on 29 September 1997
I was never around for the events that were described in this book, so I wasn't sure how I would react to them. I shouldn't have worried. Mailer describes everything perfectly in the best third person narration I've ever seen. The way he talks about himself and others is so objective at some times, brutally honest at others, that you wouldn't even know Mailer is writing the book. Of course, knowing that he is the author and that is saying some not very nice things about himself makes it even more fun.
But the true character in this book is not Mailer but the American people, shown here in all their squalor and glory. Mailer treats everyone the same, from celeberties to the common protesters that he sees with their quiet bravery. Before this book, I had never heard of the march on the Pentagon, but after it I am quite certain that it was a pivotal moment in American history with repercussions beyond the Vietnam War, some which we can still feel today.
on 4 November 2010
I was looking for that book for ages. Finding it here, I was amazed. This book is a great read for the fans of this kind of books. The item didn't arrived in time and that's the only flaw. I had to wait for a whole month since the day of dispatch. When it finally arrived it came in an excellent condition.
on 2 January 1999
No writer is more versatile than Norman Mailer. No writer, living or dead, could write An American Dream AND The Executioner's Song AND Harlot's Ghost AND Ancient Evenings AND this book. What an astounding imagination.
on 6 February 2008
Ostensibly this book is about a demonstration in the car park of the Pentagon against the Vietnam war. It includes the usual suspects: hippies, anarchists and what remains of the American Left after ten unbroken years of capitalist-driven wealth and McCarthyism. Who can possibly save America from itself? Why, Norman Mailer of course. The literary super-brat of American letters. He fearlessly confronts the state troopers, gets himself arrested, arraigned, imprisoned and in doing so strikes a blow for freedom across the globe! Mailer really wastes this opportunity; he had a chance to document a key event in American history (though the size of the march was about one-tenth of the London Anti-Iraq protests) but instead of talking to the marchers, the state officials etc. he prefers to self-indulgently document his hangovers, the food in his hotel and the mutual admiration society which exists between the New York literati: trust-fund Leftists and (God help us) poets. I love most of Mailer's writing: this is ego-driven garbage.