Inventing a Nation: Washington, Adams, Jefferson

THU, NOV 20, 2003 (58:15)

In his latest book, Inventing a Nation: Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Gore Vidal takes readers behind the scenes as America's founding fathers fought and worked to create a new country. Among Vidal's revelations: Benjamin Franklin believed the Constitution was flawed and predicted it eventually would fail, and that the Revolution was kept alive only by the force of Washington's personality and "the cleverness of our diplomats" (including Franklin, Jefferson and Adams) in convincing France to come to America's aid.

+ BIO: Gore Vidal

Gore Vidal was born in 1925 to West Point aeronautics instructor Gene Vidal and his wife Nina. Young Gore spent much of his childhood with his blind grandfather, Senator T.P. Gore of Oklahoma. He is also a cousin of Tennessee ex-senator and ex-vice president Al Gore . Vidal would later became the stepbrother and confidant of Jacqueline Kennedy when his mother married Jackie's ex-stepfather, Hugh D. Auchincloss.

After graduating from Phillips Exeter Academy in 1943, Gore joined the US Army Reserves. Some of his Army experiences inspired his first novel, Williwaw, which was published when he was just 19. Subsequent novels would prominently feature gay male characters, and Gore found soon found his books had staying power on bestseller lists.

In 1960, he unsuccessfully ran for Congress, backed by celebrity supporters like Paul Newman & Vidal's ex-fiance Joanne Woodward . Another unsuccessful foray into politics would occur in 1982 when he ran for governor of California. In addition to being an accomplished writer, he is also a novice actor. His biggest roles to date have been in Gattaca (1997), Bob Roberts (1992), and With Honors (1994).

+ BIO: Christopher Lydon

Christopher Lydon is an American media personality and author. He is best known for being the original host of The Connection, produced by WBUR and syndicated to other NPR stations.

Partner
Harvard Graduate School of Education
Series
American Experience: Alexander Hamilton Series
AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: John and Abigail Adams Series
Ken Burns: Thomas Jefferson Series
Our Democracy Series
Provincetown International Film Festival 2006 Series