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47 of 53 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars American Anomie, October 31, 2001
This review is from: Slouching Towards Bethlehem: Essays (Paperback)
This classic 1968 work is justly renowned as Joan Didion's finest collection of essays. Its central theme - and the theme behind much of what Didion writes - is the atomisation of American culture, the way in which things have fallen apart and left millions adrift from the cultural and ethical moorings that their ancestors took for granted. 33 years later, it is ironic to look back on the period that the writer depicts with such grim pathos when it is celebrated as a time of idealism and freedom by the survivors of the sixties. Many pieces in the first and third sections of the book ("Lifestyles in the Golden Land" and "Seven Places of the Mind") seem rather dated; the piece which made the most impression on this reviewer was the least ambitious of the group; to me, the portrait of Comrade Laski of the CPUSA-ML is a tiny masterpiece of irony. The pieces from the second section ("Personals")were much more enjoyable, especially "On Keeping a Notebook" and "On Self-Respect." Overall, "Slouching Towards Bethlehem" is more memorable for the author's endearing prose style than for the individual essays.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 16, 2013 8:41:39 PM PDT
David Seaman says:
The title of this book includes a glaring grammatical error and for this reason I will NEVER buy this book. There is no "s" on the end of the word "Toward." Just as there is no "s" on the end of the word "anyway." It's impossible for me to hold respect for the author or the editors and publishers to have let a glaring error such as this leave for distribution. Strunk and White. "The Elements of Style" It's time to re-read the little book.

Posted on Mar 6, 2014 9:31:43 AM PST
readingisfun says:
simply the difference between a negative outlook and a positive one. Great writing but full of negativity.
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