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Norman Mailer (1923-2007) was one of the most important American voices of the twentieth century—a journalist, essayist, novelist, poet, playwright, screenwriter, film director, and public intellectual. The author of more than forty books including The Naked and the Dead, The Executioner's Song, and Armies of the Night, he was twice awarded the Pulitzer Prize, received the National Book Award, and was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

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Norman Mailer (1923-2007) was one of the most important American voices of the twentieth century—a journalist, essayist, novelist, poet, playwright, screenwriter, film director, and public intellectual. The author of more than forty books including The Naked and the Dead, The Executioner's Song, and Armies of the Night, he was twice awarded the Pulitzer Prize, received the National Book Award, and was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Books by thisAuthor
  • Mind of an Outlaw

    Mind of an Outlaw
    Selected Essays
    NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE GLOBE AND MAIL Norman Mailer was one of the towering figures of twentieth-century American letters and an acknowledged master of the essay. Mind of an Outlaw, the first posthumous publication from this outsize literary icon, collects Mailer’s most important and representative work in the form that many rank as his most electrifying.   As America’s foremost public intellectual, Norman Mailer was a ubiquitous presence in our national life—on the airwaves and in print—for more than sixty years. With his supple mind and pugnacious persona, he engaged society more than any other writer of his generation. The trademark Mailer swagger is much in evidence in these pages as he holds forth on culture, ideology, politics, sex, gender, and celebrity, among other topics. Here is Mailer on boxing, Mailer on Hemingway, Mailer on Marilyn Monroe, and, of course, Mailer on Mailer—the one subject that served as the beating heart of all of his nonfiction.   From his early essay “A Credo for the Living,” published in 1948, when the author was twenty-five, to his final writings in the year before his death, Mailer wrestled with the big themes of his times. He was one of the most astute cultural commentators of the postwar era, a swashbuckling intellectual provocateur who never pulled a punch and was rarely anything less than interesting. Mind of an Outlaw spans the full arc of Mailer’s evolution as a writer, including such essential pieces as his acclaimed 1957 meditation on hipsters, “The White Negro”; multiple selections from his seminal collection Advertisements for Myself; and a never-before-published essay on Sigmund Freud.   Incendiary, erudite, and unrepentantly outrageous, Norman Mailer was a dominating force on the battlefield of ideas. Featuring an incisive Introduction by Jonathan Lethem, Mind of an Outlaw forms a fascinating portrait of Mailer’s intellectual development across the span of his career as well as the preoccupations of a nation in the last half of the American century. Praise for Mind of an Outlaw   “[Mind of an Outlaw opens] a window onto the capacious mind and process of one of the most volatile intellects of the twentieth century. . . . Taken individually, these pieces are snapshots of times and places integral to the cultural landscape of America over the last seventy years. Regarded as a whole, they serve as insightful social commentary and justification for continued attention to the writer’s work.”—Library Journal “The 50 essays collected in this retrospective volume span 64 years and show Mailer (1923–2007) at his brawny, pugnacious, and egotistical best. . . . Featuring an introduction by Jonathan Lethem, this provocative collection brims with insights and reflections that show why Mailer is regarded as a great literary mind of his generation.”—Publishers Weekly (A “Top 10” Pick for Fall) “There’s no arguing about Mailer the essayist—he was outstanding. . . . These insightful essays educate, argue and persuade on everything from politics and literature to film, philosophy and the human condition. We could surely use an essayist or television pundit as witty, opinionated and smart as Mailer today.”—Shelf Awareness “By the late . . . bad boy of postwar American literature . . . as good an introduction to Mailer’s habits of mind as there’s ever been.”—Kirkus Reviews

