Joan Didion’s greatest in-depth story?


Joan Didion

Trouble in Lakewood: How a once idyllic postwar town fell under the sway of a teen-age gang.
It’s misleading to say this is about gangs. Don’t let this summary of a Joan Didion story fool you. The story is really about how most people go through life asleep as trusting clogs in the giant machine: in other words it’s about why Donald Trump is president.
Astoundingly, the story is almost thirty years old. It’s as deep and good as journalism can get: great observation, great interviewing, great sourcing, great prose, great intelligence making the invisible visible.
It took me about 1-1/2 hours to read and it pulled back another dozen veils from my clouded eyes. It takes many discrete pieces and makes so many connections its prescience chills your toes. I would love to have taught this article in a magazine writing course. I did teach her “Some Dreamers of the Golden Dream,” and it was a revelation to serious students.
Put this aside to read sometime when you’re thirsty for what great reporting and writing offers…not one word is out of place.

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