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Gore Vidal Rersponds

May 27, 1990

Your journalist-reviewer (Richard Reeves) of "Hollywood" (by Gore Vidal, Book Review, Feb. 18) believes that at least 10% of my facts are wrong but, engagingly, he admits that he isn't qualified to tell true from false except that "I'm absolutely sure that the Georgetown address given for young Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt is not in Georgetown. I walked over that way to check."

As I gave no "Georgetown address" for the Roosevelts, he could have saved himself a walk. He has mixed up an earlier reference to Georgetown as a "common village" for those on its periphery like the invented Caroline Sanford and the actual Roosevelts of 1733 N Street.

With all the authority of the up-to-the-minute-ago political journalist, he tells us that "this book attacks Reagan in its description of Harding and his works." Well, this book's description of the Hardings would have been no different if the spokesperson for General Electric had never gone into politics.

As I invent nothing in history, I have done nothing to make the Hardings resemble, for good or ill, a certain delightful if mysteriously financed couple currently domiciled in Bel-Air. Mrs. Harding was in thrall to a lady astrologist (sic) named Madame Marcia, who guided her every move for years and then wrote a book.

But except for the occasional odd similarity, President and Mrs. Harding, as a couple, were more admirable than . . . not.

GORE VIDAL

RAPALLO, ITALY

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