The essays collected here all appeared in The Nation magazine between 1958 and 2005. The early literary ones reflected Vidal’s status as a rising young novelist of the postwar generation, and as he expanded confidently into nonfiction, his essays range widely over politics, religion, society, manners and morals. We see him emerge as the pre-eminent essayist of his generation, winning a 1993 Nation Book Award for a collection of nonfiction works.
Vidal’s Nation years—his Golden Age at the magazine—really commenced in 1981 when Victor Navasky invited him to become a contributing editor. Gore’s first contribution, “Some Jews and the Gays,” would be his most explosive one. This collection exemplifies his critical vision in great works like “Requiem for the American Empire,” “Monotheism and Its Discontents,” “Notes on Our Patriarchal State,” and the delightful “Birds and the Bees” with its Monica–Lewinsky era sequel, “The Birds and the Bees and Clinton.”
Prepare to have your preconceptions challenged. Prepare also to smile or laugh out loud.