True Believers

( 12 )

Overview

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
The Washington Post • San Francisco Chronicle

In True Believers, Kurt Andersen—the New York Times bestselling and critically acclaimed author of Heyday and Turn of the Century—delivers his most powerful and moving novel yet. Dazzling in its wit and effervescent insight, this kaleidoscopic tour de force of cultural observation and seductive storytelling alternates ...

See more details below
Hardcover
$24.62
BN.com price
(Save 8%)$27.00 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (67) from $1.99   
  • New (13) from $1.99   
  • Used (54) from $1.99   
True Believers: A Novel

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$11.99
BN.com price

Overview

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
The Washington Post • San Francisco Chronicle

In True Believers, Kurt Andersen—the New York Times bestselling and critically acclaimed author of Heyday and Turn of the Century—delivers his most powerful and moving novel yet. Dazzling in its wit and effervescent insight, this kaleidoscopic tour de force of cultural observation and seductive storytelling alternates between the present and the 1960s—and indelibly captures the enduring impact of that time on the ways we live now.

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.

As junior-high-school kids back in the early sixties, Karen and her two best friends, Chuck and Alex, roamed suburban Chicago on their bikes looking for intrigue and excitement. Inspired by the exotic romance of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels, they acted out elaborate spy missions pitting themselves against imaginary Cold War villains. As friendship carries them through childhood and on to college—in a polarized late-sixties America riven by war and race as well as sex, drugs, and rock and roll—the bad guys cease to be the creatures of make-believe. Caught up in the fervor of that extraordinary and uncanny time, they find themselves swept into a dangerous new game with the highest possible stakes.

Today, only a handful of people are left who know what happened. As Karen reconstructs the past and reconciles the girl she was then with the woman she is now, finally sharing pieces of her secret past with her national-security-cowboy boyfriend and activist granddaughter, the power of memory and history and luck become clear. A resonant coming-of-age story and a thrilling political mystery, True Believers is Kurt Andersen’s most ambitious novel to date, introducing a brilliant, funny, and irresistible new heroine to contemporary fiction.

Praise for True Believers
 
“Funny, fiendishly smart.”—San Francisco Chronicle
 
“A great American novel.”—Vanity Fair
 
“A big, swinging novel . . . [a] colorful story . . . This could be the most rambunctious meeting your book club will have for a long time.”—The Washington Post
 
“Intelligent and insightful . . . Think The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter and Atonement, a ’60s-era female Holden Caulfield. . . . Andersen is an agile storyteller. . . . [There are] witty, occasionally even profound observations about the ’60s and today.”—USA Today
 
“So epic: Part thriller, part coming-of-age tale, the novel alternates between the present and the 1960s, capturing some of America’s most pivotal moments in history like a time capsule.”—Marie Claire
 
“This is an ambitious and remarkable novel, wonderfully voiced, about memory, secrets, guilt, and the dangers of certitude. Moreover, it asks essential questions about what it means to be an American and, in a sense, what it means to be America.”—Booklist (starred review)
 
