6 March 2009

Thoughts On: Inventing A Nation: Washington, Adams, Jefferson, by Gore Vidal

I picked up Inventing A Nation because of my long-standing love of all things American Revolution and because I had not read Gore Vidal before.  Admittedly this minor work--short, prissy--was an easy first step into the man's writing, but it's probably not indicative of his best work.   It reads as the work a pretty old, cranky guy.






The book is built around an iconoclastic dissection of America's birthing pains between the tempests of 1776 and Washington's death at the end of the 18th century. Vidal is no different as a writer than he is as a public persona.  He dishes out the muck and abides no mythologizing.  Throughout, he makes obvious, snarky allusions to contemporary American politics. The book was written in the "oughts" decade and feels it.

On the other hand, did I read Vidal to get annotated, mind-numbing detail ? No, I actually didn't. For that I'll read the Joseph Ellis book, "Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation", if I can find the audio book.