    The Deer Park

    The Deer Park
    A Novel
    Amid the cactus wilds some two hundred miles from Hollywood lies a privileged oasis called Desert D’Or. It is a place for starlets, directors, studio execs, and the well-groomed lowlifes who cater to them. And, as imagined by Norman Mailer in this blistering classic, Desert D’Or is a moral proving ground, where men and women discover what they really want—and how far they are willing to go to get it. As Mailer traces their couplings and uncouplings, their uneasy flirtation with success and self-extinction, he creates a legendary portrait of America’s machinery of desire.   Praise for The Deer Park   “A scathing portrayal of Hollywood . . . studded with brilliant and illuminating passages.”—The New York Times Book Review   “A writer of the greatest and most reckless talent . . . [Mailer] drives us up and down The Deer Park at breakneck speed. It is a trip through unfamiliar country, for a time funny and then unnerving.”—The New Yorker   “Savage . . . brilliant . . . exhilarating.”—The Atlantic Monthly   “Entertaining and wise . . . In addition to his furious energy and true ear, Mailer is simpatico with humanity . . . on a level rare in American fiction.”—The New Republic   Praise for Norman Mailer   “[Norman Mailer] loomed over American letters longer and larger than any other writer of his generation.”—The New York Times   “A writer of the greatest and most reckless talent.”—The New Yorker   “Mailer is indispensable, an American treasure.”—The Washington Post   “A devastatingly alive and original creative mind.”—Life   “Mailer is fierce, courageous, and reckless and nearly everything he writes has sections of headlong brilliance.”—The New York Review of Books   “The largest mind and imagination [in modern] American literature . . . Unlike just about every American writer since Henry James, Mailer has managed to grow and become richer in wisdom with each new book.”—Chicago Tribune   “Mailer is a master of his craft. His language carries you through the story like a leaf on a stream.”—The Cincinnati Post

    The Naked and the Dead

    The Naked and the Dead
    50th Anniversary Edition, With a New...
    Hailed as one of the finest novels to come out of the Second World War, The Naked and the Dead received unprecedented critical acclaim upon its publication and has since become part of the American canon. This fiftieth anniversary edition features a new introduction created especially doe the occasion by Norman Mailer. Written in gritty, journalistic detail, the story follows an army platoon of foot soldiers who are fighting for the possession of the Japanese-held island of Anopopei. Composed in 1948, The Naked and the Dead is representative of the best in twentieth-century American writing.

    The Castle in the Forest

    The Castle in the Forest
    A Novel
    The final work of fiction from Norman Mailer, a defining voice of the postwar era, is also one of his most ambitious, taking as its subject the evil of Adolf Hitler. The narrator, a mysterious SS man in possession of extraordinary secrets, follows Adolf from birth through adolescence and offers revealing portraits of Hitler’s parents and siblings. A crucial reflection on the shadows that eclipsed the twentieth century, Mailer’s novel delivers myriad twists and surprises along with characteristically astonishing insights into the struggle between good and evil that exists in us all.   Praise for The Castle in the Forest   “This remarkable novel about the young Adolf Hitler, his family and their shifting circumstances, is Mailer’s most perfect apprehension of the absolutely alien. . . . Mailer doesn’t inhabit these historical figures so much as possess them.”—The New York Times Book Review   “Terrifically creepy . . . an icy and convincing portrait of the dictator as a young sociopath.”—Entertainment Weekly   “The work of a bold and confident writer who may yet be seen as the preeminent novelist of our time . . . a source of tremendous narrative pleasure . . . Every character . . . lives and breathes.”—South Florida Sun-Sentinel   “Blackly hilarious, beautifully written . . . [The Castle in the Forest] has vigor, excitement, humor and vastness of spirit.”—The New York Observer   Praise for Norman Mailer   “[Norman Mailer] loomed over American letters longer and larger than any other writer of his generation.”—The New York Times   “A writer of the greatest and most reckless talent.”—The New Yorker   “Mailer is indispensable, an American treasure.”—The Washington Post   “A devastatingly alive and original creative mind.”—Life   “Mailer is fierce, courageous, and reckless and nearly everything he writes has sections of headlong brilliance.”—The New York Review of Books   “The largest mind and imagination [in modern] American literature . . . Unlike just about every American writer since Henry James, Mailer has managed to grow and become richer in wisdom with each new book.”—Chicago Tribune   “Mailer is a master of his craft. His language carries you through the story like a leaf on a stream.”—The Cincinnati Post From the Hardcover edition.

  • The Armies of the Night

    The Armies of the Night
    History as a Novel, the Novel as History
    One of the first examples of "new journalism" daringly combines reportage with a novelistic style and garnered Mailer his first Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award in 1968.

