Narratives of Empire

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The Narratives of Empire series is a heptalogy of historical novels by Gore Vidal, published between 1967 and 2000, which chronicle the dawn-to-decadence history of the American Empire; the narratives interweave the personal stories of two families with the personages and events of U.S. history. Despite the publisher's preference for the politically neutral series-title "American Chronicles", Vidal preferred the series title "Narratives of Empire". The seven novels can be read in either historical or publication order without losing narrative intelligibility.[1]

Chrono-logical order Title Story timeline Description Historical characters Fictional characters Published In order of publication
1 Burr 1775–1808, 1833–1836, 1840 Aaron Burr's story about the Founding Fathers chronicles the beginnings of the U.S. as a country and as a nation Aaron Burr, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, Dolley Madison, James Monroe, Alexander McDougall, Davy Crockett, Martin Van Buren, Andrew Jackson, William Leggett, Helen Jewett, William Cullen Bryant, Samuel Swartwout, Jane McManus Storm Edwin Forrest, Washington Irving Charlie Schuyler, Carolina de Traxler, William de la Touche Clancey 1973 2nd
2 Lincoln 1861–1865, 1867 Abraham Lincoln's presidency and the disloyalties—internal and external—he overcame to save the Union Abraham Lincoln, John Hay, John Nicolay, Elihu Washburne, Mary Todd Lincoln, William Seward, Salmon P. Chase, David Herold, Mary Surratt, John Wilkes Booth, Kate Chase, William Sprague William Sanford, Charlie Schuyler, Emma Schuyler d'Agrigente, William de la Touche Clancey 1984 4th
3 1876 1875–1877 The theft of the 1876 United States presidential election and its aftermath, when candidate Samuel J. Tilden lost the Electoral College vote to Rutherford B. Hayes, despite Tilden's having won the popular vote Samuel J. Tilden, James G. Blaine, Roscoe Conkling, James A. Garfield, Mark Twain, James Gordon Bennett, Jr., Madame Restell, Ward McAllister Charlie Schuyler, Emma Schuyler d'Agrigente, John Day Apgar, William Sanford, Denise Delacroix Sanford, William de la Touche Clancey 1976 3rd
4 Empire 1898–1907 The birth of the American Empire at the turn of the 20th Century John Hay, William Randolph Hearst, William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, George Dewey, William Jennings Bryan, Elihu Root, Henry Adams, Henry James Caroline Sanford, Blaise Sanford, James Burden Day, John Apgar Sanford, Mrs. Delacroix 1987 5th
5 Hollywood 1917–1923 How the movies shaped the national identity and worldview of the people of the U.S., by the new film business, at Hollywood, California Woodrow Wilson, Warren G. Harding, Jess Smith, George Creel, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt, Charlie Chaplin, Marion Davies, Elinor Glyn, Mabel Normand, William Desmond Taylor Caroline Sanford, Blaise Sanford, James Burden Day 1990 6th
6 Washington, D.C. 1937–1952 Political life during the administrations of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman Blaise Sanford, Peter Sanford, James Burden Day, Clay Overbury 1967 1st
7 The Golden Age 1939–1954, 2000 The American Empire matures in the Second World War and its decay and decline in the Cold War; the finale presents the U.S. at the turn of the twenty first century Franklin D. Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt, Harry Hopkins, Harry S. Truman, Wendell Wilkie, Herbert Hoover, Gore Vidal, John La Touche, Dawn Powell, Tennessee Williams Caroline Sanford, Blaise Sanford, Peter Sanford, James Burden Day, Clay Overbury 2000 7th


  1. ^ Vidal, Gore. (2006) Point to Point Navigation: a memoir, 1964 to 2000, p. 123.
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