A new collection of provocative, witty and eloquent essays by Gore Vidal, the greatest living American man of letters and one of the finest essayists of the twentieth (and twenty-first) century. The Last Empireis Gore Vidal's ninth collection of essays in the course of his distinguished literary career. As in the previous volumes, which include the 1993 National Book Award-winningUnited States: Essays 1952-1992, Vidal displays unparalleled range and inimitable style as he deals with matters literary, historical, personal, and political. There are warm (and shrewd) appreciations of Edmund Wilson, Dawn Powell, Sinclair Lewis, and Mark Twain; polemical observations on the major figures and (as he sees it) deplorable developments in American politics, Bill Clinton, FDR, JFK, his cousin Al Gore, the CIA and the American empire, the global reach of media conglomerates, and the United States' disdain for the UN, as well as fascinating autobiographical vignettes. Pieces that have already generated shock waves include his essay in dispraise of the works of John Updike, his controversial defense of Charles Lindbergh, and his attack on the national security state that first appeared inVanity Fair. Nobody makes the fur fly in a more elegant and civilized fashion than Gore Vidal. He is our indispensable man.