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The naked and the dead (Tocsin books) [Unknown Binding]

Norman Mailer
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Unknown Binding: 490 pages
  • Publisher: Heinemann (1952)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0007JWHZA
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,905,834 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars fulfils, and surpasses its formidable reputation 9 July 2009
Format:Paperback
The Naked and the Dead, Norman Mailer's war novel of highest repute, charts a short campaign on a Japanese island in WW II. This novel is less about war itself, and more about the personal impact it has on the group of characters in the novel.

The novel unfolds character by character, each dealing with his immediate hardship in parallel with his own personal demons, as reflected in his thoughts and memories. Each copes with the war in his own way, having his own agenda or anxieties relating to his own foibles and in turn overlaid onto his immediate relationships with military companions.

From this microcultural perspective, Mailer telescopes out to the wider campaign suggesting parallels between the meaninglessness of individual anxieties and the meaninglessness of greater strategy, and ultimately to the worthlessness of human life.

Mailer's depth of character development, interweaving into the complex intricacy of their inter-relationships adds a fantastic backdrop to this tale. His commentary on such relationships, and through this, his commentary on the war itself and driving forces behind it provide much food for thought.

This is a great book in every aspect I can think of and I would recommend to all. It fulfils, and for me surpasses its formidable reputation, and is one of the few books I will read again, and no doubt will gain yet more from it in the future.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest war books of all time. 5 Sep 2000
By Mr. Colin Rankin VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Not only is this a classic piece of war fiction it delves deeply into the psyche of men under intolerable pressure.The result is not pretty and Mailer makes no apologies for his unforgiving portrayal of the base and primitive side of men at war.It is as fresh today as it was when first written shortly after the end of World War 11 and still is deeply relevant.This is a powerhouse of a novel with stunning charecterisations of men from the weak General Cummings to the more down to earth but nevertheless phiposophical Sergeant Croft.It is a classic novel by any standards.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A multiple-levelled marvel 30 July 2003
Format:Paperback
Although superficially a war novel the predominent themes of this book are escapism and the disappointment of unfulfilled desires. Each chapter ends with a potted biography of each protagonist and the life they have left behind in the US, academic failure, an unfulfilling job or a loveless marriage and effectively juxtaposes these incidents against the grind, boredom and sheer physical trauma of war. In these cases these men have escaped an imagined hell for a real one. Although in the main this book is downbeat it remains rivetting, in particular a 300 page passage covering the platoons mission through the jungle which demands to be read at one sitting and ends with a bizarre piece of Catch 22 style black humour.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very impressive 25 Oct 2007
By Didier TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
There's nothing much to say really: together with James Jones' "The thin red line" this is the best account of WW II combat that I know of. An extremely powerful, shocking & violent book, I had to read this as a university assignment years ago and (exceptionally so) I am still grateful to that particular teacher. The battle scenes are impressive, but the power of the book derives at least as much from the moving descriptions of the pre-war lives of the soldiers involved: all of them ordinary men, suddenly finding themselves caught up in a nightmare.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I though this a classic novel of World War II, set in the Pacific (U. S. American) theatre. What Mailer does so well is to describe an average group of American Joes, who are not always very likeable, and, taking them through the war, make it all so believable and compelling. The battle descriptions are sometimes horrific, but it is Mailer's willingness to describe the tedium and routine, indeed the pettiness, of war, that is ultimately the book's enduring strength - sometimes war is not heroic or even bloody, but just mundane and squalid.
My only (minor) complaint is that Mailer, who was trained as an engineer at Harvard, tries too hard to make everything connect, when perhaps, in dealing with human affairs, and wartime especially, the point is that life doesn't always connect. Thus I felt at times the book went on too long, a few hundred pages too long, though I want to say it was still a great reading experience, one I recommend to anyone even remotely interested.
And don't stop there! If you like this one, try Gore Vidal's World War II novel, Williwaw, set in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska (a "Williwaw" is a freak storm up there that whips down from the mountains causing freak seas and havoc to shipping - one such storm features in the book.) Williwaw has a cool style and controlled prose that reminds me of Joseph Conrad. Also consider John Horne Burns' WW II novel, The Gallery, set in Naples at the end of the war. This is a lyrical, almost Tennessee Williams' style-novel, about a hick/yob North American soldier coming into contact for the first time with the older, softer culture of the Mediterranean and falling for it, in the form of a decent and beautiful Neapolitan woman down on her luck in collapsed-economy Naples.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great - the only Mailer book I liked so far 12 May 2014
By Justina
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A bit of a slow starter but once it gets going it suck you all the way to the end, don't give up on it, very rewarding read!!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Naked and the Dead
The book most adults should read a true Classic, even after all these years.
Novels like this are truly rare.
Published 13 months ago by Ray Mitchell
4.0 out of 5 stars No more heroes
Being one of the most widely documented subjects in literature, it can be difficult to find a war story that makes an impact; and Norman Mailer's The Naked and the Dead is... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Carol A.
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece!
One of the best, if not the best writer in history of american litereture. Norman Mailer, thank You for everything!
Published 20 months ago by Marko Stojanovic
4.0 out of 5 stars a war book proper
this one ,unlike for instance,"From Here to Eternity" is all about men in war and all that goes with it. Realistic and brutal at times. Read more
Published 22 months ago by C. A. Webb
5.0 out of 5 stars Mailer's Compelling War Epic
At over 700 pages in length Norman Mailer's 1949 novel can rightly be categorised as something of an epic tale, which charts the experiences of a group of American army soldiers... Read more
Published on 3 Jun 2012 by Keith M
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the great American war novels
Maybe not "the best war novel ever," which is what has been said of this work, but undeniably up there with the greats. Read more
Published on 29 April 2012 by Andrew Phillips
2.0 out of 5 stars Tedious plod
I read Dickens' Our Mutual Friend just before I started on this and it was like walking from the light into darkness. Read more
Published on 5 Feb 2012 by William Shardlow
2.0 out of 5 stars Great story, crappy ebook
The story is as good as you'd expect from a classic, but the kindle edition is a horrible hackjob. It is missing proper chapter markers and there are hundreds of errors where the... Read more
Published on 19 Jan 2011 by Jesper Monsted
4.0 out of 5 stars Earth moving..
This could have gone on for another 700 pages and i would've been fine.
A great book by a great writer.
Brutal, realistic story-telling.
Published on 1 Oct 2008
5.0 out of 5 stars War for real
The Naked and the Dead remains the most realistic war novel I have read. It is neither a romance of heroic deeds nor the grinding, dehumanised tragedy that WWI novels tend to be. Read more
Published on 16 July 2008 by reader 451
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