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The Gore Supremacy (Kindle Single) by [Wolcott, James]
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The Gore Supremacy (Kindle Single) Kindle Edition

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Length: 17 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Novelist, essayist, memoirist, playwright, screenwriter, actor, sexual liberationist, traitor to his class, balloon-popper of the pious and pretentious, the country’s last true man of letters (they should now retire the title), Gore Vidal belonged to the Greatest Generation of American authors, and was the last great one to go. (He died on July 31st, 2012 at the age of 86.) The triumphant arc of Vidal’s literary career wasn’t solely a mastery of language, though that never hurts. Handsome, poised, slim, charismatic, able to hold his own in verbal fisticuffs without losing his imperious cool, Vidal was the premiere star author of his generation, the one who elevated the role of talk-show guest to a command performance--a theatrical event. He brought the electronic crackle of the TV screen to his prose and the tactical precision of his prose to combat debate on TV. His near-violent altercations on camera with William F. Buckley, Jr. and Norman Mailer are the stuff of YouTube legend and the secret to The Gore Supremacy.

A contributing writer to Vanity Fair, a partisan observer of pop culture, and the author of the New York-in-the-70s memoir Lucking Out (which comes out in paperback this fall), James Wolcott has been a closeup observer of Vidal on-camera and off for more years than seems respectable. This, his first Kindle Single, is his way of paying homage--and saying goodbye.

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  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 108 KB
  • Print Length: 17 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008YOJRW6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #348,878 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa1c96d28) out of 5 stars 33 reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa0875660) out of 5 stars An Essay Vidal Would Have Enjoyed Aug. 18 2012
By Seth M Guggenheim - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
So much has been written about Vidal through the years, and especially after he passed on this July. This essay is a true standout, though, and its engaging prose will edify Vidalophiles and newcomers to Vidal alike. Wolcott, naturally, refers to the oft-told stories of Vidal's public scrapes with the likes of Mailer and Buckley, but he does not dwell on them. Wolcott places Vidal in context, and makes the reader yearn for the days when David Susskind sat in a cloud of cigarette smoke on his show with the likes of Susan Sontag, and when Dick Cavett engaged his guests in discussions worth listening to. What I especially appreciate, in a goosebumpy kind of way, is Wolcott's deliberate refusal to immerse us in the products of Vidal's unfortunate mental decline toward the end of his life. This is not a fawning tribute; it is a fair one and one which Vidal himself would have appreciated.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa07af0b0) out of 5 stars "Words seldom failed Gore Vidal" Aug. 19 2012
By J. Chambers - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
Whether you were a fan of Gore Vidal or not, it was hard to ignore him. As one of the rising stars of the literary world after World War II, he was one of the generation of writers who became as comfortable in front of a TV camera as he was with a typewriter. As well known as he would become for his novels and stage plays, Vidal is perhaps even better known for his classic TV appearances. I'm old enough to actually remember the 1968 Democratic Convention when Vidal and William F. Buckley Jr. faced off as political commentators, and the head-to-head with Norman Mailer on the Dick Cavett Show a few years later. That era of TV has long since ended (how many authors have you seen on talk shows lately?), but James Wolcott has captured the essence of the times in the Kindle Single "The Gore Supremacy." Vidal described his personal credo as "Never say no to sex or appearing on television."

Obviously a fan of Gore Vidal, Wolcott rehashes the highlights of Vidal's tumultuous career, including the rejection and blackballing his early gay novels received from mainstream reviewers. Vidal forged ahead, however, eventually achieving mainstream acceptance and popularity. But he never cared about being liked, preferring to sit on his throne "dispensing papal benediction to those who came to pay homage."

A very readable account of Gore Vidal, a one of a kind character.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa06c17f8) out of 5 stars In the tank for Vidal and Wolcott Aug. 27 2012
By Gerald Howard - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As the title of this review indicates, caveat lector: I was Gore Vidal's last book editor and am James Wolcott's current one. Fair warning! But I want to tell prospective readers that this is a lovely, eloquent and touchingly elegaic piece of writing, one that not only captures Vidal in all his singularity (while not shining off his flaws) , but that mourns the passing of the literary culture in which such a figure could flourish. It is the best such piece produced since Gore Vidal left the building.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa08093b4) out of 5 stars A tender, lingering voice Aug. 19 2012
By Paul Reece - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
In all of his reasonable and warranted lamentations on the passing of the last master, Wolcott has overlooked a voice that keeps us all listening despite a year of tragic literary losses. It is his own.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa1977894) out of 5 stars Gore, who I met once or twice Sept. 21 2012
By esarfjames - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
This essay by James Wolcoat is rather bland overview of the writer's opinion about the great American man of ideas, Gore Vidal. Vidal took an insider's outside look of American society. Born into the right, but not quite so right, upperclass WASP society, Vidal formed an objective viewpoint of American society, particulary towards politics and social order. The review begins quite sharply with Mr Wolcot's first viewing of Mr. Vidal and his barbed battle with William F. Buckley, Jr., which sets the reader up for a sparkling review of the wit and wisdom of the great essayist and writer. There is a respectful and somewhat enlightened coverage of Vidal's earlier works, such as the adolescent Williwaw, and the popular and shockingly (for a postwar nation) hilarious, Myra Breckenridge. Wolcot's book seems more nostalgic for an age gone by, than by the poignant growth of a writer who matured during that emerging period. Although Vidal did titilate us with societal gems of his relations with Jackie O., Truman Capote, Norman Mailer and other celebrities, I found that more like icing on the cake than the vision of the sage that played in that cultural circus. In both Gore Vidal's personal and professional life, and those who lived it with him,Vidal's analysis of our society progressed, often far more than society at large did. Vidal gave us insight into our nation's history, and through his enlightened vision may just haved helped us understand our country objectively and begin to mature us all. Above all, Vidal knew the folly of mankind, but, I do think, he had hope for the goodness and intelligence of us all.