In the early 1960s, when she was learning her craft by turning out promotional and merchandising copy for Vogue (“not unlike training for the Rockettes”), Joan Didion wrote a number of pieces for National Review. That might surprise those who have read her skewering portraits of the Reagans and other conservatives in The New York Review of Books, but as a young woman Didion was an “ardent” Barry Goldwater supporter with an abiding faith in the myths of rugged American individualism. That came with the territory in the staunchly Republican and relatively genteel surroundings of Sacramento, where she was born …
This article appears as “Why She Wrote” in the May 3, 2021, print edition of National Review.
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