The Executioner's Song

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Vintage International, Apr 28, 1998 - Juvenile Nonfiction - 1056 pages
30 Reviews
"The big book no one but Mailer could have dared...absolutely astonishing". -- Joan Didion, The New York Times Book Review

In what is arguably his greatest book, written in 1979, America's most heroically ambitious writer follows the short, blighted career of Gary Gilmore, an intractably violent product of America's prisons who -- after robbing two men and killing them in cold blood -- insisted on dying for his crime. To do so, he had to fight a system that seemed intent on keeping him alive long after it had sentenced him to death.

Norman Mailer tells Gilmore's story -- and those of the men and women caught up in his procession toward the firing squad -- with implacable authority, steely compassion, and a restraint that evokes the parched landscapes and stern theology of Gilmore's Utah. The Executioner's Song is a towering achievement, impossible to put down, impossible to forget.

"Literature of the highest order". -- Miami Herald

"A harrowing account...elevated by Mailer's genius into art". -- Houston Chronicle

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User Review  - DinadansFriend - LibraryThing

Well it seems to me there is a competition between Norman Mailer, a manly guy and Truman Capote as to which could write a story about a murder better than the other. With all due respect to Norman, I ... Read full review

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User Review  - DinadansFriend - LibraryThing

This book may have been the inspiration for the more popular works of Hunter S. Thompson. A perceptive liberal, Norman was present during the nomination conventions of Kennedy and Johnson, and his ... Read full review

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About the author (1998)

Norman Kingsley Mailer was born on January 31, 1923 in Long Branch, N. J. and then moved with his family to Brooklyn, N. Y. Mailer later attended Harvard University and graduated with a degree in aeronautical engineering. Mailer served in the Army during World War II, and later wrote, directed, and acted in motion pictures. He was also a co-founder of the Village Voice and edited Disssent for nine years. Mailer has written several books including: The Armies of the Night, which won the National Book Award, the Pulitzer Prize, and a Polk Award; and The Executioner's Song, which won the Pulitzer Prize. In 2005, he won the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters from the National Book Foundation. He published his last novel, The Castle in the Forest, in 2007. He died of acute renal failure on November 10, 2007.

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