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Great American Writer And Iconoclast, Gore Vidal Dead

NPR, LOS ANGELES TIMES, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, THE NATION, ABC NEWS (USA)

Worldcrunch

Gore Vidal, American author and essayist whose prolific career spanned six decades, died Tuesday at age 86, reports NPR. He died at home from complications of pneumonia.

Translation: Famous novelist, playwright, critic, and politician, Gore Vidal, has died aged 86.

The reading public will remember him as a literary juggernaut who wrote 25 novels — from the historical "Lincoln" to the satirical "Myra Breckinridge" — and volumes of essays critics consider among the most elegant in the English language, writes the Los Angeles Times. He also brought shrewd intelligence to writing Broadway hits, Hollywood screenplays and television dramas says the Los Angeles daily.

Along with contemporaries such as Norman Mailer and Truman Capote, the Chicago Sun-Times remembers, Vidal was part of the last generation of literary writers who were also genuine celebrities — fixtures on talk shows and in gossip columns, personalities of such size and appeal that even those who hadn't read their books knew who they were.

The Chicago newspaper adds that Vidal was widely admired as an independent thinker — in the tradition of Mark Twain and H.L. Mencken — about literature, culture, politics and, as he liked to call it, "the birds and the bees." He picked apart politicians, living and dead; mocked religion and prudery; opposed wars from Vietnam to Iraq and insulted his peers like no other.

Vidal was a great man of letters, an author, playwright and groundbreaking essayist on American literature and the world, writes political blogger and Vidal friend John Nichols in The Nation. He was also a bold and unrelenting challenger of Puritanism, which he regarded as the ugliest of American tendencies.

Nichols remembers his friend as a political champion who ran campains for Congress and who demanded that presidents of both parties be held to account for high crimes and misdemeanors.

The grandson of Democratic Sen. Thomas Gore of Oklahoma, Gore Vidal was in 1960, the Democratic candidate for Congress in an upstate New York district writes ABC News. In 1982, Vidal came in second in the California Democratic senatorial primary, losing to incumbent Governor Jerry Brown.

Vidal never shied away from giving his opinion on subjects, especially politics, relates ABC News. In 1968, Vidal squared off with conservative William F. Buckley prior to the 1968 election, accusing Buckley of being a "crypto-Nazi." Buckley threatened to slap Vidal in the face.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Paris-Berlin, Warsaw-Kyiv: Europe's Balance Of Power Will Never Be The Same

A new future is unfolding in real time, one that leaders in France, Germany and beyond could not have envisioned even a year ago.

Photo of Bundeswehr soldiers in Lest, Slovakia, with a training anti-tank missile and a G22 sniper rifle.

Bundeswehr soldiers in Lest, Slovakia, with a training anti-tank missile and a G22 sniper rifle.

Kay Nietfeld/dpa via ZUMA
Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — Quick question: do you know which country is on its way to having the largest army in Europe? The obvious answer would be France, the Continent's only nuclear power since the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union, and a military that has been tested in multiple foreign operations in recent years.

But the answer is about to change: if we put aside the nuclear factor, Europe's leading military will soon be that of Poland.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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This is one more direct consequence Russia's invasion of Ukraine: a close neighbor of the conflict zone, Poland is investing massively in its defense. Last year, it concluded a huge arms purchase contract with South Korea: heavy combat tanks (four times more than France), artillery, fighter jets, for 15 billion euros.

Warsaw also signed a contract last month to purchase two observation satellites from France for 500 million euros.

This former country of the Warsaw Pact, today a leading NATO member, intends to be ever more consequential in European affairs. The investments in defense are one way of doing that. Yet this is not the only impact of the war in Ukraine.

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