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Golden Hour Books

1974: A Personal History by Francine Prose (6/18/24)

1974: A Personal History by Francine Prose (6/18/24)

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The first memoir from critically acclaimed, bestselling author Francine Prose, about the close relationship she developed with activist Anthony Russo, one of the men who leaked the Pentagon Papers--and the year when our country changed.

“In this remarkable memoir, the qualities that have long distinguished Francine Prose’s fiction and criticism—uncompromising intelligence, a gratifying aversion to sentiment, the citrus bite of irony—give rigor and, finally, an unexpected poignancy to an emotional, artistic, and political coming-of-age tale set in the 1970s—the decade, as she memorably puts it, when American youth realized that the changes that seemed possible in the ’60s weren’t going to happen. A fascinating and ultimately wrenching book.”—Daniel Mendelsohn, author of The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million

During her twenties, Francine Prose lived in San Francisco, where she began an intense and strange relationship with Tony Russo, who had been indicted and tried for working with Daniel Ellsberg to leak the Pentagon papers. The narrative is framed around the nights she spent with Russo driving manically around San Francisco, listening to his stories--and the disturbing and dramatic end of that relationship in New York.

What happens to them mirrors the events and preoccupations of that historical moment: the Vietnam war, drugs, women's liberation, the Patty Hearst kidnapping. At once heartfelt and ironic, funny and sad, personal and political, 1974 provides an insightful look at how Francine Prose became a writer and artist during a time when the country, too, was shaping its identity.

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