“Fascinating and wisely observant.”—O: The Oprah Magazine

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Try as he might, author, journalist, and radio host Andersen (Reset) never quite captures the female voice of law professor Karen Hollaender, who, in the process of publishing her memoirs, makes a stunning revelation about her past. Anderson does, however, successfully depict the political and social turmoil of the mid 1960s as Karen revisits the radicalizing angst that led her and her trio of male friends to devise a plan that would indelibly alter the course of history. As teenagers in their Chicago suburb, Karen, Alex Macallister, and Chuck Levy spent hours staging James Bond fantasies. Tracing their transformation into budding ’60s student radicals, Andersen credibly shows why so many smart young privileged people became passionate about social justice, embraced anarchy and insurrection, and in many cases ended up snitching for the U.S. government. The author’s observations from a baby boomer’s perspective, about differences between the post-9/11 world and the 1960s, along with an intriguing behind-the-scenes look at intelligence and its role in both the past and present adds pizzazz to a tale that falters because of an unconvincing narrator. Agent: Suzanne Gluck, WME Entertainment. (July)
Library Journal
Karen Hollander is a respected attorney, professor, and grandmother, but she has a secret. Having withdrawn her name from consideration for appointment to the Supreme Court, she feels compelled to reveal in a new memoir something that happened in her college protest days. The narrative switches between the older and the younger Karen and shows two worlds that initially seem miles apart. Andersen (Heyday; Turn of the Century) layers suspense—about just what Karen and her cohorts did and how her former colleagues will react to her confession—with period detail of the 1960s, including the antiwar movement, the rise of media culture, and an obsessive interest in James Bond on the part of young Karen and her friends. While young Karen is a bit of a pill in her self-righteousness, older Karen has a better sense of humor and is altogether more interesting and likable. Throughout, Andersen explores that most American of themes—the reinvention of the self. VERDICT A good read both for those who remember the era and for those who wish to better understand that time and its social and political connections to today.—Devon Thomas, DevIndexing, Chelsea, MI
Library Journal
Cofounder of Spy, former editor in chief of New York magazine, and cocreator and host of the award-winning Public Radio program Studio 360, Andersen knows his way around the zeitgeist; just take a look at his two novels, Turn of the Century (which drew comparisons to Bonfire of the Vanities) and the New York Times best-selling Heyday. Here he returns with another cultural study, this one featuring an eminent sixtyish judge who withdraws from consideration for a Supreme Court seat because of events in her youth. Revelations about those events will tell us as much about the country as they do about the judge. With a six-city tour, an NPR campaign, a custom Facebook page, early pitches to Goodreads and LibraryThing, book club outreach, and even a thriller platform (that says something); this will be big.
Kirkus Reviews
A deliberately paced look back at the tumultuous 1960s, that era of free love, beads and bombs. Karen Hollander, 64 years old and counting, has been working very hard for the last four decades, immersed in social issues and legal battles. Now, having withdrawn her candidacy for the U.S. Supreme Court, she's embarked upon writing a memoir that's bound to upset more than one apple cart. Step one, the reader being tougher at vetting than any Senate committee, she needs to establish her credentials: "I am a reliable narrator. Unusually reliable. Trust me." Any survivor of the '60s will tell you that anyone who begs to be trusted is probably a narc, but not Karen, who is "old enough to forgo the self-protective fibs and lies but still young enough to get the memoir nailed down before the memories begin disintegrating." It would spoil Studio 360 host Andersen's (Turn of the Century, 1999, etc.) fun to give too much away, but suffice it to say that Karen is about to tell some tales out of school that involve intelligence agencies, plots to kill prominent politicians and other hijinks that definitively do not befit peace-and-love types. Naturally, there are people from the time who do not wish her to reveal such things, and so the plot thickens--as indeed it must, given Karen's lifelong love of James Bond. ("The world must be crawling with make-believe secret agents," she thinks.) Andersen's tone is smart and sometimes rueful: "During high school," he has Karen recall, "we never discussed and weren't even quite aware of the straddle we were attempting, studying hard and participating in extracurriculars even while we reimagined ourselves as existential renegades driven by contempt for conventional ambition and hypocrisy." The grown-up attitude suits the novel, which lacks the exuberance of Andersen's Heyday (2007), a tale of the revolutionary year of 1848. Neither is it reserved, though. About its only flaw is its title, which, absent the plural marker, already belongs to a 1989 film about, yes, a '60s survivor and lawyer battling for truth and justice, all a little too close for comfort. Those who remember the '60s, at least from one side of the culture wars, will like this yarn.
From the Publisher
“Funny, fiendishly smart.”—San Francisco Chronicle
 
“A great American novel.”—Vanity Fair
 
“A big, swinging novel . . . [a] colorful story . . . This could be the most rambunctious meeting your book club will have for a long time.”—The Washington Post
 
“Intelligent and insightful . . . Think The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter and Atonement, a ’60s-era female Holden Caulfield. . . . Andersen is an agile storyteller. . . . [There are] witty, occasionally even profound observations about the ’60s and today.”—USA Today
 