    On God

    On God
    An Uncommon Conversation
    “I see God,” wrote Norman Mailer, “as a Creator, as the greatest artist. I see human beings as His most developed artworks.” In these moving, amusing, and probing dialogues conducted in the years before his death, Mailer establishes his own system of belief, rejecting both organized religion and atheism. He avows that sensual pleasures were bestowed on us by God; he finds fault with the Ten Commandments; and he holds that technology was the Devil’s most brilliant creation. In short, Mailer is original and unpredictable in this inspiring journey, in which “God needs us as much as we need God.”   Praise for On God   “[Norman Mailer’s] theology is not theoretical to him. After eight decades, it is what he believes. He expects no adherents, and does not profess to be a prophet, but he has worked to forge his beliefs into a coherent catechism.”—New York   “The glory of an original mind in full provocation.”—USA Today   “At once illuminating and exciting . . . a chance to see Mailer’s intellect as well as his lively conversational style of speech.”—American Jewish Life   “Remarkable . . . [Mailer’s] a believer—in his own fashion. . . . He has made [God] into a complex character.”—The Globe and Mail   Praise for Norman Mailer   “[Norman Mailer] loomed over American letters longer and larger than any other writer of his generation.”—The New York Times   “A writer of the greatest and most reckless talent.”—The New Yorker   “Mailer is indispensable, an American treasure.”—The Washington Post   “A devastatingly alive and original creative mind.”—Life   “Mailer is fierce, courageous, and reckless and nearly everything he writes has sections of headlong brilliance.”—The New York Review of Books   “The largest mind and imagination [in modern] American literature . . . Unlike just about every American writer since Henry James, Mailer has managed to grow and become richer in wisdom with each new book.”—Chicago Tribune   “Mailer is a master of his craft. His language carries you through the story like a leaf on a stream.”—The Cincinnati Post

    Barbary Shore

    Barbary Shore
    Mike Lovett rents a room in a Brooklyn boarding house with the intention of writing a novel. Wounded during World War II, Lovett is an amnesiac, and much of his past is a secret to himself. But Lovett's housemates have secrets of their own. As these mysterious figures vie for Lovett's allegiance, Barbary Shore plays havoc with our certainties, combining Kafkaesque unease with Orwellian paranoia and delivering its effects with a power that Mailer has made all his own.  

    Miami and the Siege of Chicago

    Miami and the Siege of Chicago
    1968. The Vietnam War was raging. President Lyndon Johnson, facing a challenge in his own Democratic Party from the maverick antiwar candidate Eugene McCarthy, announced that he would not seek a second term. In April, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated and riots broke out in inner cities throughout America. Bobby Kennedy was killed after winning the California primary in June. In August, Republicans met in Miami, picking the little-loved Richard Nixon as their candidate, while in September, Democrats in Chicago backed the ineffectual vice president, Hubert Humphrey. TVs across the country showed antiwar protesters filling the streets of Chicago and the police running amok, beating and arresting demonstrators and delegates alike. In Miami and the Siege of Chicago, Norman Mailer, America’s most protean and provocative writer, brings a novelist’s eye to bear on the events of 1968, a decisive year in modern American politics, from which today’s bitterly divided country arose.

  • Oswald's Tale

    Oswald's Tale
    An American Mystery
    In perhaps his most important literary feat, Norman Mailer fashions an unprecedented portrait of one of the great villains—and enigmas—in United States history. Here is Lee Harvey Oswald—his family background, troubled marriage, controversial journey to Russia, and return to an “America [waiting] for him like an angry relative whose eyes glare in the heat.” Based on KGB and FBI transcripts, government reports, letters and diaries, and Mailer’s own international research, this is an epic account of a man whose cunning, duplicity, and self-invention were both at home in and at odds with the country he forever altered.   Praise for Oswald’s Tale   “America’s largest mystery has found its greatest interpreter.”—The Washington Post Book World   “Mailer is fierce, courageous, and reckless and nearly everything he writes has sections of headlong brilliance. . . . From the American master conjurer of dark and swirling purpose, a moving reflection.”—Robert Stone, The New York Review of Books   “A narrative of tremendous energy and panache; the author at the top of his form.”—Christopher Hitchens, Financial Times   “The performance of an author relishing the force and reach of his own acuity.”—Martin Amis, The Sunday Times (London)   Praise for Norman Mailer   “[Norman Mailer] loomed over American letters longer and larger than any other writer of his generation.”—The New York Times   “A writer of the greatest and most reckless talent.”—The New Yorker   “Mailer is indispensable, an American treasure.”—The Washington Post   “A devastatingly alive and original creative mind.”—Life   “Mailer is fierce, courageous, and reckless and nearly everything he writes has sections of headlong brilliance.”—The New York Review of Books   “The largest mind and imagination [in modern] American literature . . . Unlike just about every American writer since Henry James, Mailer has managed to grow and become richer in wisdom with each new book.”—Chicago Tribune   “Mailer is a master of his craft. His language carries you through the story like a leaf on a stream.”—The Cincinnati Post

