Burr: A Novel

Burr: A Novel

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Overview

For readers who can’t get enough of the hit Broadway musical Hamilton, Gore Vidal’s stunning novel about Aaron Burr, the man who killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel—and who served as a successful, if often feared, statesman of our fledgling nation.

Here is an extraordinary portrait of one of the most complicated—and misunderstood—figures among 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. But he is determined to tell his own story, and he chooses to confide in a young New York City journalist named Charles Schermerhorn Schuyler. Together, they explore both Burr's past—and the continuing civic drama of their young nation.

Burr is the first novel in Gore Vidal's Narratives of Empire series, which spans the history of the United States from the Revolution to post-World War II. With their broad canvas and sprawling cast of fictional and historical characters, these novels present a panorama of American politics and imperialism, as interpreted by one of our most incisive and ironic observers.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781543696585
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication date: 06/11/2019
Series: Narratives of Empire Series , #1
Edition description: Unabridged
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.67(d)

About the Author

Gore Vidal (1925–2012) was born at the United States Military Academy at West Point. His first novel, Williwaw, written when he was 19 years old and serving in the army, appeared in the spring of 1946. He wrote 23 novels, five plays, many screenplays, short stories, well over 200 essays, and a memoir.

Hometown:

La Rondinaia, a villa in Ravello, Italy; and Los Angeles, California

Date of Birth:

October 3, 1925

Place of Birth:

West Point, New York

Education:

Attended St. Albans. Graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy, 1943. No college.

