Slouching Towards Bethlehem

Slouching Towards Bethlehem

Book - 2008
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The first nonfiction work by one of the most distinctive prose stylists of our era, Joan Didion's Slouching Towards Bethlehem remains, decades 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.
Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008.
Edition: Pbk. edition
ISBN: 9780374531386
0374531382
Branch Call Number: 814.54 DIDION J
Characteristics: xiv, 238 pages ; 21 cm.

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dennismmiller
Dec 26, 2017

Slouching Towards Bethlehem collects a series of Joan Didion's short essays from the 1960s, covering subjects from Alcatraz to Howard Hughes to the CPUSA, but mostly herself and triple-faced California - LA, San Francisco, and Sacramento.

The title essay relates the author's experiences exploring Haight-Ashbury during the Summer of Love, which exemplifies her overarching (but not overpowering) theme of the emptiness at the heart of '60s America, an emptiness so profound that even those who feel it - like those San Francisco hippies - lack the words to describe it or the means to escape it. Yet the most remarkable piece may be "On Morality", in which she diagnoses American post-War social fragmentation, not as the result of a lack of morality, but the surfeit of it - innumerable competing individual moralities each demanding validation.

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Orcacreative
Apr 03, 2016

A literary gem. On Keeping a Notebook; On Self-Respect and On Morality, insightful and personal, great essays.

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