    Harlot's Ghost

    Harlot's Ghost
    A Novel
    With unprecedented scope and consummate skill, Norman Mailer unfolds a rich and riveting epic of an American spy. Harry Hubbard is the son and godson of CIA legends. His journey to learn the secrets of his society—and his own past—takes him through the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the “momentous catastrophe” of the Kennedy assassination. All the while, Hubbard is haunted by women who were loved by both his godfather and President Kennedy. Featuring a tapestry of unforgettable characters both real and imagined, Harlot’s Ghost is a panoramic achievement in the tradition of Tolstoy, Melville, and Balzac, a triumph of Mailer’s literary prowess.   Praise for Harlot’s Ghost   “[Norman Mailer is] the right man to exalt the history of the CIA into something better than history.”—Anthony Burgess, The Washington Post Book World   “Elegantly written and filled with almost electric tension . . . When I returned from the world of Harlot’s Ghost to the present I wished to be enveloped again by Mailer’s imagination.”—Robert Wilson, USA Today   “Immense, fascinating, and in large part brilliant.”—Salman Rushdie, The Independent on Sunday   “A towering creation . . . a fiction as real and as possible as actual history.”—The New York Times   Praise for Norman Mailer   “[Norman Mailer] loomed over American letters longer and larger than any other writer of his generation.”—The New York Times   “A writer of the greatest and most reckless talent.”—The New Yorker   “Mailer is indispensable, an American treasure.”—The Washington Post   “A devastatingly alive and original creative mind.”—Life   “Mailer is fierce, courageous, and reckless and nearly everything he writes has sections of headlong brilliance.”—The New York Review of Books   “The largest mind and imagination [in modern] American literature . . . Unlike just about every American writer since Henry James, Mailer has managed to grow and become richer in wisdom with each new book.”—Chicago Tribune   “Mailer is a master of his craft. His language carries you through the story like a leaf on a stream.”—The Cincinnati Post

    Why Are We in Vietnam?

    Why Are We in Vietnam?
    A Novel
    When Why Are We in Vietnam? was published in 1967, almost twenty years after The Naked and the Dead, the critical response was ecstatic. The novel fully confirmed Mailer's stature as one of the most important figures in contemporary American literature. Now, a new edition of this exceptional work serves as further affirmation of its timeless quality. Narrated by Ranald ("D.J.") Jethroe, Texas's most precocious teenager, on the eve of his departure to fight in Vietnam, this story of a hunting trip in Alaska is both brilliantly entertaining and profoundly thoughtful.

    Advertisements for Myself

    Advertisements for Myself
    Originally published in 1959, Advertisements for Myself is an inventive collection of stories, essays, polemic, meditations, and interviews. It is Mailer at his brilliant, provocative, outrageous best. Emerging at the height of "hip," Advertisements is at once a chronicle of a crucial era in the formation of modern American culture and an important contribution to the great autobiographical tradition in American letters.

