The White Album

The White Album

Book - 1979
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First published in 1979, "The White Album "is a mosaic" "of the late sixties and seventies. It includes, among other bizarre artifacts and personalities, the dark journeys and impulses of the Manson family, a Balck Panther Party press conference, the story of John Paul Getty's museum, the romance of water in an arid landscape, and the swirl and confusion of the sixties. With commanding sureness of mood and language, Joan Didion exposes the realities and dreams of that age of self-discovery whose spiritual center was California.
Publisher: New York : Simon and Schuster, c1979.
ISBN: 9780671226855
Branch Call Number: 814.54 DIDION
Characteristics: 222 p.


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May 13, 2020

A really well-written book of essays that are a great time capsule of late 60s-1970s America.

Dec 25, 2019

Baby boomers often talk about the sixties as an idyllic time. Didion writes about racism, violence and the women's movement during that time and I get the feeling that she is a modern day Nostradamus, predicting many of the USA's current troubles.

May 27, 2019

Snobbish, flippant, stylish, and intimate. For these essays one can add confused, discomposed, and nonchalant. Murders and robberies, artists and their relation to their work (the essay on O'Keefe), and some literary criticism (essay on Doris Lessing), are all included in a mini-portrait of an era.
There is even a reference to Churchill Falls project in Canada 9this is written in 1977 - gives one an idea of the speed of government!
She pulls no punches ridiculing the women's movement (p. 109ff) by writing things like "the half-truths, repeated, authenticated themselves. The bitter fancies assumed their own logic." (p.115), and "more and more we have been hearing the wishful voices of just such perpetual adolescents, the voices of women scarred not by their class position as women but by the failure of their childhood expectations and misapprehensions" (p.117).
There is some wisdom in it too: "A place belongs forever to whoever claims it hardest, remembers it most obsessively, wrenches it from itself, shapes it, renders it, loves it so radically that he remakes it in his own image..." (p.146).

Sep 06, 2017

" In the beginning there had been the necessary 'issue,' the suspension of a 22 year old instructor who happened as well to be Minister of Education for the Black Panther Party, but that issue, like most, had soon ceased to be the point in the minds of eve the most dense participants. Disorder was its own point.. . . Here at San Francisco State only the black militants could be construed as serious: they were at any rate picking the games, dictating the rules, and taking what they could from what seemed for everyone else just an amiable evasion of routine, of institutional anxiety, of the tedium of the academic calendar.. . .' I'm here to tell you that at College of San Mateo we're living like REVOLUTIONARIES,' the boy said." ' Hardness' has not been in our century a quality much admired in women, nor in the past twenty years has it even been in official favor for men.. . Georgia O'Keeffe is simply hard, a straight shooter, a woman clean of received wisdom and open to what she sees."

w2110011 Apr 03, 2013

NYPL Twitter, "We tell ourselves stories in order to live."


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