“So epic: Part thriller, part coming-of-age tale, the novel alternates between the present and the 1960s, capturing some of America’s most pivotal moments in history like a time capsule.”—Marie Claire
 
“This is an ambitious and remarkable novel, wonderfully voiced, about memory, secrets, guilt, and the dangers of certitude. Moreover, it asks essential questions about what it means to be an American and, in a sense, what it means to be America.”—Booklist (starred review)
 
“Fascinating and wisely observant.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
 
“Exhilarating . . . sober, thoughtful . . . accessible and often funny . . . an absorbing, well-told tale.”—Fortune
The Barnes & Noble Review
If Red Bull underwrote literary endeavors in addition to such speed sports as auto racing, True Believers would come plastered in silver-red-and-blue logos. The big novel, Kurt Andersen's third, is nothing if not caffeinated. It cycles at a hot pace between the late sixties and 2013, when its protagonist, high-powered jurist Karen Hollander, decides to write a memoir admitting the final, terrible truth about what she did as an antiwar protester in the era that simultaneously changed so much and not much. As the title indicates, "truth" itself is the real main character.

Andersen (author of Heyday and Turn of the Century, public radio host, and co-founder of epically funny magazine Spy) certainly knows a lot -- the profusion of references as the pages hurtle past pushes us near certainty that he possesses knowledge of every last thing -- about history, government, culture, technology, and their progressively intricate confluence. The overbuilt structure that results, with its now/then dialectic and meta-memoir, embedded in which is the work of yet a third writer (Ian Fleming), is appropriately cross-referential. Its digital-age nonlinearity adds up to an experience that is less like reading than like 3-D gaming. This World of Novelcraft poses a fractious question: Is it ever possible to grasp anything we can ultimately label "the truth" -- especially here, where the formula of the political thriller demands its precise location but the author also philosophizes that it is situational, fluid over time? Oh, man, I feel dizzy.

And that's the point.

Scenes from Hollander's privileged youth in the Chicago suburb of Wilmette and her days as an angry young Radcliffe student alternate with chapters from the perspective of her sixty-fourth year as she sets out to discover what truly motivated her cohorts in rebellion, Chuck, Alex, and Buzzy. (Apart, that is, from Benzedrine, Marcuse, and a lavish obsession with restaging From Russia with Love.) With the help of old flame Stewart Jones -- not his real name, of course, befitting one who speaks fluent Acronym, the language of the giddily re-created, Bond-esque world also known as the U.S. government's intelligence branch, and who wields a smartphone that doubles as a lie detector -- she maps the cul-de-sacs and U-turns of personal as well as national history.

The author's selection of the very near future for one of his story's many facets permits him one of few flights of humor in an otherwise deadly serious narrative: the lunacy that began on 9/11 and kept on coming with attempted shoe and underwear bombings and the eruption of the Occupy movement has been followed by a new terrorist attack?at a Boca Raton yacht club. But in the chronicle of the critical years '67 and '68, not much is funny. It can't be, when it concerns things like the two- week span during which three American college students were shot ("two of them in the back"), Vietnam's Ben Tre was bombed into oblivion on the assertion that "it became necessary to destroy the town to save it," and more than 3,000 American soldiers were killed or wounded in an increasingly deranged war.

The sort of maelstrom Andersen depicts in widescreen, the ricochet of cause and effect, youthful impatience and rapid cultural change, governmental dissembling and social despair, is shown in today's mirror:
After a while visiting our era, [a time traveler from 1968] might become dispirited by all the familiar political tropes, what [my granddaughter] Waverly calls the "cover versions of the sixties." The rest of the world is still complaining about the wealth and power and obliviousness of America, as they began doing in the '60s. American leaders still warn that negotiating with foreign dictators is like the British appeasing Hitler, the way the secretary of state warned in 1966 against making peace overtures in Vietnam. Hip white kids are still romanticizing ghetto violence, unsmiling costumed Panthers then and costumed rappers now. Armageddon and apocalypse were right around the corner in the late '60s, and they're right around the corner now.
Yet Andersen is not a writer to be satisfied with a scenario as simple as plus ça change?and the story would not be half as absorbing, meaningful, or annoying if he were. It's only the fuse on the fragment bomb that this book seeks to be. There is a latter-day ADD vibe to his enterprise, as if he were trying to create the print version of a news site replete with simultaneous screen crawls, banners, sidebars, and pop-ups: so much information all at once.

