Gore Vidal, Louis Auchincloss, David Lilienthal

Monday, November 30, 1964

This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.

Maurice Dolbier mentions that three visitors from the USSR are in attendance. He then introduces Gore Vidal, author most recently of "Julian," a work of historical fiction written primarily in the first person dealing with the life of the Roman emperor Flavius Claudius Julianus. He describes the process of writing a book set in the 4th century. Vidal speaks about his own interest in history. He notes that Rome fell for many reasons, among them they never determined a satisfying method of succession. He compares them to the Soviets. He goes on to talk about the discrimination against people by Christians.

Next, Dolbier introduces Louis Auchincloss, author of "The Rector of Justin." He discusses novelists of the Victorian era. He describes these novels as romances between different classes. He speaks at length about the depiction of class in novels. He goes on to discuss the major themes in the modern novel, such as World War II, antisemitism.

Finally, Dolbier introduces David Lilienthal, former director of the Tennessee Valley Authority. He discusses the journals he wrote in shorthand, which were the basis for his book, "Change, Hope and the Bomb." He discusses President Truman's decision that atomic weapons should remain in the hands of the President rather than in the hands of the military. He also mentions J. Edgar Hoover, and other figures from the day.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 71405
Municipal archives id: RT299

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Maurice Dolbier


Louis Auchincloss, David Eli Lilienthal and Gore Vidal


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Hear, first-hand, the thoughts and voices of some of the greatest thinkers, adventurers, and characters of our nation.

Legendary New York Herald-Tribune book review editor Irita Van Doren, moderator of the series [1949-1968], has an intellectual largesse and a genuine interest in the American literary arts, which produces engaging, sometimes off-beat discussions with both first-time and veteran authors. 

In addition to literary writers like Louis Auchincloss, James Michener, and Rachel Carson, listeners are enthralled by nonliterary experts speaking on their autobiographies.  Sammy Davis, Jr., expounds on Yes, I Can!; burlesque star Gypsy Rose Lee entertains audiences while promoting Gypsy, A Memoir; and sociologist Vance Packard defends his groundbreaking exposé on advertising, The Hidden Persuaders. 

Those notable personalities join a slew of others like Steve Allen, Marian Anderson, Bennett Cerf, Noel Coward, Jules Feiffer, Edna Ferber, A. E. Hotchner, Fannie Hurst, Jane Jacobs, Somerset Maugham, Vladimir Nabokov, Gore Vidal, Jessamyn West, and Marguerite Young.  An indispensable catalog of craft talk and biographical context, the New York Herald-Tribune Books and Authors Luncheon series explores all manner of disciplines and issues in American arts and history.


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