NPR : Fresh Air

Fresh Air Remembers Writer And Critic Gore Vidal

Play associated audio

In Gore Vidal's New York Times obituary, Charles McGrath described the writer as "the elegant, acerbic all around man of letters who presided with a certain relish over what he declared to be the end of American civilization." Vidal died Tuesday at the age of 86.

Some of the books Vidal became best known for were historical novels including Burr and Lincoln. As Reed Johnson wrote in the Los Angeles Times, "Vidal's revisionist outlook struck some critics as brilliant and others as almost gleefully perverse."

Vidal's satirical novel Myra Breckinridge is believed to be the first novel to feature a transsexual. His plays include the political drama The Best Man, which is currently back on Broadway, and his screenplays include Ben Hur. He wrote many provocative essays, ran for office twice — and lost — and frequently appeared on TV talk shows, where he famously sparred with William Buckley and Norman Mailer.

Vidal described himself as obsessed with America; his grandfather was a senator and his father served in Roosevelt's Cabinet. Terry Gross spoke with Vidal in 1988 and 1992. Fresh Air remembers the writer and critic with excerpts from those two interviews.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit


In The 'Golden Age Of Television,' Advertising Intersects With Programming

NPR's Robert Siegel speaks with New Yorker television critic Emily Nussbaum about her essay on the new model of advertising in the so-called "golden age of television."

California City Orders Restaurants To Use Disposable Plates, Cups

Officials in Fort Bragg also ordered restaurants to serve water to customers only upon request. As part of a stage 3 water emergency, things like washing cars using city water are prohibited, too.

The Year In Space: U.S., Russian Spacefarers On The International Station

NPR's Kelly McEvers speaks with NASA Commander Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko, who are spending the year on the International Space Station.

Why You Should Keep A Tighter Grip On Airline Boarding Passes

You might want to think twice before shoving that boarding pass into the seat pocket in front of you. Security reporter Brian Krebs says there could be sensitive information on it.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.