Political Fictions by Joan Didion

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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.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About Joan Didion

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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.
Published October 9, 2001 by Vintage. 354 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Primarily, these essays reflect the always-scintillating Didion’s preoccupation with “the process,” or “the traditional ways in which power is exchanged and the status quo maintained.” Participants in the process—candidates, political consultants, activists, and commentators—form an echo chamber ...

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The New York Times

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convinced that the heart of darkness lay not in some error of social organization but in man's own blood.'' If her novels are about wounded women in hot places making strange choices with calamitous consequences, her essays over the years -- approving less of Joan Baez than of John Wayne, finding...

Sep 23 2001 | Read Full Review of Political Fictions

Publishers Weekly

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Eight essays by noted novelist and nonfiction writer Didion (The Last Thing He Wanted, etc.), many originally published either in whole or in part in the New York Review of Books, cover politics from 1988 through the 2000 election.

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AV Club

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A novelist, screenwriter, and withering essayist for nearly four decades, Joan Didion comes to the political arena as the consummate outsider, unsympathetic to either of the major parties, distanced from the chummy complacency of the press, and not beholden to her subjects' self-interested agendas.

Apr 19 2002 | Read Full Review of Political Fictions


In today's national political scene, citizens are merely props in a carefully choreographed dramatic narrative that resembles a Hollywood movie set more than it does an American democracy.

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Didion’s latest essay collection—covering the map from Ronald Reagan to Bush II—cynically asserts that the individual’s role in politics has been reduced to fiction while a “permanent political class” has taken over Washington.

Oct 06 2006 | Read Full Review of Political Fictions

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