The action centers around President Roosevelt's maneuvers to get the United States into World War II while keeping his 1940 campaign pledge to America voters that "No sons of yours will ever fight in a foreign war, unless attacked." Vidal makes the case that 1) the U.S had backed Japan into a corner with the oil and trade embargo, as well as massive aid to China and unconditional demands Japan could never accept; 2) the U.S. provoked Japan into attacking; and 3) the U.S. had broken Japan's military codes and knew of Japan's pending attack, but intentionally withheld warning Pearl Harbor. This was to arouse the U.S. populace and bring the United States into the war, so the U.S could take its place as the post-war dominant superpower.
The novel also covers some of the American artistic and cultural scene after the war, with attention given to John La Touche, Dawn Powell, Tennessee Williams, and postwar Hollywood.
Read more about this topic: The Golden Age (Gore Vidal Novel)
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