The Smithsonian Institution

The Smithsonian Institution

It's 1939, and a teenage math genius is mysteriously summoned to the Smithsonian Institution, where a crash program to develop the atomic bomb is being conducted in the basement. The boy turns out to hold the key to both the secrets of nuclear fission and breakthroughs in the time continuum. As he brainstorms with Robert Oppenheimer, he catches a glimpse of the coming war and becomes determined to ward off the cataclysm. In a race against time-and surrounded by figures from American history past and present, including Albert Einstein, Grover Cleveland, and Abraham Lincoln-he battles to save not just himself, but humanity. Gore Vidal has written some of the finest and most inventive novels in modern times. Readers of such bestsellers as Burr, Lincoln, Duluth, and 1876 will revel in this, his latest foray into the American scene. A brilliant and vividly imaginative tale about some of the key events of the twentieth century, The Smithsonian Institution is a dramatic masterwork of comedy and allusion.

Title:The Smithsonian Institution
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9780156006484
Format Type:

    The Smithsonian Institution Reviews

  • MJ Nicholls

    Gore’s little secrets are his “inventions,” i.e. his surreal time- and gender-bending comedies such as Duluth, Myron and Kalki. This was the last book in that mould before he settled down in his...

  • Lus C.

    The fictional tale, set in 1939, tells the story of “T.,” a super genius, “decisive, tall lad of thirteen,” who is mysteriously beckoned to the basement of the Smithsonian to help develop the ...

  • Jessica

    As a former Smithsonian employee and someone who still works in a museum, I really enjoyed this novel. Night at The Museum would make exhibits coming to life a popular movie theme, but Vidal does it w...

  • Eva

    I read up to the 2nd chapter and gave up. Am I missing something or is the Portuguese translation that bad? I dunno.The story stars a horny and arrogant 13yo boy who loves baseball and has this god-gi...

  • Riley Haas

    "This is a very lazy book. He reuses characters from other novels. He reuses plot devices. I don't know how this is notable except that it sucks. The whole thing is so tossed off and so casual. It's w...

  • Graham Crawford

    Even brilliant people can have very bad days. This book is a dog's breakfast. There are really clever lumps of historical carrot in the vomit. I cringed when he tried to explain string theory and got ...

  • Steph (loves water)

    Writing this review in response to some of the garbage I see posted on this site maligning a fantastic writer...anybody who mentions "Night At the Museum" in the same breath as this book does not even...

  • Scarlett Sims

    This is maybe a 2.5? Anyway I saw this at a library book sale and bought it thinking the cover didn't seem to match the description at all. And then one of this year's Read Harder tasks is to read a b...

  • Marley

    this is another second read as I go through my Gore Vidal home collection. I read The Smithsonian Institution quite a few years ago ,and liked it, but wasn't sure what to make of it. For some reason I...

  • Alex

    A rather boringly written book, commendable only in the bad sex writing awards category for the poorly written love-making scenes between two teenagers (although, maybe they are accurately written giv...