Slouching Towards Bethlehem
By Joan Didion
(Farrar Straus Giroux, Paperback, 9780374531386, 238pp.)
Publication Date: October 28, 2008
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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.
"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