Hollywood is the fifth historical novel in Gore Vidal's Narratives of Empire series. Published in 1990, it brings back the fictional Caroline Sanford, Blaise Sanford and James Burden Day and the real Theodore Roosevelt and William Randolph Hearst from Empire (the fourth novel in the series). Events are seen through the eyes of the Sanfords, Day, and the historical Jess Smith, a member of the Ohio Gang.
Historical characters introduced in this novel include Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt and Warren G. Harding, as well early Hollywood figures such as Charlie Chaplin, Marion Davies, Elinor Glyn, Mabel Normand, and William Desmond Taylor, whose 1922 murder Vidal presents in fictionalized form.
In the novel, Hearst and Caroline separately enter the movie business. Caroline becomes both a producer and, using a pseudonym, also performs as an actress. All this takes place while Wilson enters the U.S. into World War I and battles over the League of Nations, and Harding's subsequent attempts to return the country to "Normalcy."
Washington, D. C. by Gore Vidal is the sixth in his Narratives of Empire series of historical novels (although the first one published, in 1967). It begins in 1937 and continues into the Cold War, tracing the families of Senator James Burden Day and influential newspaper publisher Blaise Sanford.
This book is the least historical and most novelistic of any of the seven books. The Golden Age, the seventh book in the series, takes place during nearly the same span of years with many of the same characters, and needed to be written around the events of Washington D.C.
The novel is written in the third person and is inspired by the novels of Henry James.
As a novelist Gore Vidal explored the nature of corruption in public and private life; the polished, erudite style of narration readily evokes the time and place of the story, and perceptively delineates the psychology of the characters. His third novel, The City and the Pillar (1948), offended the literary, political, and moral sensibilities of conservative book reviewers, with a dispassionately-presented male homosexual relationship.
In the genre of social satire, Myra Breckinridge (1968) explores the mutability of gender-role and sexual-orientation as being social constructs established by social mores. In the historical novel genre, Julian (1964) re-creates the imperial world of Julian the Apostate (r. AD 361–63), the Roman Emperor who used general religious toleration to re-establish pagan polytheism to counter the political subversion of Christian monotheism. In Burr (1973) and Lincoln (1984), the protagonist is presented as “A Man of the People” and as “A Man” in a narrative exploration of how the public and private facets of personality affect the national politics of the U.S.