'All the essays manifest not only her intelligence but an instinct for details that continue to emit pulsations in the reader's memory, and a style that is spare, subtly musical in its phrasing, and exact. Add to this her highly vulnerable sense of herself, and the result is a voice like no other in contemporary journalism.'
NEW YORK TIMES
'Demonstrates an uncanny ability to capture the insidious and pervasive infections of mind and spirit that have led to both the corruption of government and business, and the withering of the individual.'
'Everything Didion writes has a land's end edginess to it – a hyperattentive eye on the dramas found at the outskirts of the human condition. She writes as someone who has come through great shudders of the earth with a fundamental understanding that everything is subject to instantaneous and complete revision.'
'She is the best chronicler California has'
'Simply an original and unexpected writer who is never banal'
NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS
In this landmark essay collection, Joan Didion brilliantly interweaves her own “bad dreams” with those of a nation confronting the dark underside of 1960s counterculture.
From a jailhouse visit to Black Panther Party cofounder Huey Newton to witnessing First Lady of California Nancy Reagan pretend to pick flowers for the benefit of news cameras, Didion captures the paranoia and absurdity of the era with her signature blend of irony and insight. She takes readers to the “giddily splendid” Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the cool mountains of Bogotá, and the Jordanian Desert, where Bishop James Pike went to walk in Jesus’s footsteps—and died not far from his rented Ford Cortina. She anatomizes the culture of shopping malls—“toy garden cities in which no one lives but everyone consumes”—and exposes the contradictions and compromises of the women’s movement. In the iconic title essay, she documents her uneasy state of mind during the years leading up to and following the Manson murders—a terrifying crime that, in her memory, surprised no one.
Written in “a voice like no other in contemporary journalism,” The White Album is a masterpiece of literary reportage and a fearless work of autobiography by the National Book Award–winning author of The Year of Magical Thinking (The New York Times Book Review). Its power to electrify and inform remains undiminished nearly forty years after it was first published.