Throughout his long life, Gore Vidal waged a one-man campaign against hypocrisy and injustice – skewering the powerful, defending the old Republic, and stretching our notions of sex, religion and politics. Vidal’s death this year brought a wave of tributes. In the big media, one could detect a palpable sense of relief: the old nag had finally crossed the shining river. But that could have been expected. It was more disheartening to see his legacy reduced to twitterings of his pithy, caustic quotes. Vidal had often bemoaned the focus on writers’ personalities, rather than on their work. In death it was no different: throwaway puff pieces filled with typically American obsessions: the many famous people he had known, his bisexuality, his feuds. They were quite thin on the work, but that was nothing new. This book is an attempt to restore the balance.