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Burr: A Novel af Gore Vidal
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Burr: A Novel (original 1973; udgave 2000)

af Gore Vidal

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
2,073455,763 (3.95)79
A fictional memoir illuminating Aaron Burr's life and times, highlighting his political accomplishments and fatal duel with Alexander Hamilton.
Medlem:mcenroeucsb
Titel:Burr: A Novel
Forfattere:Gore Vidal
Info:Vintage (2000), Edition: First Vintage International Edition, Paperback, 448 pages
Samlinger:Recommendations collection, Dit bibliotek
Vurdering:****1/2
Nøgleord:Ingen

Detaljer om værket

Burr af Gore Vidal (1973)

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Engelsk (43)  Fransk (1)  Tysk (1)  Alle sprog (45)
Viser 1-5 af 45 (næste | vis alle)
I read this after seeing the play "Hamilton." It seemed a natural extension.

In the afterword the author indicates the extensive research he did in writing this book which was published in 1973. Aaron Burr is the perfect protagonist for a writer like Gore Vidal to critique the American status quo.

I don't recall everything we knew about George Washington in 1973. Vidal mentions Sally Hemmings and Thomas Jefferson's children with her. I recall a history professor mentioning this during a lecture in the early 1970s. But he generalized the specifics to both Jefferson and Washington and all their female slaves. We now suspect Washington was rendered sterile by scarlet fever early in life and the claims of his slaves' descendants to be of his blood are politely ignored.

Vidal says Washington had a wide bottom and waddled when he walked. Perhaps Vidal in 1973 did not have Washington's tailor's measurements but we do now and they were used to create a life size statue of him in the entrance to the Mount Vernon visitor center.

As for the waddling I am skeptical of that as well. I'm guessing that Vidal assumed a big bottomed man would naturally waddle. We know that Washington's apocryphal throwing of a coin across the river near his boyhood home was repeated in the 1920s by a major league pitcher and that on the lawn of Mount Vernon without bothering to remove his coat during a break from sitting for Gilbert Stuart a middle aged Washington bested two young men in an impromptu iron bar throwing contest. Perhaps these are the feats of a man who waddles but it would be interesting to know if Vidal knew about them.

He also says Washington's teeth were darkly stained. It seems to me Washington's false teeth have been public knowledge for a long time. How likely is it that Washington did not keep them white? His book of rules for a gentleman would seem to indicate a person with fastidious habits.

I could go on. Vidal denigrates for the most part the Founding fathers and that should come as no surprise to any reader familiar with Vidal's writings. I would just like to be assured that its based on objective research.

Otherwise I only came across one error, a chronological one. Its on page 319. Burr is meeting Jefferson in the White House after Burr's vice presidency and before his treason trial which would put it in about 1805. The chimney is defective despite Jefferson's presumed polymath talents and Burr offers to fix the problem based on skill he acquired while living in poverty in France. However, Burr did not travel to France until after his trial. ( )
1 stem JoeHamilton | Jul 21, 2020 |
Abbruch auf Seite 201. Interessantes Thema. Durchaus gut geschrieben. Manchmal zu zäh und zu langatmig. ( )
  AndreLorenz | Aug 31, 2019 |
This is a peek at the political life and legal adventures of former Vice President Aaron Burr, told from his own point of view. I was quite interested in, and sometimes amused at his opinions of two of our most sacred founding fathers, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Burr was also not very fond of Alexander Hamilton, but we already know this! ( )
  a1stitcher | Jun 22, 2019 |
"Although Americans justify their self-interest in moral terms, their true interest is never itself moral. Yet, paradoxically, only Americans - a few, that is- ever try to be moral in politics."
-- Gore Vidal

Vidal takes full responsibility for his perjury. Okay he only admits to errors and anachronisms, but sides himself with Richard Nixon in the process. Burr is a wonderful tale, finding delight in skewering the reputations of the Founding Fathers and all the hypocrisy which didn't make its way into elementary school textbooks. Well, the ones I was exposed to during the late 70s. It was also written at the height of Watergate.

Unlike most historical fiction, Burr breathes. The sighs it emits are laced with bourbon. I loved this book, though the royal ear grew weary with too many notes. That remains my problem, not Vidal's..
( )
  jonfaith | Feb 22, 2019 |
Like scandalous gossip about celebrities? This is the novel for you.

'Burr' is fiction, but I love a good story. Vidal's superbly researched novel brings Aaron Burr to life and this reader was willingly swept up into the romance of an anti-hero. 'Burr' shrewdly picks apart the myths and legends surrounding the men who founded the United States, reveling in their flaws and, despite any cries of 'disrespect!', making me admire their achievements all the more. This country was created by contentious compromise - it should never be seen as a perfect body. This book is the antidote for the hero-worship we used to see in textbooks.

Before reading the novel I had had a very limited picture of Burr's life, in fact the only thing I could have told you about him with certainty was that he had killed Hamilton in a duel. But taking it all in: his belief in the mind of his daughter, his ambitions in the west, the sheer amount of time he was given, makes his life a fascinating one, even stripped of the more colorful assertions of this novel. It makes me more interested in the time period. New York was only just losing its Dutch identity, the powers of the three branches hadn't been tested against each other yet, and before the Louisiana Purchase the country had a much different outlook. One of these days I'll have to read (actual) memoirs of the early republic to compliment the pictures given in 'Colonial American Travel Narratives'.

I'll never think of the founding fathers in the same way again.

Narratives of Empire

Next: 'Lincoln' ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 18, 2019 |
Viser 1-5 af 45 (næste | vis alle)
Burr is about the Founding Father who has been airbrushed out of history. Aaron Burr very nearly became America's third president in 1800, when he narrowly lost to Thomas Jefferson. He ended up as Jefferson's Vice-President and, four years later, while still in office, he killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel, which killed his own political career.

History has painted Burr as a chancer and a rogue. Vidal takes Burr's side to show that he was much better than that: a chancer, for sure, but self-aware enough to know that's what he was, which makes him intensely likable. In this novel, the usual pantheon of American heroes – Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton – come across as various stripes of pompous hypocrite. Burr is the one you want to win.
 
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For my nephews Ivan, Hugh and Burr
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A Special Despatch to the New York Evening Post:
Shortly before midnight, July 1, 1833, Colonel Aaron Burr, aged seventy-seven, married Eliza Jumel, born Bowen fifty-eight years ago (more likely sixty-five but remember: she is prone to litigation!).
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We do not want the old to be sharper than we. It’s bad enough that they were there first, and got the best things.
Eventually all things are known. And few matter.
As a lawyer he was—is—meticulous. Yet he has a certain contempt for the whole business. “The law,” he likes to say, “is simply whatever is boldly asserted and plausibly maintained.”
Elizabeth was uncommonly handsome as a girl, if too square-jawed. I have been told that Hamilton used to discuss his infidelities with her. If he did, they must have had a good deal to talk about.
But the Colonel was not listening. The past is now more vivid for him than the present. He is, finally, old.
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A fictional memoir illuminating Aaron Burr's life and times, highlighting his political accomplishments and fatal duel with Alexander Hamilton.

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