Gore Vidal biography

Author Biography  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

Gore Vidal

Gore Vidal

How to pronounce Gore Vidal: gore (hard g) vi-DAHL

Gore Vidal Biography

During Gore Vidal's six decade career he wrote many novels, essays, television plays and film scripts. He authored around 30 novels, eight plays, many screenplays, more than two hundred essays and a memoir - Palimpsest, which was published in 1995 and focused on his boyhood love, Jimmie Trimble, who was killed at Iwo Jima.

He was born Eugene Luther Gore Vidal in 1925 at the United States Military Academy at West Point where his father, Gene Vidal, was an aeronautics instructor.  As a teenager he adopted the first name of Gore.  His parents divorced in 1935, and his mother married Hugh Auchincloss, hence Gore Vidal acquired a stepfather in common with Jacqueline Kennedy.  He spent much of his childhood in Washington with his blind grandfather, Senator Thomas Pryor Gore of Oklahoma from whom Vidal learned the ins and outs of political life.  After graduating from Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, where he was considered a mediocre student, he joined the United States Army Reserve Corps and served on army transports in the Aleutian Islands in World War II.

His first novel, Williwaw, written when he was nineteen years old and serving in the Army, appeared in the spring of 1946.  It was was based on his wartime experiences as first mate on Freight Ship 35 in the Alaskan Harbour Craft Detachment, and included an openly gay character. The book's success was helped by Eleanor Roosevelt' support in her influential newspaper column.

Over the following years Vidal published a number of novels in his own name including The City and the Pillar in 1948, which created controversy as the first major American novel to feature unambiguous homosexuality.  He also wrote a number of novels using the pseudonyms Katherine Everard, Cameron Kay and Edgar Box (detective books).

He ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1960 and then returned to writing.  He published Julian in 1964, and then a trilogy of novels set in Washington, DC, followed by a number of stand-alone novels.  His most famous novel is Myra Breckinridge (1968), a transsexual comedy parodying the cult of the Hollywood film star, dedicated to Christopher Isherwood. A sequel, Myron, was published in 1974.

In 1972 he moved to Ravello on the Italian Amalfi coast.  In 1982 he launched campaign in California for the US senate, and came in second out of a field of nine. 

He sold his home in Ravello in 2003, after which he spent most of his time living in Los Angeles. In 2005, his life partner Howard Austen died and was followed by Vidal in July 2012.



This bio was last updated on 07/03/2016. In a perfect world, we would like to keep all of BookBrowse's biographies up to date, but with many thousands of lives to keep track of it's simply impossible to do. So, if the date of this bio is not recent, you may wish to do an internet search for a more current source, such as the author's website or social media presence. If you are the author or publisher and would like us to update this biography, send the complete text and we will replace the old with the new.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Books by this Author

Books by Gore Vidal at BookBrowse
The Selected Essays of Gore Vidal jacket Point to Point Navigation jacket The Golden Age jacket
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Gore Vidal but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • T.C. Boyle

    T.C. Boyle

    T. Coraghessan Boyle is the author of twenty-eight books of fiction, including, most recently, After the Plague (2001), Drop City (2003), The Inner Circle (2004), Tooth and Claw (2005), The Human Fly (2005), Talk Talk (2006),... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Golden Age

    Try:
    Drop City
    by T.C. Boyle

  • E.L. Doctorow

    E.L. Doctorow

    Named for Edgar Allan Poe, Edgar Lawrence Doctorow occupies a central position in the history of American literature. On a shortlist that might also include Philip Roth, Toni Morrison, John Updike, Saul Bellow, and Don ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Golden Age

    Try:
    City of God
    by E.L. Doctorow

We recommend 6 similar authors

View all 6 Readalikes

Non-members can see 2 results. Become a member
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

and discover exceptional books
for just $3.75 per month.

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket
    Some of It Was Real
    by Nan Fischer
    Nan Fischer is an Oregon Book Award finalist for her previous novels When Elephants Fly and The ...
  • Book Jacket: The Most Precious Substance on Earth
    The Most Precious Substance on Earth
    by Shashi Bhat
    Think of all the worst parts of puberty — all the moments you partially miss or brood about ...
  • Book Jacket
    Lightning Strike
    by William Kent Krueger
    It is the summer of 1963 in Tamarack County, Minnesota. Just outside the small town of Aurora, ...
  • Book Jacket: Bitch
    Bitch
    by Lucy Cooke
    In middle school biology class, many of us were told that men hunt and women nest, that testosterone...

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Dirt Creek
    by Hayley Scrivenor

    "A heart-wrenching mystery, Scrivenor's remarkable sense of place brings Dirt Creek to life. A stellar debut."
    —Jane Harper,

  • Book Jacket

    Widowland
    by C. J. Carey

    A thrilling feminist dystopian novel set in an alternate 1950s Britain under the control of the Third Reich.

Who Said...

Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you'd rather have been talking

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

I Wishes W H B W R

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.