Gore Vidal’s new photo album, Gore Vidal: Snapshots in History’s Glare offers a nostalgic look at bygone times.
Gore Vidal is the author of 25 novels, eight plays, two autobiographical works, more than 200 essays, and not-even-he-knows how many television and movie scripts. His latest effort, “Snapshots in History’s Glare” (Harry Abrams) is a visual memoir of his remarkable and famously well-lived life. A pictorial treasure trove, it includes photos ranging from his 1930s student days at St. Albans School to the early ’60s, when the Kennedys (to whom he was related, sort of) dominated the American scene.
Vidal calls this picture of himself with John and Jacqueline Kennedy (“the actual photo of the three of us and how we were seated”) the “mystery story” of his book. He writes, “Recently the writer Sally Bedell Smith, in an admiring book about Camelot, revealed a totally different photograph from that evening [at a Washington horse show]. Instead of the lineup … a new picture has replaced the old picture. I am totally cut out of the photo and replaced by Alice Roosevelt Longworth and her black hat (she had actually been seated about five rows behind us). … I discussed this matter with Ms. Bedell Smith, who could not believe that the Kennedy White House could rearrange a picture for political reasons. But Bobby was eager to prove that it was not possible that I could have ever posed with the Kennedys. This is how the Kennedy White House played ball.” (Collection Gore Vidal)