In 1948, Gore Vidal was a celebrated twenty-two-year-old war novelist about to embark on a career in politics. His future seemed clear. But then he made a choice that changed his life. He published The City and the Pillar, an openly homosexual novel that was taken to be largely autobiographical. "I have read that I was too stupid at the time to know what I was doing," he notes in his introduction to this edition, "but in such matters I have always had a certain alertness. I knew that my description of the love affair between two 'normal' all-American boys, of the sort that I had spent three years in the army with during the war, would challenge every superstition about sex in my native land." His publisher hated the book. The New York Times would not advertise it. The City and the Pillar became a bestseller, nevertheless, and is now a classic. Thomas Mann called it a "noble work." The tragic story of Jim Willard's self-deluded love for another small-town American boy and the portrait of homosexual life in New York and Hollywood in the forties are still moving and truthful, as evocative and topical today as they were nearly fifty years ago. This edition incorporates Vidal's 1965 revisions and some further emendations by the author. Vidal's only collection of short stories, published as A Thirsty Evil in 1956, is also included here, bringing together for the first time his early homoerotic work. These subtle and comic tales, set in Key West, Washington, D.C., Paris, and New York, are at once sophisticated and charming, written with the narrative power for which Gore Vidal is famous.