From The Telegraph:
In his own country, from whose eastern political establishment he came, he detected no conversation worth the name, a failure of education, manners on the decline, and political leaders cynical and without languages or a grasp of the outside world. The morals and lifestyle of his countrymen he fond abhorrent, and the state of literature and popular entertainment, especially television, beyond words. For much of his adult life Vidal lived in Italy, which he first visited at 13, and there he wrote about the United States, where he set the bulk of his novels, including the five-book saga running from the American Revolution to the Korean War. His wide reading in Greek and Roman history — though he never attended university — showed in allusions to the ancient world throughout his novels on Washington, and in the parallels he liked to draw between political life in classical times and in modern America. From his flat in Ravello (where he was made an honorary citizen) on the Amalfi peninsula, and his penthouse in old Rome, he found that distance gave him perspective as he wrote his observant, witty, often vitriolic books and essays on his own country.
Vidal had an enormous output, publishing more than 20 novels as wells as collections of stories and essays, plays and television work. When he was at home he was in demand on radio and television chat shows, which he made an outlet for his cutting wit and iconoclastic views on history, politics, art, journalism, theatre and sex. In an essay called Writing Plays for TV he described himself thus: “I am at heart a propagandist, a tremendous hater, a tiresome nag, complacently positive that there is no human problem which cannot be solved if people would simply do as I advise.”