Joan Didion strikes me as being one of the smartest writers in America, with a firm but quiet authority that makes me trust her absolutely.
To see this carried on to the Golden Gate was a bit depressing – in fact, by the time we had “ expanded ” to California, the federal apparatus had become very sophisticated and prevalent in a way that dwarfs the knee-britches and coonskin cap crudities of Indiana settlement.
One of my avorite momen in this autobiography was when one of my favorite military historians, Victor Davis Hansen, a Californian like Didion, and like Didion the product of wealthy pioneer ranch-owning stock, came under Didion ’ s pitiless gaze.
California is and pretty much always has been a heavily subsidized, self-satisfied and self-delusional product of a whole bunch of Federal interference -- dam-building and corporate gimmees ( first the railroads, then military-avionics, crop subsidies, etc.).
I mean to read ore of Didion ’ s work…my only ( wildly unfair) complaint about her is that she often writes about stuff I don ’ t give a tinker ’ s damn about ( California, for instance – although she made me interested finally.