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Burr 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
jcp56 More than 1 year ago
I read this as a summer read, and I loved it. Although it was an historical novel, I believe that Gore Vidal tried to keep as much to actual history from letters and other accounts of the time, adding only a couple of characters to move the story along. The story is certainly a classic one, in that the powers that be have the ability to create their own spin, and to besmerch people who didn't agree or who made them look bad. Aaron Burr was the besmerched, as it turns out. Which definitely makes you think about other historic figures that we've learned were "bad." You definetly have to pay attention, so while I was at the water park, I had to re-read a couple of paragraphs, but it keeps you interested like a great novel. READ IT!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is one of the best books that I have ever read. i recommend this book to anyone, even if they are not interested in the Revoluionary war or Aaron Burr. It's a spectacular read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book was very good, it included a lot of history. i usually never read historical fiction, but i had to for summer reading. it was very intriguing because you have heard about aaron burr in school, but never in depth. this also is a very different style of writing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I very thoroughly enjoyed this book. I have already bought the whole American Chronicle series, and this first book (chronologically) does not disappoint. I have heard others say they are not sure how much is really fact but the book is so entertaining and and does give a great picture of politics and life at the time that it is worth your time, even if Vidal plays with some facts. I am dying to start the next book in his series.
Borg-mx5 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A wonderful novel. Well written, witty and sharp. Aaron Burr is a mythical person in American History. While this is a novel, you still derive insight in the man's character as well gaining an alternative view of American history.
santhony on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is my first Gore Vidal novel and I¿m glad I finally got around to reading his work. This novel, as well as several others in a series (Lincoln, 1876 to name a couple) can best be described as historical fiction, somewhat disguised as biography. In selecting Burr as a subject, Vidal made an excellent choice, both from the standpoint of originality and due to the fact that Burr was a fascinating character. Known primarily for his dual with bitter political rival Alexander Hamilton, many are not aware that Burr was a Revolutionary War hero and came within a hair¿s breadth of becoming the third President, tying Thomas Jefferson in the Electoral College and throwing the election into the House of Representatives. Settling for the Vice-Presidency, Burr went West after his duel with Hamilton and sought to invade and conquer Mexico, leading to a politically motivated trial for treason in which he was exonerated by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall. Quite a life.Told from the standpoint of a fictional aide to Burr (Charles Schuyler), the story is set during the Andrew Jackson presidency, but reverts to revolutionary America through reference to Burr¿s memoirs. The individuals who make an appearance (all the usual suspects- Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, etc.) are presented as normal human beings, warts and all. This is refreshing, as the Founding Fathers are frequently placed on a pedestal, immune from criticism and the foibles of everyday life. In reality, the period was one of intense factional conflict (why do you think Burr dueled Hamilton?), the presidential races between Adams/Jefferson, and Jackson/Adams being perhaps the most bitter in American history. As a result, Burr has few good things to say about Washington (who Burr portrays as a military incompetent) or Jefferson (who Burr asserts was mentally ill during his second term), as you would expect.American history from the first half of the 19th century is somewhat neglected in favor of the Revolutionary and Civil War eras, but this time of the nation¿s establishment and growth is truly a fascinating period, both with respect to historical events and fascinating characters. Burr was an excellent prism through which to examine both and Vidal does an outstanding job in that respect.
dougwood57 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Gore Vidal writes historical fiction with a sharp eye toward historical accuracy, but with the freedom granted by the genre to present history with a viewpoint. Aaron Burr provides an ample tableau for the talents of Vidal at the top of his game. Burr lived through the Revolution, serving briefly on Washington's staff and later with Benedict Arnold at Quebec. He soon became seriously involved in New York state politics and eventually became Jefferson's vice-president. Burr seems to have always turned up in the middle of some controversy. He was nearly elected President instead of Jefferson due to a quirk in the electoral system of the day. He killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel while still VP and fled south and west to avoid prosecution in New Jersey. Jefferson soon charged him with treason for an alleged plot to separate the western states from the US. Burr was acquitted in a trial presided over by Chief Justice John Marshall. The reader meets lesser known characters such as James Wilkinson and Harman Blennerhassett among many others. The story is told through the device of Burr writing his memoirs over a period of several years commencing in 1833 with the aid of Charles Schuyler, the book's only fictional character. This device allows Vidal to move back and forth between the Republic's early days and the end of the Jackson presidency. In the latter period the reader meets Matty Van Buren, the famed New York editor William Leggett, the corrupt collector of the NY ports Sam Swartout, and revisits Andrew Jackson. Vidal presents the tale from his subject's viewpoint, one which is naturally quite favorable to Burr and somewhat at odds with the standard view in regard especially to the `Burr Conspiracy'. Thomas Jefferson particularly comes out poorly in this telling as does Washington. `Burr' was one of six works in what became Vidal's American Chronicles Series (Lincoln, 1876, Empire, Hollywood, and Washington, DC). I can also recommend Lincoln: A Novel and 1876 (Modern Library) to the reader (I've not yet read the others). Gore Vidal's `Burr' is a riveting ride through the early days of the Republic. Highest recommendation.
5hrdrive on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Interesting look at an extraordinary, largely forgotten man. The parts of the book that are purportedly Aaron Burr's memoirs are extremely interesting, however the choice of using the character of Charles Schuyler as amanuensis is a curious one. If I ever reread this I will stick to the memoir.
SimoneSimone on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Stuck with so many frauds...here is America's forgotten hero.
NiteRead on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of the most amusing historical fiction novels I have ever read. This (too short) book tells the story of Aaron Burr from the perspective of his illegitimate (this is where the fictional part comes in - I think) son. The cast of characters is illustrious (Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, etc.,) but you get the impression that these characters weren't so illustrious in the eyes of their contemporaries (or at least their peers).Two books follow (like a trilogy). My copies of all three books are well worn (and falling apart somewhat). And I continued on with most (or all) of Gore Vidal's other historical fictions. Read and enjoy.
branful on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I didn't know Vidal so good at writing a historical novel. I failed to enjoy "Myra."But this is real good. Makes you feel you are seeing real size picture of historical figures such as George Washington and Jefferson.
RodneyWelch on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Vidal at his absolute best. A page-turning historical novel that is both well-researched and brilliantly re-imagined; rich in character and lacerating in point of view.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Having now read and reread Vidal's entire "American Chronicle" series, I now proceed to reading #3, some 5yrs past completing reading #2. I'll start again with Burr, the chronological beginning of the epic, as I did in reading #2. My first reading was haphazard, as the various books came to my attention. Reading #2 was in chronological order by subject, and much more rewarding and pleasurable. Starting with Burr introduces you to Vidal's style rather painlessly. It is well over 50yrs since I read my first Vidal! He remains among a very short list of favorite authors!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Usually enjoy historical novels, but can't seem to get into this one. Maybe Vidal just isn't for me; maybe need to brush-up on Burr and the era.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book. Aaron Burr was the victim of bad PR. If left alone he could have taken Sam Houstons place, freeing Texas from Mexico. (Hero instead of Villian)
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