and relatively quick read.
1) Plot (3 stars) – In manipulative, superficial Washington DC of the 1940s, one man strives to rise up the political system while those around him react to his wake. I wrote react because that’s really what this book is about – a bunch of reactions, not actions. It’s intriguing, and at times insightful, but there’s not a lot of action that pushes the narrative forward.
2) Characters (3 stars) – There’s Clay, the ambitious l ...more
Vidal christens his homeland as "possibly the last empire on earth" in this novel, but I can't say I agree with him there. I think he was right though in suggesting that the future of America would be all downhill from here.
My had read five of the other seven books of the series b ...more
The reason for this is that Gore Vidal has no compassion for his characters, and ...more
He outlines the broad story of Washington DC families intertwined with politics, their behavior, their motivations, their ambitions, their status. Heavy on family rather than legislative politics, the book skewers our country’s self-serving leaders by giving us a fictionalized glimpse behind the curtain. Broad strokes through about 5 or 6 different sections ...more
i was infatuated w ...more
“Започвам да пиша за тази книга с леко недоволство. Очаквах повече, много повече, особено след великолепната публицистика на "Вечна война за вечен мир", но се оказа, че литературната версия на раждането на американската империя ми се стори безинтересна и скучна.
Историята. Гор Видал проследява няколко десетилетия от американската история - от 30-те до 60-те, - в които се фокусира върху ск ...more
"But then the old hands knew that to rise, the ambitious politician must be careful not to do anything that might in any way cause distress or alarm. So far none realized that Clay's dim record was ...more
As with all Vidal's books on American History, Washington, D.C. is filled with biting wit and it brings well known political figures in our country's history to life. This inside l ...more
I like Vidal's politics even though I don't 100% agree with him (he's a little obsessed with the idea that the "old Republic" pre-FDR was the best thing that ever happened to the world), but there wasn't much else of interest in the book... interesting to notice the ways that politics and DC political culture have and haven't changed over the ...more
I picked this up at the library one day when I was feeling like my knowledge of American political history was lacking. I haven't given up on Gore for his ability to tell that story, but I'll use a little more caution next time.
Vidal ran for political office twi ...more