Gore Vidal – Novelist, essayist, screenwriter,
Internationally acclaimed author Gore Vidal
has enjoyed an eclectic and prolific writing career spanning six decades. A
called him "the best all-around American man of letters since Edmund
At age 19, while on an army ship in the Bering Sea, Vidal wrote the earliest of his 22
novels, Williwaw (1946), the first novel written about
World War II. In 1948, he published The City and
the Pillar, which sparked controversy with its frank
homosexual themes. After 11 more novels, he established his reputation in
the 1960s when he wrote three best-selling novels: Julian
D.C. (1967), and Myra
Breckinridge (1968), which was made into a film starring
and Mae West.
In the next few decades, Vidal wrote a
series of seven historical novels that he dubbed Narratives
of Empire: Washington
D.C. (1967), Burr
(1973), 1876 (1976), Lincoln
(1984), Empire (1987), Hollywood
(1990), and The Golden Age (2000).
Vidal also wrote five plays, including Visit to a
Small Planet, which became a successful Broadway play
starring Cyril Ritchard, after which it was made into a 1960 movie starring
Jerry Lewis; The Best Man
(1960), a successful Broadway play (revived in 2000), which was made into a
1964 film, for which Vidal wrote the screenplay, starring Henry Fonda and
Lee Tracy; and An Evening with Richard Nixon (1972).
In addition to the screenplays already
mentioned, Vidal also wrote several more, including The Catered
Affair (1956), I Accuse! (1958), The Scapegoat (1959), Suddenly
Last Summer (1959), and Is Paris
Burning? (1964, with Francis Ford Coppola).
He also wrote over a dozen teleplays,
including “Smoke” and “Barn Burning” (1954, both adapted from William
Faulkner stories), “A Sense of Justice” (1955), “The Turn of the Screw”
(1955, based on the Henry James story), “The Blue Hotel” (1955, adapted
from the Henry James novel), “A Farewell to Arms” (1955, adapted from the
Ernest Hemmingway novel), “The Death of Billy the Kid” (1955), and “The
Indestructible Mr. Gore” (1959).
Vidal on 9/11: After the 9/11
attacks, Vidal was the first major intellectual to suggest that the public
had not been told the full truth. In an October 2002 essay in London’s Observer, he wrote:
“Was Afghanistan . . . turned to
rubble in order to avenge the 3,000 Americans slaughtered by Osama? Hardly.
The administration is convinced that Americans are so simple-minded that
they can deal with no scenario more complex than the venerable lone, crazed
killer (this time with zombie helpers) who does evil just for the fun of it
'cause he hates us, 'cause we're rich 'n free 'n he's not. Osama was chosen
on aesthetic grounds to be the frightening logo for our long-contemplated
invasion and conquest of Afghanistan.
. . .
"Post-9/11, the American media were
filled with pre-emptory denunciations of unpatriotic `conspiracy
theorists', who not only are always with us but are usually easy for the
media to discredit since it is an article of faith that there are no
conspiracies in American life. . . .
“[T]he media were assigned their familiar
task of inciting public opinion against bin Laden, still not the proven
mastermind. . . . We were quickly assured that Osama's enormous family with
its enormous wealth had broken with him, as had the royal family of his
native Saudi Arabia.
The CIA swore, hand on heart, that Osama had not worked for them in the war
against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Finally, the
rumour that the Bush family had in any way profited by its long involvement
with the bin Laden family was-what else? Simply partisan bad taste.”
Vidal also published a little book in 2002
entitled Dreaming War: Blood for Oil and the Cheney-Bush Junta, in which he
pointed readers, including David Ray Griffin, to Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed’s 2002 book, The
War on Freedom: How and Why America Was Attacked September 11, 2001,
which Vidal called “the best, most balanced report, thus far.” Vidal
thereby played an important role in the early days of the 9/11 Truth
Gore Vidal for
Re-Investigating 9/11 (Video: April 2008)
9/11 Truth: Gore
Vidal recommends 'The New Pearl Harbor'
Bio: PBS Bio - Gore Vidal