Norman Mailer: A Double Life

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Simon and Schuster, Oct 28, 2014 - Biography & Autobiography - 960 pages
The “glorious…sweeping, full-scale biography” of Norman Mailer, the famous novelist, journalist, and public figure: “There’s not a paragraph in this enormous book that doesn’t contain a nugget of something you…wish you had known” (The New York Times).

Norman Mailer was one of the giants of American letters, and one of the most celebrated public figures of his time. He was a novelist, journalist, biographer, and filmmaker; a provocateur and passionate observer of his times; and a husband, father, and serial philanderer.

Perhaps nothing characterized Mailer more than his ambition. He wanted not merely to be the greatest writer of his generation, but a writer great enough to be compared to Dostoevsky and Tolstoy. As Michael Lennon describes, although he considered himself first and foremost a novelist, his greatest literary contribution may have been in journalism, where he used his novelistic gifts to explore the American psyche. He would return to certain subjects obsessively: John F. Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, sex, technology, and the intricate relationship of fame and identity. Lennon captures Mailer in all his sharp complexities and shows us how he self-consciously invented and re-invented himself throughout his lifetime.

Michael Lennon knew Mailer for thirty-five years, and in this definitive biography, he had the cooperation of Mailer’s late widow, Norris Church, his ex-wives, and all of his children, as well as his sister, Barbara. He also had access to Mailer’s vast, unpublished correspondence and papers, and he interviewed dozens of people who knew Mailer. In Norman Mailer: A Double Life he “brings Mailer thoroughly alive in this great wallop of a book…and he captures the entirety of a man who embodied his era like no other” (The Washington Post).
 

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NORMAN MAILER: A Double Life

User Review  - www.kirkusreviews.com

Appropriately sprawling biography of the larger-than-life writer, brawler, provocateur and bon vivant.Norman Mailer (1923-2007), writes archivist and authorized biographer Lennon, grew up in a ... Read full review

Norman Mailer

User Review  - Book Verdict

Emeritus Vice President for Academic Affairs and Emeritus Professor of English at Wilkes University in Pennsylvania, Lennon knew Norman Mailer and chairs the editorial board of the Mailer Review. So ... Read full review

Contents

June 1948
1
TWO Harvard
25
THREE The Army
56
Prominent and Empty
98
FIVE The Deer Park
144
SIX General Marijuana and the Navigator
178
SEVEN A Felonious Assault and An American Dream
261
Armies and After
352
TEN The Turn to Biography
458
Gilmore and Abbott
503
TWELVE Pharaohs and Tough Guys
567
Harlots Ghost
613
FOURTEEN A Merry Life and a Married One
652
FIFTEEN Old Freighter Uncertain Sea
708
Appreciations
765
Select Bibliography
907

NINE Politician to Prisoner
410

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About the author (2014)

J. Michael Lennon is Emeritus Vice President for Academic Affairs and Emeritus Professor of English at Wilkes University in Pennsylvania. In addition to being chair of the editorial board of The Mailer Review, he has written or edited several books about and with Mailer.

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