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This Author: Gore Vidal
This Narrator: Dan Cashman
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The Last Empire by Gore Vidal

The Last Empire

Essays 1992-2000

by Gore Vidal


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Like his National Book Award—winning United States, Gore Vidal’s scintillating ninth collection, The Last Empire, affirms his reputation as our most provocative critic and observer of the modern American scene. In the essays collected here, Vidal brings his keen intellect, experience, and razor-edged wit to bear on an astonishing range of subjects. From his celebrated profiles of Clare Boothe Luce and Charles Lindbergh and his controversial essay about the Bill of Rights–which sparked an extended correspondence with convicted Oklahoma City Bomber Timothy McVeigh–to his provocative analyses of literary icons such as John Updike and Mark Twain and his trenchant observations about terrorism, civil liberties, the CIA, Al Gore, Tony Blair, and the Clintons, Vidal weaves a rich tapestry of personal anecdote, critical insight, and historical detail. Written between the first presidential campaign of Bill Clinton and the electoral crisis of 2000, The Last Empire is a sweeping coda to the last century’s conflicted vision of the American dream.


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LOLDavid
Reviewer LOLDavid
 February 17, 2006
Listening to Gore Vidal essays was a great way to be introduced to his vast intelligence, as he checks the pulse of America throughout the 1990s. I passed over some of his portraits of artists, but was engrossed by the second half of this collection which was basically all related to American politics. Because of his deep knowledge of American history, he is able to cut to the roots of our current American Empire (which he traces back to Harry Truman and the start of the military industrial complex and the Cold War). Vidal’s essays overlap each other with the scarcely known, but uncontroversial facts of modern day America. He feels that due to our mounting debts, our politically disillusioned citizenry, our illegal meddlings into the affairs of foreign countries, and our destructive vested interests in the military, prisons, and other corporate entities, inevitably we are a superpower in decline, unless we somehow break apart the wealthy elite tyranny that controls our public policy and attempt to return power to the states, the people, and the American Republic that Vidal loved. His prose is very straightforward and matter of fact, and Dan Cashman’s narration of Vidal’s essays is some of the best narration I’ve heard. It literally seems as if Vidal is talking to us rather than a narrator reading to us.

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  • Published: 2001
  • LearnOutLoud.com Product ID: T004650
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159007047X