Like many people, once I read Burr, I was hooked. Gore Vidal’s historical fiction, while meticulously documented, teemed with the color and life of the period. In quick succession, I read through most of his fiction before I discovered his biting and witty essays. I was over the moon when he stayed at The Campton Place Hotel during his book tour for his newest collection of essays, United States: Essays 1952-1992. I had a copy behind the bar when he arrived early for his dinner. He sat at the bar where I had the pleasure of serving him. Knowing how public figures appreciate privacy, I didn’t gush or ask him to sign my book. When his partner, Howard Austen, joined him, I proudly trailed behind them with their cocktails as Phyllis, the best hostess in the business, sat them at Table 9, the power table.
Later that weekend, I attended his lecture at Berkeley. He was a brilliant speaker, witty, erudite, brutally honest. I remember clearly when asked what he saw as the next biggest threat on the horizon for Americans, he answered, “water.” He saw clean water as the single most important resource and foresaw that one day wars would be fought to secure it. I can imagine what he thought of fracking.
That book has been displayed at the Roastery since we opened.