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The Armies of the Night by Norman Mailer

The Armies of the Night (1968)

by Norman Mailer

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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992913,004 (3.6)25

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50 years later, knowing what we know now, it loses much of its currency. Still a good read. ( )
  heggiep | Mar 15, 2018 |
Gives one writer's perspective on the Vietnam War and how it tore our country apart. Provides details of several anti-war protests that Mailer attended. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
Self- important posturing by a wealthy, middle-aged white guy from Brooklyn playing at radical chic. As Mailer describes herein, at an anti-war rally he gets himself arrested without incident and spends the night in a minimum security jail, where he's given a bed, food, coffee, and reading material (all of which he complains about). Likewise, there's the speech he gave to the anti-war protestors in which he announces how he had been so drunk that he'd urinated on the floor in the public hotel bathroom. ha, ha, how daring.

Although some reviewers claim that the occasional self- deprecation herein belies Mailer's pretense to an enormous ego, I consider the self- deprecation to be the real pretense; the man's narcissism and inflated self- opinion is no pose. "Armies of the Night" is considered by some as a signature work of "the new journalism" that boasts of mixing fact and fiction. As someone who values the distinction between fact and fiction, this work left me cold when I read it many years ago. What's more, I'm too aware of the actual political activists who risked life, limb, and livelihood to bring to an end the US involvement in the civil war in Vietnam, while a fake like Mailer enriched himself in the self- appointed roles of cultural commentator and parlor provocateur. How the man won a Pulitzer prize for this forgettable book is as inexplicable as his having escaped a prison term for the attempted murder of the second of his five wives, whom he violently stabbed multiple times and left to die. No doubt the author's actions and character have affected my reaction to his semi- autobiographical work, since I am unable to join in the adulation of his fans. ( )
4 vote danielx | Nov 21, 2013 |
The story of a weekend. Not your average kind. But the one October 1967, when tens of thousands demonstrated at the Pentagon. It is both an insider and outsider’s view, because Mailer rights about himself in third person. But he was very much part of the action. This is reportage, analysis, investigative reporting, history, poetry, portrait series at the same time. And as a combination a zeitgeist speedometer. If you are interested in how people lived through the event this is one you won’t be able to put down. I couldn’t.
  break | Feb 7, 2010 |
Similar to a writing technique of E.L. Doctorow, Mailer intertwines history and non-fiction in his account of 60s style anti-war protests.
  gmicksmith | Jul 8, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
Mailer was annoyed when Lowell said, "Norman, you are the best journalist in America"; he explains just why. But what neither of them could have realized, since the present work hadn't been written, was that Mailer was about to carry journalism into literature in the way that Agee had done in Let Us Now Praise Famous Men : by planting himself squarely in the foreground and relating the whole composition to his own sensibility. Just the opposite method Truman Capote used in his "nonfiction novel," In Cold Blood, which falls into fragments every paragraph because of the author's mistake in keeping himself antiseptically out of it—a gimmick that "worked" well enough commercially, of course."The Steps of the Pentagon" is an astonishing literary performance: the style is both free and dignified throughout, the tone is maintained with few of the lapses into journalese one might expect from such a subject. It reminds me of Henry James.
added by SnootyBaronet | editEsquire, Dwight Macdonald

» Add other authors (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Norman Mailerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Forsberg, VidarCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gripenberg, ClaësTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0452272793, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:57 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

The author chronicles his experiences during the four days of events surrounding the peace march on the Pentagon in October, 1967. In a final section, he presents an evaluation of the march and its implications for American life and politics-TG105.

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