It's not enough to plot espionage and counterespionage, astute social commentary on two separate eras, and literary references galore. No, according to Andersen: engage hyperdrive! Thus, among other themes, Esperanto, the wages of diabetes, Catholic absolution, and the concert calendar of Jimi Hendrix also pass by in a blur. Wordsworth, too, gets the breathless treatment. On our first reminder that to be young in a time of revolution is "very heaven" there is a frisson; by the fifth, even the most immortal poetry appears fatigued.

"Ambitious" is the word most frequently applied to Andersen's books. Next come "busy" and "noisy." His mind is a fine-gauge net in the ocean of American culture, catching important sea creatures as well as broken detritus of every description. He employs that New Journalism shortcut to tone and color, catalogs of stuff ("Bic pens and Instamatic cameras and live transatlantic TV broadcasts and in-flight movies and printed circuit boards and TouchTone phones"), and then wistfully justifies such literary cynicism by observing that the recollections of anyone born since the fifties are necessarily consigned to "a second-rate mental ghetto, supplanted by the canon of slick universal media memories." The author is, finally, a master of having it both ways. He is at once facile, his thousand-piece puzzle practically machine produced, and deeply wise. He subtly explores the way we always seem to make of ourselves fictive characters against the larger backdrop of our epochs. He suggests it is to serve youth's intemperate needs -- a form of insanity -- as well as to avenge the real immoralities of power: just acts in an unjust cycle we are helpless to stop.

Andersen's control of his subject is so complete that he has prewritten his own review. Of the Ink Spots' "I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire" ("I've lost all ambition for worldly acclaim / I just want to be the one you love") he remarks, by way of the older and wiser Karen Hollander, "It's too pat, right? But it's true." Yes, on both counts.

Melissa Holbrook Pierson is the author of three works of nonfiction: The Perfect Vehicle, Dark Horses and Black Beauties, andThe Place You Love Is Gone, all from Norton. She is writing a book on B. F. Skinner and the ethics of dog training.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400067206
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 7/10/2012
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 1,434,397
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Kurt Andersen
Kurt Andersen is the author of the bestselling novels Heyday and Turn of the Century. He has also written for film, television, and the stage. He is host of the Peabody Award–winning public radio show Studio 360 and contributes to Vanity Fair, New York, and Time. Previously he was a columnist for The New Yorker, editor in chief of New York, and co-founder of Spy.
Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

9781400067206|excerpt

Andersen / TRUE BELIEVERS

1

My publishers signed me up a year ago to write a book, but not this book. “A candid and inspirational memoir by one of the most accomplished leaders and thinkers of our times,” their press release promised. They think they’re getting a slightly irreverent fleshing out of my shiny curriculum vitae, a plainspoken, self-congratulatory chronicle of A Worthy Life in the Law and the Modern Triumph of American Women, which they’re publishing, ho-hum premise notwithstanding, because I’ve written a couple of best sellers and appear on TV a lot.

By far the most interesting thing about my life, however, is nowhere in my résumé or official bio or Wikipedia entry. I’m not exactly who the world believes I am. Let me cut to the chase: I once set out to commit a spectacular murder, and people died.

But it’s not a simple story. It needs to be unpacked very carefully. Like a bomb.

Trust me, okay?

I am reliable. I am an oldest child. Highly imperfect, by no stretch a goody-goody. But I was a reliable U.S. Supreme Court clerk and then a reliable Legal Aid lawyer, representing with all the verve and cunning I could muster some of the most pathetically, tragically unreliable people on earth. I have been a reliable partner in America’s nineteenth largest law firm, a reliable author of four books, a reliable law professor, a reliable U.S. Justice Department official, a reliable law school dean. I’ve been a reliable parent—as trustworthy a servant, teacher, patron, defender, and worshipper of my children as anyone could reasonably demand, and I think on any given day at least one of the two of them would agree.

