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But, for reasons he never explained, he did not go on to Harvard, Yale or Princeton with other members of his social class.For a man of his background, a commission would normally have been a formality. Navy, Vidal wrote Williwaw — a war novel which brought him instant acclaim.They reflected his view that the Founding Fathers had created a model of democracy that later American presidents had destroyed with their autocratic power.In 1960 — choosing, for a change, to participate rather than philosophise — he stood in New York as a Democratic nominee for the House of Representatives.He lost, but won more votes in his congressional district than John F. Vidal was, however, defiantly unimpressed by his association with America’s first family.
Also, he was fond of drink and claimed that he had sampled every major drug.
Roosevelt’s administration and was said to be the handsomest man in Washington society. Vidal's mother, Nina, was an alcoholic and, at her worst, suicidal.
His parents’ marriage collapsed and Vidal, their only child, was sent to live with his maternal grandfather, Thomas Gore, Democratic Senator for Oklahoma. Vidal recalled: ‘When he discovered a grandchild with a passion for reading, I became his favourite.’His grandfather asked Vidal to read aloud to him — a task the boy rebelled against.
However, despite his literary success, his money and his looks, he never seemed satisfied with the way fate had treated him.
Asked about his occasionally wistful air, he spoke about ‘divine discontent’.