Books: Gone with the Winds of War

LINCOLN by Gore Vidal; Random House; 672 pages; $19.95

In an essay written in 1973, Author Gore Vidal sulfurously surveyed the ten novels then reclining on the New York Times bestseller list. Some of these smash hits were forgettable even then, but Vidal's remarks about them were sensible and funny enough to survive. He looked askance at the woman who had given her account of the courtship of Joseph and the Virgin Mary: "It is difficult to know what, if anything, she had in mind when she decided to tell the Age-Old Story with nothing...

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