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Universally acclaimed from the time it was first published in 1968, Slouching Towards Bethlehem has been admired for decades as a stylistic masterpiece. Academy Award-winning actress Diane Keaton (Annie Hall, The Family Stone) performs these classic essays, including the title piece, which will transport the listener back to a unique time and place: the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco during the neighborhood’s heyday as a countercultural center.
This is Joan Didion’s first work of nonfiction, offering an incisive look at the mood of 1960s America and providing an essential portrait of the Californian counterculture. She explores the influences of John Wayne and Howard Hughes, and offers ruminations on the nature of good and evil in a Death Valley motel room. Taking its title from W.B. Yeats’ poem "The Second Coming", the essays in Slouching Towards Bethlehem all reflect, in one way or another, that "the center cannot hold."
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Victoria Wright on 01-21-13
Didion deserves better.
Joan Didion's writing is fabulous, insightful, spare. She deserves much better treatment than she gets from Diane Keaton, whom I love as an actress, but who is NOT a good reader. Her mispronunciations are legion, and it is painfully obvious that she is doing this reading cold. But frankly, I blame Audible's obvious desire to whip through these recordings rather than taking the time to produce something flawless--which both the author and the reader deserve. Would it kill them to go back and dub a few mistakes? Didion deserves better.
Still worth a listen, though, because even though Keaton's not so hot, Didion is that good.
58 of 65 people found this review helpful
By wsp on 01-25-16
Narrator ruins it beyond repair
I wish I had read the other reviews before purchasing. Who would guess that Diane Keaton would be such a horrible narrator? Between her wooden amateurish performance and her mispronunciation I had to quit listening, even though the stories are well written.
19 of 22 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Claire Leith on 03-28-18
How is this book still relevant?
Where does Slouching Towards Bethlehem rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
one of the better Audio Books. I love Diane Keaton's Voice and she felt like the perfect choice for this book. The Content of the book is so insightful as someone born in the 90's the story's contained really illustrate a generation of people. To me the book was written by Didion to communicate over a generational gap. Maybe originally intended to bridge the void between hippy culture and there parents it somehow is equally relevant to a person who has come a good few generations later.
What other book might you compare Slouching Towards Bethlehem to, and why?
My Misspent Youth: Essays by Meghan Daum is the 90's equivalent but this has dated less well
What does Diane Keaton bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?
Nostalgia, her voice brings you back to 90's
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
"People with self-respect exhibit a certain toughness, a kind of moral nerve; they display what was once called character, a quality which, although approved in the abstract, sometimes loses ground to the other, more instantly negotiable virtues.... character--the willingness to accept responsibility for one's own life--is the source from which self-respect springs.”
― Joan Didion, Slouching Towards Bethlehem
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
By J. A. Croucher on 08-31-16
Sometimes I choose a lucky dip book. This was one of those. It is really strong in parts. It has a genuine feel of a range of 60s cultures. It is not weak anywhere just less interesting.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful