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I liked Vidal's book The Golden Age enough to try some of his history. This book is recent and seems built up from the extensive work he has done on the early Republic and its leaders. Again, Vidal makes nearly every other sentence cynical or ironic, or smartalecky. At first this put me off, but after a few chapter I got used to it. There is not really much here I didn't already know, as this book is kind of an introduction to the founding fathers (centering on Washington, Madison, and Jefferson). It is clear that Vidal stands in awe of these figures, even as he exposes their very human failings and contradictions. Hamilton gets a lot of coverage (mostly in his role as a British spy), and this has gotten my interest enough to consider looking into a book just on this topic. Vidal on the one hand makes clear Hamilton's founding of the American economy, but of course to Vidal this is not such a good thing.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
I love Gore Vidal and American history. Listening to him discuss various aspects of our history, official and unofficial, with little asides and gossip, is an absolute pleasure. One reviewer called it a "pontification", and I agree -- but am so pleased to just curl up and listen to such a brilliant mind pontificate! Its a joy. But the work IS complex so be prepared to give it your full attention.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful