Friday Reads: Norman Mailer: Four Books of the 1960s
Four Mailer classics in one volume for the first time, books that crackle with the creative energy and raw passions of America’s most turbulent decade
No writer plunged more wholeheartedly into the chaotic energies of the 1960s than Norman Mailer, as he fearlessly revolutionized literary norms and genres to capture the political, social, and sexual explosions of an unsettled era. Here, for the first time in one volume, are his unforgettable books of the 1960s: two disruptive and visionary novels, and two radically innovative journalistic masterpieces. War hero, television star, existential hipster, seducer, murderer: such is the protagonist of An American Dream, Mailer’s hallucinatory voyage through the dark night of an America awash in money, sex, and violence. In Why Are We in Vietnam? a motor-mouthed 18-year-old Texan on the eve of military service recounts with manic and obscene exuberance a grizzly bear hunt in Alaska that exposes the macho roots of the war. The acclaimed “non-fiction novel” The Armies of the Night (winner of the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award) and its follow-up Miami and the Siege of Chicago are on-the-scene, in-the-scene accounts of an antiwar march on the Pentagon and the party conventions of 1968, as Mailer casts himself as a player in the drama he reports, bringing a sharp and merciless eye on the decade’s political upheavals.
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