I was not an entirely reliable wife for the last decade of my marriage, although my late ex, during our final public fight, called me “reliable to a goddamned fault,” which is probably true. And which may be why the surprising things I did immediately afterward—grabbing his BlackBerry out of his hand and hurling it into a busy New York street, filing for divorce, giving up my law firm partnership, accepting a job that paid a fifth as much, moving three thousand miles away—made him more besotted by me than he’d ever seemed before. As my friend Alex said at the time, “That’s funny—telling Jack Wu ‘Fuck you’ finally made him really want to fuck you.”

I am reliable, but I’m not making the case that reliability is the great human virtue. Nor am I even making the case that reliability is my great virtue. In fact, after four decades in the law, I’ve lost my animal drive for making cases for the sake of making cases, for strictly arguing one of two incompatible versions of the truth, for telling persuasive stories by omitting or twisting certain facts.

So I am not arguing a case here. I’m not setting out to defend myself any more than I am to indict myself. I’m determined to tell something like the whole truth—which, by the way, I don’t believe has ever been done in any American court of law. To tell the whole truth in a legal case would require a discovery process and trial that lasted years, hundreds of witnesses each testifying for many weeks apiece, and rules of evidence rewritten to permit not just hearsay and improperly obtained information but iffy memories of certain noises and aromas and hallucinatory hunches, what a certain half-smile or drag on a cigarette decades ago did or didn’t signify during some breathless three a.m. conversation.

In any event, for the purposes of this book, I am extremely reliable. I have files. Since long before I went to law school, for half a century now—half a century!—I’ve saved every diary and journal, every letter I ever received, catechism worksheets, term papers, restaurant receipts, train schedules, ticket stubs, snapshots, Playbills. At the beginning, my pack-ratting impulse was curatorial, as if I were director of the Karen Hollaender Museum and Archive. I know that sounds narcissistic, but when I was a kid, it seemed like a way to give the future me a means of knowing what the past and perpetually present me was actually like. Prophylactic forensics, you could say.

My memory has always been excellent, but the reason I’m telling my story now is also about maximizing reliability: I’m old enough to forgo the self-protective fibs and lies but still young enough to get the memoir nailed down before the memories begin disintegrating.

Only one in a hundred people my age suffer dementia, and the Googled Internet is like a prosthetic cerebral cortex and hippocampus, letting us subcontract sharpness and outsource memory. But after sixty-five? Atrocious: the incidence of neurodegenerative disease increases tenfold during that decade, and it’s worse for women. I turn sixty-five next May.

So, anyhow, here’s my point: I am a reliable narrator. Unusually reliable. Trust me.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 12 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(7)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(1)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 18, 2012

    It's astonishing to me that women give this book good reviews.

    It's astonishing to me that women give this book good reviews. This book would have seriously benefitted by a woman editor showing the author why it's not believable. If a woman raised Ina ultra liberal family in the sixties wasn't even marginally influenced by the women's liberation movement, you would think that the author really wanted her to be a man. She wonders if she is an "insensitive jerk" at one point, rarely a female thought. She conceivaBle dwells a lot on her awakening sexuality without once mentioning birth control or fear of pregnancy. In fact, her approach to sex is very male - so glad her first time was with someone she would never see again? At 17? Ok, so the mystery is all about what horrible thing she and her 3 best friends (all male) did during the anti- war movement in 1968, so maybe all this female nonsense is irrelevant. I kept with it but it wasn't easy.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 9, 2012

    Kurt Andersen has done a wonderful job of creating his protagoni

    Kurt Andersen has done a wonderful job of creating his protagonist’s, Karen Hollander, first person voice. It is both believable and captivating. I love the way he captured the dissonance between Karen’s girlish teenage voice and her grown-up persona. How does he know women so well? The tone he achieves with Karen as the story swings back and forth from the 60’s to today is pitch perfect. I like how elements of Karen’s younger self pop up in the current day parts of the novel. I can identify with the schism between the private voice of a woman who is externally secure, successful and concerned about her public persona who, in private can sound silly, profane, girlish and insecure. I was eager to read more about Karen, a well known lawyer, teacher, dean of an Ivy league school as she struggled to come clean with her guilty conscience and deep dark secrets of her college years by writing a memoire. She has been hiding many things from herself and others for decades.

