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Thinking Critically, Seventh Edition
John Chaffee et al.
Author Biographies
Chapter 10: Constructing Arguments

"Drugs" by Gore Vidal (p. 456)
Gore Vidal (1925- )

Born Eugene Luther, Jr., in West Point, New York, Vidal is a prolific writer, publishing his first novel, Williwaw (1946), at age 19. Subsequent works included the satirical comedies Myra Breckenridge (1968) and Duluth (1983); biographies and historical fiction Burr (1973), 1876 (1976), Lincoln (1984), and Empire (1987); and short stories, essays (including Homage to Daniel Shays: Collected Essays, 1968), plays, film scripts, political commentary, and his memoir, Screening History (1992).

He has twice run for political office as a Democrat and co-founded the New Party in the late 1960s. He has served on the President's Advisory Committee on the Arts and has been an abrasive, provocative television host. Vidal is noted for his sarcastic take on what he claims are the three great modern tragedies: Western civilization's abandonment of paganism for Judeo-Christianity; the circus of hypocrisy better known as American politics; and the popular macho sexuality pervasive in American pop culture.

"The Case for Slavery" by A.M. Rosenthal (p. 457)
A. M. Rosenthal (1922- )

Born in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, A. M. Rosenthal moved with his family to New York, where he grew up and attended City College. He became editor of the college newspaper, then joined the staff of the New York Times as a general assignment reporter.

In 1945, he was assigned to cover the new United Nations, where he discovered a deep interest in foreign affairs. Nine years later he was assigned to India, where he covered south and southeastern Asia, and in 1958 he was transferred to Poland. In 1960 he won the Pulitzer Prize after he was expelled from Poland for "probing into [its] internal affairs." After that he covered Switzerland, parts of Africa, including the Congo war, and Japan.

Rosenthal was named metropolitan editor of the New York Times in 1963, and eventually became managing editor and then executive editor. He retired from the newspaper in 1988 but continued as a columnist for the Times, the New York Daily News, and several other national and international papers. He has published two books and scores of magazine articles. In 2002 he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.