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The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer

The Naked and the Dead (1948)

by Norman Mailer

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American troops in the Pacific ( )
  JackSweeney | Jan 9, 2017 |
This is not what I expected when I triumphantly found this book in a flea market book stall. I had heard about this classic book on WWII in the Pacific theater for decades and I eagerly grabbed it to read.

I was however disappointed. It is the story of a platoon of recon soldiers during the invasion of a fictional island somewhere in the Pacific. The problem is that there is no likeable character in this book, from the commanders down to privates, they all universally hate blacks, the jewish soldiers hate/distrust the gentile and vice versa, officers look down on the common soldier and the common soldier distrust the officers. With very few exceptions they hate their wives/girlfriends believing they are cheating on them while they are at war while they have no conscience about their cheating on their wives/girlfriends. These hates/dislikes dominate the story.

The book constantly flashes back in time to give the background of each character... which is interesting at first but almost every character!!! The battle scenes are few and far between and most usually a page or two in length.

This is a pretty depressing view of the American army during this war. It is hard for me to imagine that this is the way it always was in this theater of war. I was not looking for the gung-ho John Wayne style of patriotic fervor but this book is the exact opposite and it was a struggle to finish it. ( )
  Lynxear | May 29, 2016 |
I did not enjoy this book. There were no redeemable characters. I disliked the portrayal of women as harlots and men as promiscuous and shallow. While I enjoyed the writing style for the most part, I can't get past the blatant flaws in character portrayal. Not only would I not recommend this one, I'm likely to encourage avoiding it all together. ( )
  MahanaU | Feb 26, 2016 |
Talk about the futility of war! This is a classic war novel, published just 3 years post the end of WW II. We learn the individual strengths and flaws of each man in the platoon and how battle affects him. Mailer was required to tone down the language when it was first published so he uses "creative" spelling ... but we know what he meant to write. ( )
  BookConcierge | Feb 17, 2016 |
If you read my reviews you know I focus on how the book made me feel; how entertained I was. Well, there was certainly nothing entertaining about this, therefore I must review this book based on the writing (outstanding and before he was 25) and the importance of the work. I have read a lot of WWII fiction, and this truly stands out among them all, first for its focus on the Pacific theater, which I have read the least about, and as well for its focus on the inner lives of the soldiers and what seems to me to be very realistic accounts of the day to day life during a campaign. At times it reminded me of All Quiet on the Western Front. I know, different war, wrong side, but still...something about it....The "Time Machine" sections where Mailer went back and shared a vignette from each of the main characters lives supported who they were as soldiers, but man, they were depressing too.

My impressions as I read it were, "Wow this is so negative," then, "Geez these guys are such misogynists," then finally, "Nope, they are full on misanthropes." Another reviewer commented that the book was as much about class and the Army as it was about the war, and that was quite true. Ultimately though, there was very little likeable about any of these characters, and there were certainly enough of them. Was this really what Mailer himself experienced? I could try to tell myself that this is what war makes a man, but the back stories were too on point with how they presented on the island.

And then I had the worst thought. These soldiers were the fathers, grandfathers and great grandfathers of my family, my friends, and half the country walking around today. And well, they were just nasty. It won't be immediately, but I have decided I have to read something else to balance out this feeling. I think it will be The Greatest Generation. Hopefully it will restore my faith in our heroes.... ( )
  MaureenCean | Jan 5, 2016 |
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Los desnudos y los muertos" apareció en los Estados Unidos en mayo de 1948, exactamente tres años después del día de la victoria de los aliados en la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Norman Mailer tenía entonces veintiséis años, y tras graduarse en Harvard y alistarse en el ejército había estado entre las tropas que ocuparon Japón después de la derrota. La crítica calificó su obra como «la más grande novela de guerra escrita en este siglo», que con el tiempo se ha convertido en un libro mítico. Mailer fue comparado con Hemingway y Tolstói y se situó de inmediato entre los grandes de la literatura americana. En Anopopei, un pequeño islote del Pacífico en forma de ocarina, un universo cerrado donde rigen leyes y sentimientos muy diferentes de los de la vida de los civiles, una patrulla de jóvenes soldados, microcosmos de la sociedad americana están Hearn, un joven intelectual que lee a Rilke; el realista e implacable sargento Croft; Ridges, un campesino sureño; Red Valsen, minero de Montana y anarcosindicalista; Gallagher, un irlandés católico de los barrios bajos de Boston y, planeando sobre todos ellos, la poderosa sombra del general Cummings, nacido en la América más profunda e integrista, secretamente fascinado por el nuevo orden del fascismo..., es enviada en una misión de reconocimiento, una larga marcha por un terreno desconocido y lleno de minas que acabará en una pesadilla de abyección y heroísmo, posiblemente tan gratuita como la guerra misma. Empujados al último límite, permanentemente desnudos ante la muerte, los héroes de Mailer cuestionan las verdades del pasado y la vigencia de los ideales americanos, viven obsesionados por el sexo y padecen y hacen padecer a otros las corrupciones y arbitrariedades del poder.
added by Pakoniet | editLecturalia

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Norman Mailerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Kliphuis, J.F.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"To my Mother and Bea"
First words
Nobody could sleep. When morning came, assult craft would be lowered and a first wave of troops would ride through the surf and charge ashore on he beach at Anopopei. All over the ship, all through the convoy, there was a knowledge that in a few hours some of them were going to be dead.
Any war that requires the suspension of reason as a necessity for support is a bad war.
There is no greater importance in all the world like knowing you are right and that the wave of the world is wrong, yet the wave crashes upon you.
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The Naked and the Dead has been published also in two parts. Please, don't combine the parts with the whole work.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312265050, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:22 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Hailed as one of the finest novels to come out of the World War II, "The Naked and the Dead" received unprecedented critical acclaim upon its 1948 publication and has since become part of the American canon. Written in gritty, journalistic detail, the story follows an Army platoon stationed on the Japanese-held island of Anopopei.… (more)

» see all 4 descriptions

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