My fascination with two towering and toweringly problematic white, male, America intellectuals (Jefferson and Vidal) continues. People, I think, get my interest in Jefferson (which arguably dates back to a visit to Monticello with my mother when I was in elementary school), but Vidal continues to be get confused shrugs from my friends and family.

Elegiac. Remembrances of people lost. He is in his late sixties as he writes it, but sounds much older. His name dropping feels less pretentious and his poison pen less malicious than usual.

Early on, he notes that he has his grandfather’s imperious ponch, but that unlike that statesman, his is fueled by alcohol consumption. I noted this bit of honesty because I have read that in his last years, he suffered from dementia brought on by alcoholism.

He seems to have almost forgiven Kennedy for betraying him, politically, as he saw it (believing that Kennedy, after getting us into Vietnam, would have escalated as surely as Johnson did) and to look kindly on Jackie Kennedy.

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