Empire: A Novel

Front Cover
Ballantine Books, 1987 - Fiction - 473 pages
4 Reviews
In this extraordinarily powerful epic Gore Vidal re-creates America's Gilded Age -- a period of promise and possibility, of empire-building and fierce political rivalries. While America struggles to define its destiny, beautiful and ambitious Caroline Sanford fights to control her own fate. One of Vidal's most inspired creations, she is an embodiment of the complex, vigorous young nation. From the back offices of her Washington newspaper, Caroline confronts the two men who threaten to thwart her ambition: William Randolph Hearst and his protege, Blaise Sanford, Caroline's half brother. The fortunes of this sister and brother intertwine with the fates of the generation, their country, and some of the greatest names of their day, including President McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, William Jennings Bryant, William and Henry James, the Astors, the Vanderbilts, and the Whitneys. Gore Vidal sweeps us from the nineteenth century into the twentieth, from the salvaged republic of Lincoln to a nation boldly reaching for the world. A stunning and brilliantly imagined portrait of turn-of-the-century America.

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User Review  - dbsovereign - LibraryThing

Stick it through and you may survive. Vidal's brand of historical fiction where Hearst and Roosevelt confront each other is interesting. Not my favorite of his (I prefer _Lincoln_ and _1876_ of his historical novels), but still inserts us into a very human story. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - YossarianXeno - LibraryThing

This political saga is sparingly written given the scope of the events it addresses, chronicling the interaction between the fledgling popular press and US politics in the decades immediately before ... Read full review

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About the author (1987)

Gore Vidal was born Eugene Luther Gore Vidal Jr. on October 3, 1925 at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York. He did not go to college but attended St. Albans School in Washington and graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire in 1943. He enlisted in the Army, where he became first mate on a freight supply ship in the Aleutian Islands. His first novel, Williwaw, was published in 1946 when he was twenty-one years old and working as an associate editor at the publishing company E. P. Dutton. The City and the Pillar was about a handsome, athletic young Virginia man who gradually discovers that he is homosexual, which caused controversy in the publishing world. The New York Times refused to advertise the novel and gave a negative review of it and future novels. He had such trouble getting subsequent novels reviewed that he turned to writing mysteries under the pseudonym Edgar Box and then gave up novel-writing altogether for a time. Once he moved to Hollywood, he wrote television dramas, screenplays, and plays. His films included I Accuse, Suddenly Last Summer with Tennessee Williams, Is Paris Burning? with Francis Ford Coppola, and Ben-Hur. His most successful play was The Best Man, which he also adapted into a film. He started writing novels again in the 1960's including Julian, Washington, D.C., Myra Breckenridge, Burr, Myron, 1876, Lincoln, Hollywood, Live From Golgotha: The Gospel According to Gore Vidal, and The Golden Age. He also published two collections of essays entitled The Second American Revolution, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism in 1982 and United States: Essays 1952-1992. In 2009, he received the National Book Awards lifetime achievement award. He died from complications of pneumonia on July 31, 2012 at the age of 86.

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