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Publisher's Summary

It is 1917, and President Woodrow Wilson is about to lead the country into the Great War in Europe. In California, a new industry is born that will irreversibly transform America. Caroline Sanford, the alluring heroine of Empire, discovers the power of moving pictures to manipulate reality as she vaults to screen stardom under the name of Emma Traxler. Just as Caroline must balance her two lives - West Coast movie star and East Coast newspaper publisher and senator’s mistress - so too must America balance its two power centers: Hollywood and Washington. 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.

“Hollywood shimmers with the illusion of politics and the politics of illusion.” --Chicago Sun-Times

“A wonderfully literate and consistently impressive work of fiction that clearly belongs on a shelf with Vidal’s best.” --The New York Times Book Review

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

What listeners say about Hollywood: A Novel

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Clipped chapters

The ends of many of the chapters are clipped off. They stop mid- sentence and move straight to the next chapter.

19 people found this helpful

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Vidal and Gardner in Top Form

Another rich, sprawling and endlessly witty entry. Love the focus on moviemaking in this one, even if it often pushes the Washington intrigue to the background. Gardner is one of the best in the business, and his narration here does not disappoint. [AUDIBLE]

1 person found this helpful

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Elegant and witty history

Humanized W.G. Harding and illuminated Woodrow Wilson. Don't know how accurate the story was but it introduces the listener to many actual living people. The world was as crazy then as it is now

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Some gold, plenty of dross

Perhaps in an attempt to add a lighter touch to this penultimate book in his six book series about lives led in the shadow of the White House, here Vidal takes a major detour to Hollywood. This dream factory, in its infancy, he suggests is the new foundation for American hegemony. Shape the dreams of the world and an empire like no other will emerge, or so it could be.

As with the earlier books, the best of this one is its depiction of the hard politics in Washinton. It takes us into the inner workings of American politics during the Wilson and Harding presidencies, and is unfailingly shrewd and interesting as it does so. But, too often, he returns to the ever present society parties and then the shallow world of Hollywood.

There may be some truth in the Hollywood hegemony theory, but the book suffers by the lengthy and rather dull context provided as a frame for its illustration.

Again, the reading is simply superb.