A collection of essays taken from 40 years of the author's work. It is divided into three sections: State of the Art , which covers literature; State of the Union , which deals with politics and public life; and State of Being , which gives his personal responses to people and events.
Gore Vidal's reputation as 'America's finest essayist' is an enduring one. This collection, chosen by the author from 40 years of work, contains about two-thirds of what he published in various magazines and journals. He has divided the essays into three categories, or states. State of the art covers literature, including novelists and critics, bestsellers, pieces on Henry James, Oscar Wilde, Suetonius, Nabakov and Montaigne (a previosly uncollected essay from 1992). State of the union deals with politics and public life: sex, drugs, money, Abraham Lincoln, Eleanor Roosevelt, 'The Holy Family' (his essay on the Kennedys), Nixon, and finally 'Monotheism and its Discontents', a scathing critique of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. In state of being, we are given personal responses to people and events: recollections of his childhood, E. Nesbit, Tarzan, Tennessee Williams and Anais Nin.
Magnificent...irresistable from beginning to end. - THE TIMES
All the Vidals are on display in this glittering showcase... Long may he continue to nip and bite at the flanks of the corrupt, the powerful, the moronic and the self-serving. - GUARDIAN
The arc and span of Vidal's erudition and intelligence are prodigious... for forty years it has been Vidal's vocation to restore a witty and classically literate sense of memory and historical continuity to a country he calls "Amnesia" - INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY
Vidal is the outstanding literary radical of America. - Melvyn Bragg