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- Publisher: Vintage Books
- Format: Paperback | 352 pages
- Dimensions: 130mm x 202mm x 20mm | 281g
- Publication date: 1 September 2002
- Publication City/Country: New York
- ISBN 10: 0375718907
- ISBN 13: 9780375718908
- Edition statement: Reprint
- Sales rank: 185,921
In these coolly observant essays, Joan Didion looks at the American political process and at "that handful of insiders who invent, year in and year out, the narrative of public life." Through the deconstruction of the sound bites and photo ops of three presidential campaigns, one presidential impeachment, and an unforgettable sex scandal, Didion reveals the mechanics of American politics. She tells us the uncomfortable truth about the way we vote, the candidates we vote for, and the people who tell us to vote for them. These pieces build, one on the other, into a disturbing portrait of the American political landscape, providing essential reading on our democracy.
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Joan Didion was born in California and lives in New York City. She is the author of five novels and seven previous books of nonfiction.
"One of our most cherished and insightful explicators of American culture...brings her perspective to the ultimate insider world." "-San Francisco Chronicle" "Splendid . . . Didion [is] on pure zen target . . . [with] her sonar ear, her radar eye, and her ice pick/laser beam/night--scope sniper prose." -"The""New York Times Book Review" "A steel spine of political argument . . . a mordant wit, refined critical powers, and a bone-deep knowledge of the ways in which Americans like to amuse and fool themselves." -"The Washington Post""Book World" "One of the most preeminent voices of journalism has stepped into the ring. . . . [A] gift." -Susan Faludi, "The New York Observer"
In 1988, Joan Didion began looking at the American political process for "The New York Review of Books. What she found was not a mechanism that offered the nation's citizens a voice in its affairs but one designed by--and for--"that handful of insiders who invent, year in and year out, the narrative of public life." The eight pieces collected here from "The New York Review build, one on the other, to a stunning whole, a portrait of the American political landscape that tells us, devastatingly, how we got where we are today. In Political Fictions, tracing the dreamwork that was already clear at the time of the first Bush ascendance in 1988, Didion covers the ways in which the continuing and polarizing nostalgia for an imagined America led to the entrenchment of a small percentage of the electorate as the nation's deciding political force, the ways in which the two major political parties have worked to narrow the electorate to this manageable element, the readiness with which the media collaborated in this process, and, finally and at length, how this mindset led inexorably over the past dozen years to the crisis that was the 2000 election. In this book Didion cuts to the core of the deceptions and deflections to explain and illuminate what came to be called "the disconnect"--and to reveal a political class increasingly intolerant of the nation that sustains it. Joan Didion's profound understanding of America's political and cultural terrain, her sense of historical irony, and the play of her imagination make Political Fictions a disturbing and brilliant tour de force.
Table of contents
A Foreword Insider Baseball The West Wing of Oz Eyes on the Prize Newt Gingrich, Superstar Political Pornography Clinton Agonistes Vichy Washington God’s Country