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Slouching towards Bethlehem: Essays

by

Slouching towards Bethlehem: Essays Cover

ISBN13: 9780374531386
ISBN10: 0374531382
All Product Details

 

Staff Pick

Joan Didion's lucid, canny prose style is painstakingly situated around the art of the sentence. Slouching towards Bethlehem, her first collection of nonfiction, serves as a prime example of exactly how well she can wield one. Each of these essays, including one titled "On Self-Respect" (which, years later, I continually refer back to as a philosophical dare to regard the self no matter what incarnation), conveys Didion's remarkable perspective and her ability to detail, without sentimentality, a full sense of whatever she trains her shrewd gaze on.
Recommended by Jae, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Universally acclaimed when it was first published in 1968, Slouching towards Bethlehem has become a modern classic. More than any other book of its time, this collection captures the mood of 1960s America, especially the center of its counterculture, California. These essays — keynoted by an extraordinary report on San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district — all reflect how and why things were then, and are now, falling apart in America: "the center cannot hold," as Yeats had warned.

An incisive look at contemporary life, Slouching Towards Bethlehem is still admired as a stylistic masterpiece. "Didion is one of the very few writers of our time who approaches her terrible subject with absolute seriousness, with fear and humility and awe. Her powerful irony is often sorrowful rather than clever," as Joyce Carol Oates noted. "She has been an articulate witness to the most stubborn and intractable truths of our time, a memorable voice, partly eulogistic, partly despairing; always in control."

Review:

"In her portraits of people, Didion is not out to expose but to understand, and she shows us actors and millionaires, doomed brides and naive acid-trippers, left wing ideologues and snobs of the Hawaiian aristocracy in a way that makes them neither villainous nor glamorous, but alive and botched and often mournfully beautiful....A rich display of some of the best prose written today in this country." Dan Wakefield, The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"This is not a new book, but a re-release of a classic book of essays (that has been previously 'released'). Nearly four decades have passed since these works of reportage were first published in places like the Saturday Evening Post and New York Times Magazine, but they are as present and pertinent as ever. Didion crafted the story of 1960s California, but this collection is as much an ode to life, and humanity's myriad imperfections....Without overstating the obvious, she delicately weaves together nuances that collectively reflect the melancholy of marriage that leads a wife to murder. Didion tells it as she sees it....Beyond the notorious love, peace and happiness, Didion found broken lives. Some are affirming, some are depressing, but almost all Didion's tales are intensely vibrant." Brynn Mandel, Republican-American

Review:

"The story between the lines of Slouching Towards Bethlehem is surely not so much 'California' as it is [Joan Didion's] ability to make us share her passionate sense of it." Alfred Kazin

Review:

"A slant vision that is arresting and unique....Didion might be an observer from another planet—one so edgy and alert that she ends up knowing more about our own world than we know ourselves." Anne Tyler

Synopsis:

The first nonfiction work by one of the most distinctive prose stylists of our era, Slouching towards Bethlehem remains, forty years after its first publication, the essential portrait of America — particularly California — in the sixties. It focuses on such subjects as John Wayne and Howard Hughes, growing up a girl in California, ruminating on the nature of good and evil in a Death Valley motel room, and, especially, the essence of San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury, the heart of the counterculture.

About the Author

Joan Didion is the author of several novels and works of nonfiction, including Slouching towards Bethlehem, The White Album, Miami, Salvador, After Henry, and The Year of Magical Thinking. She lives in New York City.

Table of Contents

I. LIFE STYLES IN THE GOLDEN LAND

Some Dreamers of the Golden Dream

John Wayne: A Love Song

Where the Kissing Never Stops

Comrade Laski, C.P.U.S.A. (M.-L.)

7000 Romaine, Los Angeles 38

California Dreaming

Marrying Absurd

Slouching Towards Bethlehem

II. PERSONALS

On Keeping a Notebook

On Self-Respect

I Can't Get That Monster Out of My Mind

On Morality

On Going Home

III. SEVEN PLACES OF THE MIND

Notes from a Native Daughter

Letter from Paradise, 21° 19' N., 157° 52' W

Rock of Ages

The Seacoast of Despair

Guaymas, Sonora

Los Angeles Notebook

Goodbye to All That

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

cportland, July 29, 2014 (view all comments by cportland)
A wonderful collection of essays by the remarkably insightful Joan Didion. Flowing prose and vividly detailed vignettes combine to shape the reader's view of the world as Didion sees it: beautifully flawed and always unforgettable.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780374531386
Author:
Didion, Joan
Publisher:
Farrar Straus Giroux
Subject:
Essays
Subject:
Social life and customs
Subject:
20th century
Subject:
California Social life and customs.
Subject:
Anthologies-Essays
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Series:
FSG Classics
Publication Date:
20081031
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
8.1 x 5.62 x 0.67 in

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Related Subjects


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Slouching towards Bethlehem: Essays New Trade Paper
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Product details 256 pages Farrar Straus Giroux - English 9780374531386 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Joan Didion's lucid, canny prose style is painstakingly situated around the art of the sentence. Slouching towards Bethlehem, her first collection of nonfiction, serves as a prime example of exactly how well she can wield one. Each of these essays, including one titled "On Self-Respect" (which, years later, I continually refer back to as a philosophical dare to regard the self no matter what incarnation), conveys Didion's remarkable perspective and her ability to detail, without sentimentality, a full sense of whatever she trains her shrewd gaze on.

"Review" by , "In her portraits of people, Didion is not out to expose but to understand, and she shows us actors and millionaires, doomed brides and naive acid-trippers, left wing ideologues and snobs of the Hawaiian aristocracy in a way that makes them neither villainous nor glamorous, but alive and botched and often mournfully beautiful....A rich display of some of the best prose written today in this country."
"Review" by , "This is not a new book, but a re-release of a classic book of essays (that has been previously 'released'). Nearly four decades have passed since these works of reportage were first published in places like the Saturday Evening Post and New York Times Magazine, but they are as present and pertinent as ever. Didion crafted the story of 1960s California, but this collection is as much an ode to life, and humanity's myriad imperfections....Without overstating the obvious, she delicately weaves together nuances that collectively reflect the melancholy of marriage that leads a wife to murder. Didion tells it as she sees it....Beyond the notorious love, peace and happiness, Didion found broken lives. Some are affirming, some are depressing, but almost all Didion's tales are intensely vibrant."
"Review" by , "The story between the lines of Slouching Towards Bethlehem is surely not so much 'California' as it is [Joan Didion's] ability to make us share her passionate sense of it."
"Review" by , "A slant vision that is arresting and unique....Didion might be an observer from another planet—one so edgy and alert that she ends up knowing more about our own world than we know ourselves."
"Synopsis" by , The first nonfiction work by one of the most distinctive prose stylists of our era, Slouching towards Bethlehem remains, forty years after its first publication, the essential portrait of America — particularly California — in the sixties. It focuses on such subjects as John Wayne and Howard Hughes, growing up a girl in California, ruminating on the nature of good and evil in a Death Valley motel room, and, especially, the essence of San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury, the heart of the counterculture.
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