Three MaidensnSoiled by an EpochnSara Davidson: Loo^e Change: Three Women of the Sixties;nDoubleday and Company; New York, 1977.nby Mary Ellen FoxnThree little maids from school are wenPert as a school-girl well can benFilled to the brim with girlish gleen-W.S. Gilbert and A. Sullivan: The MikadonIhis is the story of a decade. It isnalso the story of a group of people whonbelieved that {in the words of the author):n”We were certain we belonged to a generationnthat was special.We did not need orncare about history because we had sprungnfrom nowhere.” This combination ofnignorance and arrogance characterizednthe “sixties generation,” as they arencalled, and although they believed thatnthey had turned the world upside downnforever, ten years later they have eithernaccomodated to the once loathed Establishmentnor they are dead.n”Loose change” is the author’s choicenof phrase to describe the chaotic fragmentsnof lives irrevocably affected by thentumultuous decade. The book is a narrativenof three girl friends growing upnin the sixties, participating in all that thendecade has come to symbolize in ournminds, and are thus representatives, innDr. Fox, a scholar of XIX centurynSpanish literature, thinks highly of itsnstrong feminine characters who werenalways ready to pay for their irresponsibilities.n101nChronicles or Ctillttrenmicrocosm, of their generation.nTasha, Susie and Sara, products ofnupper middle class homes and concernednfamilies, entered Berkeley in the earlynsixties as archetypical sorority girls inncashmere sweaters and elaborate hairdos.nMany of us began college life in annot too dissimilar manner. How, then,ndid some veer off so radically in onendirection while others, the same age, withnsimilar background and experiences, werenhardly affected by the din of the epoch?nSince this is a story of my contemporaries,nmy generation, I view the whole questionnas one of particular relevancy. The majoritynof my acquaintances were not revolutionariesnand did not burn down theirnROTC building or participate in sit-insnat the office of their college president.nMost of us were defined by traditionalnstudent life and were too busy jugglingnheavy course loads with our other majornconcern: the opposite sex. Yet this latterngroup, which was in the majority, didnnot symbolize the era. Nobody paid itnmuch attention; it was never invited tonappear on TV talk shows; it did not makenthe cover of Time; and as for its opinionnof the state of society, there were nonhovering journalists eager for its analyses.nSociety’s spotlight was beamed on thennoisy minority which grew ever morendramatic and deserving of being thencynosure.nBecause of Sara Davidson’s conscientiousnattempt at honesty, one can obtainna clearer idea of what went on then. It isnto her credit that the author, who wasnnntotally immersed in the counter-culturenof the decade, nevertheless often gives andetrimental picture of the behavior ofnthe participants. One would have to differ,nhowever, with her analysis of their principalnmotivation: that these young peoplenwere activated by idealism, and wantednnothing except people to love one another,nto end war forever, find justice fornpersecuted minorities and in generalnmake the world a brighter place. Deliberatelynor inadvertently, the picturenDavidson actually conveys is far lessnflattering: their activism derives, at best,nfrom a dangerous ignorance of past history,nbut also seems to reflect a lethalncombination of calculated nihilism, demandnfor attention, sheer boredom. Fornthe first two decades of their lives thesenyoung people had simply had it too good.nThis, too, would change as the decadencame to an end. Since there was no BlacknFairy at their cradle to pronounce thenincantation, “My child, what you need isna little misfortune,” they decided to bestownit on themselves.nOusie, Tasha, Sara and their contemporariesnbelieved that they were belligerentsnin a second American Revolution.nThe book, however, depicts a rebellion,nand a pre-packaged one at that: likenthose paint-by-numbers kits popular innthe 1950’s which endowed the participantsnwith a sense of their own creativitynbut never fooled an observer into consideringnthe results art. The phases theynundergo in their radicalization are asn