I'm a real Gore Vidal fan, so loved this book. Historical fiction at its finest.
Gore Vidal is one of my favorite authors. His rapier writing style can skewer pomposity. The "Roaring Twenties" comes alive in this book.
The fifth novel in Gore Vidal's Narratives of Empire sequence (sixth, however, in order of publication) begins on the eve of American involvement in the First World War and ends shortly after the mysterious death of Warren G. Harding and ascension of the taciturn Calvin Coolidge to the presidency. Balanced against Gore's descriptions of all these political machinations is the story of newspaper publisher Caroline Sanford's foray into film acting, which places her in proximity to the scandals involving Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle and William Desmond Taylor. The cast of characters includes a young Franklin Delano Roosevelt--and his mistress, Lucy Mercer--and Vidal's maternal grandfather, Senator T.P. Gore. As always, the proceedings are enlivened by Vidal's caustic wit.
back cover: The breathtaking, dramatic story of the birth of American motion pictures, by the nation's reigning master of the historical novel, Gore Vidal.
In his brilliant and dazzling new novel, Gore Vidal sweeps us into one of the most fascinaitng periods of American political and social change. The time is 1917. In Washington, President Wilson is about to lead the United States into the Great War. In California, a new industry is born that will transform America: moving pictures. Into this world of yellow journalists, shameless propagandists, and child stars comes Caroline Sanford, who is "discovered", given a new name --Emma Traxler--and vaulted into stardom in Hollywood. Now, just as Caroline must balance her two lives--West Coast star and East Cost newspaper publisher and senator's mistress--so too must America balance its two power centers: Washington, D.C. and "exotic, erotic, sinful" Hollywood. As war takes its toll, as power shifts in Washington, as the Harding administration finds itself embroiled in corruption, Hollywood is perfecting the art of image making. Here is history as only Gore Vidal can re-create it: brimming with intrigue and scandal, peopled by the greats of the silver screen and American politics, from Charlie Chaplin and Douglas Fairbanks to Franklin D. Roosevelt and the author's own grandfather, the blind Senator Gore. With HOLLYWOOD, Vidal once again proves himself a superb storyteller and a perceptive chronicler of human nature's endless deceptions.
"Wicked and provocative...Vidal's purview of Hollywood in one of its golden ages is fascinating." Tom Tryon Chicago Tribune
A novel of America in the 1920's.