  • The Fight

    The Fight
    In 1974 in Kinshasa, Zaïre, two African American boxers were paid five million dollars apiece to fight each other. One was Muhammad Ali, the aging but irrepressible “professor of boxing.” The other was George Foreman, who was as taciturn as Ali was voluble. Observing them was Norman Mailer, a commentator of unparalleled energy, acumen, and audacity. Whether he is analyzing the fighters’ moves, interpreting their characters, or weighing their competing claims on the African and American souls, Mailer’s grasp of the titanic battle’s feints and stratagems—and his sensitivity to their deeper symbolism—makes this book a masterpiece of the literature of sport.   Praise for The Fight   “Exquisitely refined and attenuated . . . [a] sensitive portrait of an extraordinary athlete and man, and a pugilistic drama fully as exciting as the reality on which it is based.”—The New York Times   “One of the defining texts of sports journalism. Not only does Mailer recall the violent combat with a scholar’s eye . . . he also makes the whole act of reporting seem as exciting as what’s occurring in the ring.”—GQ   “Stylistically, Mailer was the greatest boxing writer of all time.”—Chuck Klosterman, Esquire   “One of Mailer’s finest books.”—Louis Menand, The New Yorker   Praise for Norman Mailer   “[Norman Mailer] loomed over American letters longer and larger than any other writer of his generation.”—The New York Times   “A writer of the greatest and most reckless talent.”—The New Yorker   “Mailer is indispensable, an American treasure.”—The Washington Post   “A devastatingly alive and original creative mind.”—Life   “Mailer is fierce, courageous, and reckless and nearly everything he writes has sections of headlong brilliance.”—The New York Review of Books   “The largest mind and imagination [in modern] American literature . . . Unlike just about every American writer since Henry James, Mailer has managed to grow and become richer in wisdom with each new book.”—Chicago Tribune   “Mailer is a master of his craft. His language carries you through the story like a leaf on a stream.”—The Cincinnati Post

    Why Are We at War?

    Why Are We at War?
    Beginning with his debut masterpiece, The Naked and the Dead, Norman Mailer has repeatedly told the truth about war. Why Are We at War? returns Mailer to the gravity of the battlefield and the grand hubris of the politicians who send soldiers there to die. First published in the early days of the Iraq War, Why Are We at War? is an explosive argument about the American quest for empire that still carries weight today. Scrutinizing the Bush administration’s words and actions, Mailer unleashes his trademark moral rigor: “Because democracy is noble, it is always endangered. . . . To assume blithely that we can export democracy into any country we choose can serve paradoxically to encourage more fascism at home and abroad.”   Praise for Why Are We at War?   “We’re overloaded with information these days, some of it possibly true. Mailer offers a provocative—and persuasive—cultural and intellectual frame.”—Newsweek   “[Mailer] still has the stamina to churn out hard-hitting criticism.”—Los Angeles Times   “Penetrating . . . There’s plenty of irreverent wit and fresh thinking on display.”—San Francisco Chronicle   “Eloquent . . . thoughtful . . . Why Are We at War? pulls no punches.”—Fort Worth Star-Telegram   Praise for Norman Mailer   “[Norman Mailer] loomed over American letters longer and larger than any other writer of his generation.”—The New York Times   “A writer of the greatest and most reckless talent.”—The New Yorker   “Mailer is indispensable, an American treasure.”—The Washington Post   “A devastatingly alive and original creative mind.”—Life   “Mailer is fierce, courageous, and reckless and nearly everything he writes has sections of headlong brilliance.”—The New York Review of Books   “The largest mind and imagination [in modern] American literature . . . Unlike just about every American writer since Henry James, Mailer has managed to grow and become richer in wisdom with each new book.”—Chicago Tribune   “Mailer is a master of his craft. His language carries you through the story like a leaf on a stream.”—The Cincinnati Post From the Trade Paperback edition.

    The Faith of Graffiti

    The Faith of Graffiti
    "The Faith is the bible of graffiti. It forever captures the place, the time, and the writings of those of us who made it happen." —Snake I In 1973, author Norman Mailer teamed with photographer Jon Naar to produce The Faith of Graffiti, a fearless exploration of the birth of the street art movement in New York City. The book coupled Mailer's essay on the origins and importance of graffiti in modern urban culture with Naar's radiant, arresting photographs of the young graffiti writers' work. The result was a powerful, impressionistic account of artistic ferment on the streets of a troubled and changing city—and an iconic documentary record of a critical body of work now largely lost to history. This new edition of The Faith of Graffiti, the first in more than three decades, brings this vibrant work—the seminal document on the origins of street art—to contemporary readers. Photographer Jon Naar has enhanced the original with thirty-two pages of additional photographs that are new to this edition, along with an afterword in which he reflects on the project and the meaning it has taken on in the intervening decades. It stands now, as it did then, as a rich survey of a group of outsider artists and the body of work they created—and a provocative defense of a generation that questioned the bounds of authority over aesthetics.

