The White Album

  • by Joan Didion
  • Narrated by Susan Varon
  • 7 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

First published in 1979, The White Album records indelibly the upheavals and aftermaths of the 1960s. Examining key events, figures, and trends of the era - including Charles Manson, the Black Panthers, and the shopping mall - through the lens of her own spiritual confusion, Joan Didion helped to define mass culture as we now understand it. Written with a commanding sureness of tone and linguistic precision, The White Album is a central example of American reportage and a classic of American autobiography.


What the Critics Say

"All of the essays manifest not only [Didion's] 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 these her highly vulnerable sense of herself, and the result is a voice like no other in contemporary journalism." (The New York Times Book Review)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

We tell ourselves stories in order to live...

We look for the sermon in the suicide, for the social or moral lesson in the murder of five. We interpret what we see, select the most workable of the multiple choices. We live entirely, especially if we are writers, by the imposition of a narrative line upon disparate images, by the "ideas" with which we have learned to freeze the shifting phantasmagoria which is our actual experience.”
- Joan Didion, The White Album

I wish I could dance like Fred Astaire and write like Joan Didion.

I find myself attracted to Joan Didion. The younger Didion, I can understand. She was a Miss Shiv and a Ms.Shank. She was sharp, California cool, and seemed to slide clean and straight along a razor-thin line between madness and coldness that was absolutely sane, true and beautiful. But it isn't just the young Didion I find attractive. I dig the older Didion. The one who seems more hard-wrinkled priestess of the California desert than an elderly queen of cool laying in bed with another GD migraine. I know this is the stuff of cults and hero worship. I know this is already a cliché. It isn't like I DON'T know my diet Coke is bad for me and that nothing is ever, EVER as advertised. But still I long, I lust, I linger too often over just the idea of Didion.

After reading her essays in 'The White Album', I think it would have been dangerous to breed Joan Didion with John McPhee. What rough New Journalism beast, its hour come round at last would awaken and slouch towards the New Yorker, the New York Times, and the New York Review of Books to be born? But where John McPhee is rolling hills and farmer's markets, Joan Didion is a raging river, breaking waves, and rock and roll. McPhee feeds you. Didion gives you the whiskey you might need after a bad dream, or bad trip. McPhee is a rocky mountain cut-through. Didion is an LA Freeway. I can't imagine my life without either. There are certain writers that make you want to read more. Didion is one of those writers that make you want to think and write more.

Be careful folks. You might fall in love with Joan Didion, but she sure the hell won't ever love you back.
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- Darwin8u "I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - Salinger ^(;,;)^"

A great portrait of a fascinating time.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, definitely. This is a really compelling audiobook, beautifully done.

What does Susan Varon bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Susan Varon's voice is a perfect match for Didion's essays. I'd love to hear her do more.

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- George

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-22-2013
  • Publisher: Audible Studios