Gore Vidal in 1974 (AP File Photo)

Elder statesman of American letters and long-time Nation contributor Gore Vidal passed away July 31 at the age of 86. Here are some of his more powerful essays from nearly half a century of writing for this magazine.

The Unrocked Boat April 26, 1958

The Norman Mailer Syndrome January 2, 1960

Some Jews & The Gays November 14, 1981

Requiem for the American Empire January 11, 1986

How to Take Back our Country June 4, 1988

Cue the Green God, Ted August 7/14, 1989

Notes on Our Patriarchal State August 27 / September 3, 1990

The Essential Mencken August 26 / September 2, 1991

The Birds and the Bees October 28, 1991

Monotheism and Its Discontents July 13,1992

R.I.P., R.M.N May 16, 1994

The Union of the State December 26, 1994

In the Lair of the Octopus June 5, 1995

Andy Kopkind, 1935-94 June 12, 1995

The End of History September 30, 1996

The New Theocrats July 21, 1997

Coup de Starr October 26, 1998

Birds & Bees & Clinton December 28, 1998

Candid in Camera September 27, 1999
It all began in the heat of the summer of 1940. Hitler was at his peak in Europe. France had been defeated.

Democratic Vistas December 21, 2000
We shall see very little of the charmingly simian George W. Bush. The military—Cheney, Powell et al.—will be calling the tune, and the whole nation will be on constant alert, for, James Baker has already warned us, Terrorism is everywhere on the march. We cannot be too vigilant.

Times Cries Eke! Buries Al Gore December 17, 2001
Florida revisited: Schadenfreude amid the carnage of the democratic process.

Blood for Oil October 10, 2002
In May 2001, the White House issued a National Energy Policy report, known as the Cheney Report: the state of our national oil reserves. In 2000, half the oil we consumed was imported.

We Are the Patriots May 15, 2003
Americans who oppose the Cheney-Bush junta demonstrate sanity, not cowardice.

State of the Union, 2004 August 26, 2004
An excerpt from Imperial America.

Something Rotten in Ohio June 27, 2005
Voting irregularities in the 2004 election demonstrate the urgency of election reform.

President Jonah January 25, 2006
As his State of the Union message approaches, we deserve a rest from the fundamentalist presidency of G.W. Bush, whose guiding principles are antithetical to democracy and will only accelerate our decline.

Ferdinand VII May 14, 2007
Whose astonishing wisdom led to preserving a statue of the monstrous Ferdinand VII in Havana?

Dennis Kucinich November 26, 2007
A farsighted populist and pacifist.