    The Spooky Art

    The Spooky Art
    Thoughts on Writing
    In The Spooky Art, Norman Mailer discusses with signature candor the rewards and trials of the writing life, and recommends the tools to navigate it. Addressing the reader in a conversational tone, he draws on the best of more than fifty years of his own criticism, advice, and detailed observations about the writer’s craft.

  • The Executioner's Song

    The Executioner's Song
    Norman Mailer's Pulitzer Prize-winning and unforgettable classic about convicted killer Gary Gilmore now in a brand-new edition. Arguably the greatest book from America's most heroically ambitious writer, THE EXECUTIONER'S SONG follows the short, blighted life of Gary Gilmore who became famous after he robbed two men in 1976 and killed them in cold blood. After being tried and convicted, he immediately insisted on being executed for his crime. To do so, he fought a system that seemed intent on keeping him alive long after it had sentenced him to death. And that fight for the right to die is what made him famous. Mailer tells not only Gilmore's story, but those of the men and women caught in the web of his life and drawn into his procession toward the firing squad. All with implacable authority, steely compassion, and a restraint that evokes the parched landscape and stern theology of Gilmore's Utah. THE EXECUTIONER'S SONG is a trip down the wrong side of the tracks to the deepest source of American loneliness and violence. It is a towering achievement-impossible to put down, impossible to forget.

    Tough Guys Don't Dance

    Tough Guys Don't Dance
    "A novel that is as brash and brooding and ultimately as mesmerizing as the author himself...The dazzling balance betwen humor and horror keeps us plunging on....As for characters, each is a gem....It is a book to read with infinite pleasures." NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Tim Madden awakes one morning with a gruesome hangover, a painful tatoo on his upper arm, blood all over the passenger seat of his Porsche, a severed female head in his marijuana stash, and almost no memory of his actions on the preceding evening. He is about to discover what they were and what he is....

    The Big Empty

    The Big Empty
    Dialogues on Politics, Sex, God, Boxing,...
    Questions are posed, writes Norman Mailer, "in the hope they will open into richer insights, which in turn will bring forth sharper questions." In this series of conversations, John Buffalo Mailer, 27, poses a series of questions to his father, challenging the reflections and insights of the man who has dominated and defined much of American letters for the past sixty years. Their wide-ranging discussions take place over the course of a year, beginning in July 2004. Set against the backdrop of George W. Bush's re-election campaign and the war in Iraq, each considers what it means to live in America today. John asks his father to look back to World War II, and explore the parallels that can—and cannot—be drawn between that time and our current post-9/11 consciousness. As their conversations develop, the topics shift from the political to the personal to the political again, as they duck and weave around one another. They explore their shared admiration of boxing and poker, the nature of marriage and love, television, movies, writing, and what it means to be a part of this extraordinary family.

    The Deer Park

    The Deer Park
    Amid the cactus wilds some two hudred miles from Hollywood lies a privileged oasis called Desert D'Or. It is a place for starlets and would-be starlets, directors, studio execs, and the well-groomed lowlifes who cater to them. And, as imagined by Norman Mailer in this blistering classic of 1950s Hollywood, Desert D'Or is a moral proving ground, where men and women discover what they really want—and how far the are willing to go to get it. The Deer Park is the story of two interlacing love affairs. Sergius O'Shaugnessy is a young ex-Air Force pilot whose good looks and air of indifference launch him into the orbit of the radiant actress Lulu Meyers. Charles Eitel is a brilliant director wounded by accusations of communism—and whose liaison with the volatile Elena Esposito may supply the coup de grace to his career. As Mailer traces their couplings and uncouplings, their uneasy flirtation with success and self-extinction, he creates a legendary portrait of America's machinery of desire.

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