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Publisher's Summary

The third volume of Gore Vidal's magnificent series of historical novels aimed at demythologizing the American past, 1876 chronicles the political scandals and dark intrigues that rocked the United States in its centennial year.

Charles Schermerhorn Schuyler, Aaron Burr's unacknowledged son, returns to a flamboyant America after his long, self-imposed European exile. The narrator of Burr has come home to recoup a lost fortune by arranging a suitable marriage for his beautiful daughter, the widowed Princess d'Agrigente, and by ingratiating himself with Samuel Tilden, the favored presidential candidate in the centennial year. With these ambitions and with their own abundant charms, Schuyler and his daughter soon find themselves at the centers of American social and political power at a time when the fading ideals of the young republic were being replaced by the excitement of empire.

"A glorious piece of writing," said Jimmy Breslin in Harper's. "Vidal can take history and make it powerful and astonishing." Time concurred: "Vidal has no peers at breathing movement and laughter into the historical past."

©1976 Gore Vidal (P)2019 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

What listeners say about 1876: A Novel

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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I'm devoted to this series

Gore Vidal's Narratives of Empire are highly readable political and social histories of the United States. Witty, ironic, pragmatic tales that strip away the myths and help us better understand what we've always been about.

8 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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I have never hated such well written characters

The main character and his psycho daughter are both unsufferable hypocritical assholes. Good writing though.

5 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Disappointing

I loved Burr and Lincoln but this book was a real disappointment. Until the last two hours of the 16 hour book nothing much of interest really happens except endless dinners and judgmental conversations and observations. I was ready for the book to end when it finally got interesting. I really liked the fictional character Charlie in Burr but not as much in this book and really disliked his fictional princess daughter.

2 people found this helpful

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Weak as a stand alone, but worthwhile.

This book is the third in the Narratives of Empire series. I’m enjoying the series, but this book doesn’t do well as a stand-alone.

On the other hand, it’s a story of political corruption at the highest level, very reminiscent of today. It’s striking to listen to the parallels between the news of today and from 1876.

As always, Vidal’s writing is pleasing to follow. The performer did a wonderful job, particularly with all the accents. He played his part well.

2 people found this helpful

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Gore and Grover Deliver

Gore Vidal's slightly arch characters and observations make history as varied and amusing as I hope it was. Hearing of all the machinations behind the stolen election of 1876, makes the elections of 2016 and 2020 seem part of the American way of democracy. Grover Gardner delivers another wonderful performance, creating specific and effective characters for all the guys in those smoke filled rooms.... and a few ladies too. I highly highly recommend this as well as Burr and Lincoln. Looking forward to Empire, Hollywood, and the Golden Age.

1 person found this helpful

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Just Okay

Having listened to and loved "Burr", I went ahead and purchased the rest of the series. Unfortunately, this volume lacks the irreverent wit that I so loved in Burr. This installment is just "okay" in my opinion. Serviceable, but not stellar. The details about the election count and recount gets mind numbingly tedious toward the end of the book.

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My First Vidal Book

This is art. Every shade and stroke make it both informative and entertaining. This book, in particular, is relevant for 2021 readers.

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Another Strong Vidal Story, Great Narration

Another richly textured, gorgeously written and darkly comic entry from Vidal. This one suffers a bit by not having a clear historical character to focus on like BURR and LINCOLN, and much of the plot went by before I realized what the main subject was even going to turn out to be. But the journey to get there was so well executed that I didn’t mind at all. There are a lot of truly great quotes in this one- the only thing I regret about reading it as an audiobook is that I couldn’t easily archive those moments. Gardner is excellent as always. [AUDIBLE]

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Truth is the necessary casualty

Although fundamentally a bleak view of the United States ten years after the civil war and a century after its foundation - a society ruled over by self satisfied, dull plutocrats, with a political life warped by corruption and a ruthless partisanship that cares nothing for the truth (seems familiar) - the tone of 1876 is mostly light and companionable.

This is not a great book and it is also far from being the author's best work. However it does have some interesting points to make about a time in American history now largely forgotten and it is easy to spend time with as it does so. As with the two earlier books in this series, the reading by Grover Gardner could not be better.

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Good, and "ton" Aplenty

I love the writing style and that it highlighted the presidential scandal of 1876. Republicans are not new to fixing elections and Florida has always been a problem with their returns. Still the story rambles and sometimes gets lost in unnecessary detail whilst trying to create universe.