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.
Burr is a portrait of perhaps the most complex and misunderstood of the Founding Fathers. In 1804, while serving as vice president, Aaron Burr fought a duel with his political nemesis, Alexander Hamilton, and killed him. In 1807, he was arrested, tried, and acquitted of treason. In 1833, Burr is newly married, an aging statesman considered a monster by many. Burr retains much of his political influence if not the respect of all. And he is determined to tell his own story. As his amanuensis, he chooses Charles Schermerhorn Schuyler, a young New York City journalist, and together they explore both Burr's past and the continuing political intrigues of the still young United States.
"The novel is masterfully constructed, right down to a shocking but logical surprise on the last page," said LJ's reviewer, who gushed further, adding, "The familiar figures and stock scenes when we encounter them here are fresh, new, and utterly absorbing. Vidal has made a century and a half seem but a heartbeat from today" (LJ 11/1/73). With the world focusing on the current round of political shenanigans emanating from Washington, this should retain its popularity. Note that Modern Library is also releasing Vidal's Lincoln (ISBN 0-679-60284-4. $21).