Tuesday, July 23, 2013

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph Tuesday Intros: 1876 by Gore Vidal

Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea hosts First Chapter-First Paragraph in which she, and those of us who join her,  posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she is reading or planning to read.  

On my TBR Pile Challenge list as an alternate selection is Gore Vidal's 1876: A Novel.  This is the time of the robber barons, the gilded age, post Civil War and pre-WWI.  Scandal and big business characterize the East, while the West is still wild and the frontier hasn't become a metaphor yet.  I've had this book on my shelf for years--ever since I read Vidal's Lincoln, which I loved--but never read it.  

Here's how it starts...

"That is New York," I pointed to the waterfront just ahead as if the city were mine. Ships, barges, ferry boats, four-masted schooners were shoved like a child's toys against a confused jumble of buildings quite unfamiliar to me, a mingling of red brick and brownstone, of painted wood and dull granite, of church towers that I had never seen before and odd bulbous-domed creations of--cement? More suitable for the adornment of the Golden Horn than for my native city.
Now that I've read the opening, I can't wait to get to it in earnest!

Here's the Amazon blurb:
Gore Vidal's Narratives of Empire series spans the history of the United States from the Revolution to the post-World War II years. With their broad canvas and large cast of fictional and historical characters, the novels in this series present a panorama of the American political and imperial experience as interpreted by one of its most worldly, knowing, and ironic observers.

The centennial of the United States was celebrated with great fanfare--fireworks, exhibitions, pious calls to patriotism, and perhaps the most underhanded political machination in the country's history: the theft of the presidency from Samuel Tilden in favor of Rutherford B. Hayes. This was the Gilded Age, when robber barons held the purse strings of the nation, and the party in power was determined to stay in power. Gore Vidal's 1876 gives us the news of the day through the eyes of Charlie Schuyler, who has returned from exile to regain a lost fortune and arrange a marriage into New York society for his widowed daughter. And although Tammany Hall has faltered and Boss Tweed has fled, the effects of corruption reach deep, even into Schuyler's own family.


  1. I've always liked to read about this time period. Although it's been decades since I read Vidal's Lincoln, I still remember loving it. This book could definitely tempt me, too!

  2. The intro makes me want to read more. I hope the rest is just as good Jane. enjoy and thank you for joining us this week.

  3. Wow, this one looks impressive...thanks for sharing; and thanks for visiting my blog.

  4. The only novel of his I've read is Lincoln (which seems to be one of the best-known). Like JoAnn above, I remember liking it very much. This also sounds very interesting!

  5. I have not yet read Gore Vidal but I really want to to. I have heard great things about this book too.

    That is a great opening paragraph.

  6. This sounds really interesting!

  7. Uh, I'd definitely read on, it sounds great.