    I bought the book, intrigued with Anderson’s use of James Bond in his characters lives and how playing at being spies (I started out with “Harriett the spy” and later graduated to the more sophisticated Bond books) impacts their life choices, actions and decisions. The generation that came of age in the 60’s idols and models were no longer Mom or Dad but celebrities and characters on TV shows and in movies. So instead of wanting to grow up and be a teacher or some valued role model in a young person's life ,it's fictional characters like Emma Peel, Barbarella or a Bond Girl. This was the beginning of what Andersen calls our “ability to fictionalize ourselves like mad”. Indeed it is no surprise that as Karen muses, “real life has become a massive multi-player role-playing game.”

    What I never appreciated before, having gone to college later in the seventies, is how turbulent, violent and difficult it was to be in college in the late sixties, early seventies. The scenes Andersen paints in the amphetamine amped up dorm room when Karen, Alex, Chuck and Buzzy made some fateful choices, was indelible. For the first time I understood why so many people dropped out of college at that time. The stew of heavy drugs, political seriousness and a commitment to prove one's political convictions at any cost was an unhappy heady mix.

    Andersen creates a compelling story with vivid characters. I couldn’t put the book down and read it in just a few days. It has clever turns and revelations about the connections between today’s political activists to those in the 60’s wrapped in a thriller plot.
    As much as this book may appeal to baby boomers and the richness of details of the 60’s era and the delight of having all the many “Aha” markers of their youth come flashing back (I did!), it also just as relevant to the boomer’s children. It has as much to tell how much the world’s leaders or villains haven’t changed in the intervening decades. Big brother just has way better spy equipment today than it did in the 60’s.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2012

    Believing

    Karen Hollander lived my fantasy life. I'm a bit older, and I've regretted not being more active in my dissent because I had young children in the '60s and '70s. I found this book an accurate, entertaining depiction of the times, and as I finished it, I realized that I'm not much of a risk-taker, with or without the personal baggage. Did I mention that the book is also well-written? -- catwak

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 12, 2013

    This is a story about coming of age in the 60s and reflecting up

    This is a story about coming of age in the 60s and reflecting upon it in the present day. Karen Hollander is an attorney in her 60s who has declined nomination for the Supreme Court because of a deep, dark secret she has hidden in her past. At the same time, she has decided to write a book, a memoir, and expose everything she and her comrades did in 1968 that has been haunting her ever since.

    Kurt Anderson is a master at building suspense in each chapter, captivating the reading by alluding to the secrets of the past and then doling it out slowly throughout the book as Karen recounts her childhood and young adult life. This novel is about the roles we take on in life and how the consequences of our decisions affect us and those we love.

    This novel is great choice for book clubs, classrooms and for anyone who enjoys an intelligent, thought-provoking story.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 28, 2012

    Great book!!

    I couldn't put it down!! Great book especially if you like a political plot. I'm not big on politics but loved the plot.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 19, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    True Believer is a book for baby boomers who want a look back, p

    True Believer is a book for baby boomers who want a look back, perhaps imagining themselves as more radical than they really were. I saw myself in parts of the book and wondered where I missed out in others. Most others. I guess I was too conventional. I never plotted to kill anyone. What bothered me the most throughout the novel was the why question. Why did Karen Hollander see the need to reveal a long kept secret at the end of her career? Who would it benefit? It wouldn't particularly hurt anyone as co-conspirator Alex seems to live in a Hollywood script anyway. She only seems to be set to hurt herself- her reputation, and perhaps her family's. But all that aside, it was a nice trip back to the sixties. I had forgotten a lot of it, didn't live a lot of it, and found myself nostalgic for the rest of it. We won't be young again, and one thing I admired about the novel is Karen's involving her granddaughter in the story. The contrast between the generations is notable.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 28, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    True Believers is a club sandwich of a novel - not too heavy, no

