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Point to Point Navigation: A Memoir | [Gore Vidal]

Point to Point Navigation: A Memoir

In this extraordinary memoir, Vidal recalls his accomplishments and defeats, discusses the friends and enemies he has made, and contemplates the nature of mortality. In the Navy, Vidal was forced to use point to point navigation whenever compasses failed. It is an apt analogy for his life, which has been filled with triumphs as well as controversies. Vidal has had relationships with innumerable luminaries, including President Kennedy, Tennessee Williams, Eleanor Roosevelt, Orson Welles, and Greta Garbo.
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Publisher's Summary

Winner of both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, New York Times best-selling author Gore Vidal is one of the true masters of American letters. In this extraordinary memoir, Vidal recalls his accomplishments and defeats, discusses the friends and enemies he has made, and contemplates the nature of mortality.

In the Navy during World War II, Vidal was forced to use point to point navigation whenever compasses failed. It is an apt analogy for his life, which has been filled with glorious triumphs as well as spectacular controversies. Never afraid to enter uncharted waters, Vidal has had relationships with innumerable luminaries, including President Kennedy, Tennessee Williams, Eleanor Roosevelt, Orson Welles, Greta Garbo, and others.

Thoroughly engaging and, of course, provocative, Point to Point Navigation is the fascinating story of an American icon. Vidal himself narrates this memoir, intimately sharing the stories of his own life.

©2006 Gore Vidal; (P)2006 Recorded Books LLC

What the Critics Say

"In short, the memoir is a perfect encapsulation of Vidal's outsized personality." (Booklist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (91 )
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  •  
    Catherine Seattle, WA, United States 06-02-08
    Catherine Seattle, WA, United States 06-02-08 Member Since 2007
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    "Point to Point Navigation"

    Gore Vidal is a master of the memoir. His book is so entertaining and informative, I find myself going back again and again to listen. And you need not listen in order - you can just drop in at any point and it feels like you are listening to Gore recount memories directly to you over tea. Fascinating! Highly recommended.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David santa monica, CA, USA 06-13-08
    David santa monica, CA, USA 06-13-08
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    "splendid"

    gore vidal still has it!
    acerbic, witty, informative, unabashedly honest....
    a delight to listen to.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 07-16-14
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 07-16-14 Member Since 2010

    I am an avid eclectic reader.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "An intellectual"

    Listening to this memoir by Gore Vidal, I had the feeling I was spending the afternoon with an elderly man listening to his stories. A few years ago I had read a biography of General Robert Olds who in 1942 married Nina Gore Auchincloss. Gore Vidal’s famous actress mother. I like it when information in one book I read shows up in another book I am reading. Vidal came from a famous family. His father was a military pilot who in civilian life started three airlines, TWA, Eastern and Northwestern. His mother was an actress whose father was a long time Senator from Oklahoma. Gore tells about reading to his grandfather who was blind and going into the U.S. Senate to read whatever was needed to him. The book is a bit rambling but just as it would be if you were sitting having a conversation with him. His life ranged from a playwright on Broadway to a Hollywood screen writer to essayist and novelist. In the book he discusses the various famous people he knew in all types of professions. From Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy (his step sister was Jackie Auchincloss Kennedy). He also discussed Tennessee Williams, William Faulkner, Saul Bellows, and Marlene Dietrich, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. Two people he had nothing nice to say about were Truman Capote and Richard Nixon. A few of his witty aphorism were present also. He wrote this just after the death of Howard Austen his partner for 53 years. I noticed some of the reviews of this book were negative but I enjoyed listening to Gore Vidal. He gave me a glimpse into the life of a famous writer and intellectual from the 1930 through 2005. I remember reading some of his books such as Lincoln, Burr and the novel Myra Breckinridge. Gore Vidal narrated the book himself.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    margot new york, NY, United States 08-01-13
    margot new york, NY, United States 08-01-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Digressive, like an old man's reveries"

    This memoir is not nearly as good as Vidal's 'Palimpsest,' which was a masterpiece of autobiography as well as witty social history. There were bits of exaggeration and maybe outright lies in the earlier book, but the ego is allowed poetic license.

    In this volume the memories are running thin and they threaten to get maudlin. The lingering illness and death of Vidal's life-partner Howard Auster is a poignant tale, told with excellent reserve and no soppiness, but it does leave a big black cloud over the whole book.

    On the other hand, we've got Gore Vidal himself reading the thing in his Mandarin drawl, and that blots out a multitude of sins. Gore revisits some of the favorites from the earlier memoir--Jack and Jackie, Tennessee Williams, his parents, Amelia Earhart--and brings them to life like Dickens giving a final-tour reading.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joyce Monterey, MA, United States 08-13-13
    Joyce Monterey, MA, United States 08-13-13 Member Since 2004

    Old Reader

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    "Brilliant"

    Gore Vidal at the end of his long and over-the-top life, here exhibits his wisdom, his wit and his frustrations, as he settles old scores and drops many a name.

    There is much to be learned from this too soon ended short account of a remarkable life.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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