Inventing A Nation by Gore Vidal
Washington, Adams, Jefferson

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Gore Vidal, one of the master stylists of American literature and one of the most acute observers of American life and history, turns his immense literary and historiographic talent to a portrait of the formidable trio of George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson.

In Inventing a Nation, Vidal transports the reader into the minds, the living rooms (and bedrooms), the convention halls, and the salons of Washington, Jefferson, Adams, and others. We come to know these men, through Vidal’s splendid and percipient prose, in ways we have not up to now—their opinions of each other, their worries about money, their concerns about creating a viable democracy. Vidal brings them to life at the key moments of decision in the birthing of our nation. He also illuminates the force and weight of the documents they wrote, the speeches they delivered, and the institutions of government by which we still live. More than two centuries later, America is still largely governed by the ideas championed by this triumvirate.


About Gore Vidal

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Gore Vidal is the author of many bestselling novels including Julian, Burr, Myra Breckinridge, and Lincoln. He lives in Italy.
Published October 1, 2008 by Yale University Press. 205 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, War, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Inventing A Nation

Publishers Weekly

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Vidal's antipathy toward the "American Empire" and contempt for the American public drips thick from his sentences and shows up frequently in annoying parenthetical asides and interjected screeds.

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Star Tribune

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Of course just as Vidal's novels "Burr" and "Lincoln" are certainly not meant as biographies, "Inventing a Nation: Washington, Adams, Jefferson" is peppered with customary Vidalian barbs and should not be read as straight-faced history.

Dec 09 2003 | Read Full Review of Inventing A Nation: Washingto...


Gore Vidal's style of writing makes for an easy and intriguing read that will please even readers who tend to avoid the nonfiction genre.

Mar 01 2012 | Read Full Review of Inventing A Nation: Washingto...

The Sydney Morning Herald

Hamilton had been Washington's chief aide during the war and there were even rumours that Washington was his true father.

Mar 20 2004 | Read Full Review of Inventing A Nation: Washingto...

London Review of Books

It’s quite a trick to seize power in every corner of American politics – as conservatives have in the past decade – only to announce loudly that things were never worse.

Oct 18 2007 | Read Full Review of Inventing A Nation: Washingto...

The New York Review of Books

In his surprisingly sympathetic article on Gore Vidal’s latest book [“A Tract for the Times,” NYR, December 18, 2003] Edmund S.

Mar 11 2004 | Read Full Review of Inventing A Nation: Washingto...

My only complaint with the book -- a minor point, really -- is that Vidal refers to Jefferson's Democratic-Republican Party (today the longest surviving political party in world history, the Democratic Party, having dropped the "Republican" part of their name in the 1830s) by the then-common shor...

Jun 08 2004 | Read Full Review of Inventing A Nation: Washingto...

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