    True Believers is a club sandwich of a novel - not too heavy, not too
    light with a satisfying array of diverse flavors. The novel is a Baby
    Boomer coming of age story wherein we observe the protagonist Karen
    Hollaender morphing from scampy preteen to adventurous (in many
    respects) adolescent to campus radical. And the coming of age hook
    boomerangs (pardon the pseudo-pun) as the reader witnesses 64 year-old,
    diabetic Karen Hollander clinging quite comfortably to vitality as she
    chaperones her granddaughter's Occupy protest journey to Miami (in the
    comfort of motorcoaches and a business-class hotel), works her
    deteriorating, frequently obfuscating and downright obstinate network of
    contacts as she labors to complete her memoir and also manages to get in
    a few booty calls. And she gets this all done while simultaneously
    parrying the protestations of her daughter who's somewhat concerned she
    might be off the rocker to which she assumes Karen should be bound.
    Staying with the sandwich analogy, the novel is a window into the
    socio-political perspectives of two "sandwich generations" -
    the one layered between my parents' and my own (Karen) and the one
    layered between my young children's and my own (Karen's granddaughter
    Waverly). Having come of age during the Reagan-Bush years, I'm quite
    detached from the respective cultural zeitgeists that captured each of
    these women and Andersen does a fine job to spell out what's spinning in
    both of their heads. True Believers is also a terrific meta-memoir, a
    memoir about the struggle to recount one's life in a candid, truthful
    manner, consequences be damned - a refreshing theme in this world of
    James Freys, Jayson Blairs and Fareed Zakarias. At its core, True
    Believers is a tale of intrigue with solid narrative; sturdy and
    nourishing but far from bland. The story synchs with the eras in which
    it is told without dipping into the realm of a "period piece."
    For these reasons I believe True Believers easily qualifies as a great
    American novel.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 24, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    This is the story of Karen Hollander. Hollander has turned down

    This is the story of Karen Hollander. Hollander has turned down a
    possible U.S. Supreme Court nomination. Instead, she decides to write an
    autobiography, which will reveal a secret about something she and her
    two best friends did while in college. We are led to believe that it is
    something so awful, several government agencies covered it up. But she
    wants to confirm and fill in some details first and finding that info is
    not easy. The story goes back and forth between Hollander's story when
    she was young and then what is currently going on in her life. The
    writing is unnecessarily technical in some parts, but other than that,
    it is not too bad. For me, it was not a quick read; I had to read it a
    little at a time because it just did not capture my attention to the
    point that I did not want to put it down. There is a whole James Bond
    theme in the book. When Hollander, Alex and Chuck are young, they read
    the James Bond books and concoct all these mock missions until they one
    day realize that Bond is just another imperialist puppet. Seriously, if
    this stuff didn't really happen, Andersen has a great imagination. When
    you get some 300 pages in the book, you will understand the relevance of
    the Bond theme, but it came up so often that it got annoying. Reading
    the details of their missions was boring and I don't know if it is a
    generational thing or because I don't enjoy James Bond stories. Some of
    that could have been cut down. Acronyms. Ack! My father and husband are
    Marines, so I hear acronyms all the time, but even I got sick and tired
    of hearing all the acronyms. It made me think of Good Morning Vietnam-
    "Seeing as how the VP is such a VIP, shouldn't we keep the PC on
    the QT, because if it leaks to the VC, you could end up an MIA, and then
    we'd all be put on KP." While my interest did increase about
    mid-way, the book never got to the point of being a page turner. In my
    opinion, it could have benefit from a little more editing. I ended up
    using it as my book to read right before I went to bed. I am not
    insinuating that it put me to sleep, but it was not a book that I would
    carry around with me because I wanted every opportunity to squeeze in a
    page or paragraph whenever I had the opportunity. There are some really
    good parts in the book and if it sounds like something you might be
    interested in reading, I recommend you give it a try.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)