Gore Vidal (1925-2012) was an American writer and public intellectual. Born into a political dynasty, he twice sought elected office. He began his literary career in 1946 with the publication of his novel Williwaw but did not achieve notoriety until he published his third book The City and The Pillar which cause a minor scandal for its depiction of homosexuality. Though he was a rather prolific writer he is best known for his works of historical fiction including Julian, Myra Breckinridge, Burr, and Lincoln. His feuds with other authors particularly Norman Mailer were well documented. He was preceded in death by his partner of 53 years Howard Austen in 2003.