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True Believers: A Novel by Kurt Andersen

True Believers: A Novel (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Kurt Andersen

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1903662,147 (3.37)22
Title:True Believers: A Novel
Authors:Kurt Andersen
Info:Random House (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 448 pages
Collections:Books I've Read, Read but unowned (inactive)

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True Believers by Kurt Andersen (2012)



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It's 2013. Karen Hollander, a 65-year-old law professor and well-known author and legal TV pundit, has taken herself out of consideration to fill a vacant Supreme Court seat. The reason? She has lived in fear for decades of something rash she involved herself in during her radical student days. and though she has avoided scrutiny until know, surely, she believes, a Supreme Court vetting would uncover it.

And in response, to get the monkey finally off her back, she decides to write a tell-all memoir revealing her secret.

Karen Hollander is my contemporary. I lived through the times her memoir covers. And that certainly played a role in my enjoyment of this novel. Furthermore, I enjoyed Karen's interplay with her granddaughter as the two generations try to understand one another. (They relate very well, by the way.) I also couldn't help resonating with the fact that young Karen and her friends had a James Bond fetish, which captured me as well "back in the day" of the Cold War with Dr. No and From Russian With Love.

There is a dynamic to the story that moves it along. Only is it slowly revealed what secret Karen was hiding over her lifetime--it turns out to be something pretty far-fetched, but young radicals did pursue some crazy schemes in the '60s. And there's also a mystery to her past that even Karen must solve: with her prominence, why hasn't anyone discovered her secret sooner. Something's fishy there, and in the course of doing her memoir she uses her networks to uncover it.

Karen was someone I was pleased to meet, and the story pulled me along. I recommend it. ( )
  kvrfan | Aug 19, 2016 |
How it felt to be 18 in 1968. I was more on the hippie side of the spectrum and these kids are more on the SDS side, but I recognized the ferociousness of their anger. Remarkable, powerfully written evocation of the era by a guy who was 14 at the time. ( )
  ChrisNewton | Mar 18, 2016 |
Vietnam, 60s/70s, LBJ, SDS, LSD, marijuana and college – hmm, sound familiar? This book was so much fun to read for me having come from a generation close to the fictional autobiographer’s of _True Believers_. And I could definitely relate to playing James Bond with others my own age just like her too. Andersen has written a story rich with character and very true to the time. Not laugh-out-loud funny most of the time, it nevertheless is filled with humor and pokes fun at today whilst wallowing in the redolent past. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Andersen strives to create a sense of suspense and period atmosphere; he succeeds at times. It is difficult for the reader to maintain interest in this story of Sixties protest and dissent that somehow has the possibility to affect the future. The story lags and it was with great effort that I persevered to the end. ( )
  cao9415 | Dec 20, 2014 |
I'm not sure if I was hoarding this or if I had an intuition .....but although I very much enjoyed two previous novels of Andersen's, Turn of the Century and Heyday, this one fell flat for me, I won't go into detail, but I suspect Andersen's true agenda was to stuff every possible detail from the sixties into one book, to come up with a shocking plot to demonstrate how a person can be very stupid when young, and that even over sixty a person can still be cool. Granny, Dean at Stanford Law School after an illustrious law career gets short-listed for the Supreme Court - turns it down because....... well..... she has secrets and she decides to 'out' herself. She's so cool she rides a bus down to the Occupy rally in Miami with her granddaughter to be the 'chaperone'. But really, it's not about her, she is just the vehicle for the agenda and it kind of implodes on itself and becomes tedious. It's a 'list' book, I could list everything Andersen wanted to cram in here, from Bond-mania to living with diabetes 1. It's just too much, and I didn't buy it and I didn't care. That said, as always, make up your own mind. Andersen is smart and he can write and there are some delicious moments, he is keenly observant and thoughtful although I don't agree that because of television we all 'share' the same memories, unlike our pre-tv forebears.... that's just romanticizing. My favorite observation was Andersen just musing, not being hip: "Living with other people, especially people I love or wish I could love, is like having music on in the background, several different songs at once, all the time." More like that, please. ***1/2 ( )
  sibyx | Apr 4, 2014 |
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Karen Hollander is a celebrated attorney who recently removed herself from consideration for appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court. Her reasons have their roots in 1968, an episode she's managed to keep secret for more than forty years. Now, with the imminent publication of her memoir, she's about to let the world in on that shocking secret, as soon as she can track down the answers to a few crucial last questions.… (more)

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