The Golden Age

  • by Gore Vidal
  • Narrated by Anne Twomey
  • 17 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The Golden Age is a vibrant tapestry of American political and cultural life from 1939 to 1954, when the epochal events of World War II and the Cold War transformed America, once and for all, for good or ill, from a republic into an empire. The sharp-eyed and sympathetic witnesses to these events are Caroline Sanford, Washington, D.C., newspaper publisher turned Hollywood pioneer producer-star, and Peter Sanford, her nephew and publisher of the independent intellectual journal The American Idea. They experience at first hand the masterful maneuvers of Franklin Roosevelt to bring a reluctant nation into World War II, and later, the actions of Harry Truman that commit the nation to a decades-long twilight struggle against communism. The locus of these events is Washington, D.C., yet the Hollywood film industry and the cultural centers of New York also play significant parts. The Golden Age offers up United States history as only Gore Vidal can, with unrivaled penetration, wit, and high drama, allied to a classical view of human fate. It is a supreme entertainment that will also change listeners' understanding of American history and power.

More

See More Like This

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

The Great American Aristocracy

I have never found Gore Vidal easy to read, but I do get a lot from his books. Listening wasn't much easier. There is a great deal of valuable information in this book and I am glad I stuck with it. He gives a great view of the Great American Aristocracy that came to an end with WWII.
Read full review

- JR

remarkable novel, remarkable history

Writers of historical fiction should take notes on Vidal's excellent ability to relate history through snappy dialogue and description that is neither didactic nor pedantic. This is also a fast-paced listen, unlike much historical fiction.

I thought "Golden Age" excellent for its reflection on history/historiography, on America as Empire, and also as a novel in its own right - It seems to be both a modern novel and postmodern at the same time, by a novelist who was a minor actor in the events woven into novel.

One downside to the audiobook: I almost gave up on the listen in the first hours - the narrator seemed to have mastered neither the cadence of Vidal's sentences nor the voices of a couple of the characters, so she seemed to insert herself between listener and novel -- but that resolved by hour three.

Imagine! A novelist warning - in 2000 - about Presidents who trick the American public into supporting an unwanted war - not to mention the military-industrial-entertainment complex's use of drug wars and terrorism to maintain a constant state of mobilization for war - all related in an entertaining story. Vidal manages to relate not only the fictional elements but also the known history in a suspenseful manner.

Not everyone will agree with Vidal's ideas on American history, but he does argue for a view that is widely supported by professional historians.
Read full review

- connie "Narrative makes the world go round."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-24-2001
  • Publisher: Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio