Dark Green, Bright Red

Dark Green, Bright Red is a novel by Gore Vidal, concerning a revolution headed by a former military dictator in an unnamed Central American republic. The book was first published in 1950 in the United States by E. P. Dutton.[1][2] It drew upon Vidal's experiences living in Guatemala during the Guatemalan Revolution.[3]

Dark Green, Bright Red
Cover of the first edition
AuthorGore Vidal
CountryUnited States
GenrePolitical fiction
PublisherE. P. Dutton & Co., Inc., New York City
Publication date
Media typePrint (Hardback & Paperback)
Preceded byA Search for the King 
Followed byThe Judgement of Paris 

Vidal re-wrote a significantly shortened version of Dark Green, Bright Red in 1968. However, when the book was published in a new United Kingdom edition in 1995 by Andre Deutsch, the longer, original text was used.[3]

Plot summary

With the backing of a U.S. fruit company, a court-martialled American army officer and a French advisor, General Alvarez, a deposed Central American dictator mounts an attempted coup d’etat to regain power. The first part of the book is set mainly in jungle, yet most of the military action takes place elsewhere. It was the first of Vidal's books to explore the idea that the United States was an imperialist country.[3]

Critical reception

The novel received mixed to negative reviews. A New York Times reviewer called it "a sad waste of real narrative gifts and wit",[4] while Kirkus Reviews considered it "[w]ell-written, with authentic atmosphere, ... but not up to the mark of [Vidal's] earlier work."[5] Saturday Review deemed it "an interesting failure."[6]


  1. "Dark Green, Bright Red". Harper's Books. Retrieved December 7, 2014.
  2. Dark Green, Bright Red. Google Books. Retrieved December 7, 2014.
  3. "The Early Fiction of Gore Vidal: 1946-1956". Retrieved December 7, 2014.
  4. Barr, Donald (October 8, 1950). "From Patio and Jungle". New York Times. Retrieved December 7, 2014.
  5. "Dark Green, Bright Red". Kirkus Reviews. October 9, 1950. Retrieved December 7, 2014.
  6. Brooks, John (October 14, 1950). "Fighting Somebody Else's Revolution". Saturday Review.

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