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Loose Change: Three Women of the Sixties 0th Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0520209107
ISBN-10: 0520209109
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"She has written personal histories that will demand and earn your attention and respect."--Carol Felsenthal, "About Books

From the Inside Flap

"The book is witty, sad, incisive, and totally clean of sociological cant or the pomposities of a certain kind of generalizing journalism. . . . It has the resonance of a good novel." —Dan Wakefield

"Sara Davidson is the liveliest historian of her generation."—Malcolm Cowley

"Sara Davidson is an expert witness. . . . Now, more than 10 years after leaving Berkeley, she has followed up on some of her friends, and presents an absorbing and carefully detailed account of their lives up until now, especially her own life and that of two others, Tasha and Susie. Every bit of it fascinating."—Diane Johnson
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 381 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (July 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520209109
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520209107
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #985,938 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on September 10, 2001
Format: Paperback
Sara Davidson's "Loose Change" is a brilliantly-written account of the Sixties as experienced by three young women coming of age. I bought this book when it first came out in 1977 and loved it. Recently, I came across "Loose Change" in a used book store and just couldn't put it down.
The Sixties were a time of great social upheaval, and I remember many of the major events. I went though college in the late 60s and early 70s. Even though my background is somewhat different -- Blue collar, conservative, Catholic, male, short-haired, Pittsburgh, and definitely never inhaled -- it was interesting to see the female, radical point of view. Like many others in that period, Sara, Susie, and Tasha search for life's meaning in a turbulent time in which the old values they grew up with have withered away.
You are there in the historical events and movements of that period -- the Antiwar movement, major student protests at Berkeley and Columbia, the bloodbath at the 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention, the music of Woodstock, rural communes, free sex, and the terror of the Altamont Concert.
This book seems to get better over time because there is a greater contrast between today's world and the 1960s. The Antiwar, Womens' Liberation, and Civil Rights Movements changed the country and the world for the better, and drugs have changed things for the worst. And the sexual revolution.... well, you be the judge.
I like Ms. Davidson's rich writing style, as she places the reader right there, feeling and experiencing life with Sara, Susie, and Tasha, "warts and all." She's gutsy enough to talk about sexuality, a formerly taboo subject.
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There is a lot of heart and a lot of reporting in this book. And much unpleasant personal conduct and poor decision-making. The lives of three Berkeley women, class of ’65, are chronicled from arrival on campus in 1961 until ten years after graduation.

From a perspective of forty years, this story is more about the personal choices of the three women than the turbulence of the times. Free speech protests and demonstrations against the Viet Nam war are a constant backdrop, but never take on a more significant role. The men in the book, mostly husbands, boyfriends, and sex partners, are never personally threatened with the draft (as opposed to burning a draft card). There is no explanation why not a single man is either drafted, imprisoned for refusing the draft, or forced to flee to Canada.

By the end, most readers, like me, may dislike all three of the main characters. The least likeable, Susan, marries during college to a leading Berkeley radical and eventually sleeps with over 100 men (by her count) when she is either married or a single mother raising a son (yes, she worries that exposure to so many men might be detrimental to him). After reading a draft of the book in 1976, in addition to breaking down, her reaction is “I see those years as a kind of madness. We were like children throwing tantrums.” That’s about right.

In the middle is Sara. Often she shows great heart and wisdom. But then she takes serious drugs and engages in promiscuous behavior while in a not very good but enduring marriage. Her unilateral decision to get an abortion during this marriage causes even a pro-abortion reader to cringe with regret.
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Format: Paperback
I saw the miniseries on TV in 1978 in a college dorm with my girlfriends. It so inspired us, that as we tearfully said our good-byes at graduation, "Loose Change" became our anthem to describe what we expected as our futures unfolded. In 1999, I saw an article about Sara Davidson in People magazine, and I remembered how much the story had meant to me twenty years before--so it was time to get the book. The book jogged memories of the issues and choices I faced in the '70s, and also reminded me how much those '60s trailblazers did for their younger boomer-counterparts. I think it's time for the author to do a follow-up on these women today. In the meantime, I'm sending this book to my old college girlfriends.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Sara Davidson's story of three women covers most of the big changes that era brought to the U.S., from the early days of Camelot through the early 70's. She was a writer, covering rock bands, spiritual growth movements, politics. Susie became immersed in the Left, until the demands of motherhood and the violent fringes of the movement turned her off. Tasha was involved in the art world, Op-Art, Pop Art, events in galleries with the wealthy. Drugs, sex and rock and roll, Vietnam, Altamont, two Kennedy assassinations, the women's movement, the civil rights movement -- these women were young adults during this time. "Loose Change" is important as a social history, but it is also an engrossing read with likable characters.
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I read this book many years ago and loved it. It tells a story which I lived, the 60's.... although I lived them as a suburban high schooler on Long Island, NY, not as an extremist in Berkeley, California, where much of the movement started. I liked the structure of the book, which showcased various characters, returning repeatedly to their stories while always showcasing the story of the narrator. This is non fiction and just as fascinating as a novel. If you remember the social and political movements of the 60's, and if you are interested in the stories of people who were there and deeply involved in that time, you will love this book .
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