The Executioner's Song

( 17 )

Overview

Norman Mailer's Pulitzer Prize-winning and unforgettable classic about convicted killer Gary Gilmore now in a brand-new edition.

Arguably the greatest book from America's most heroically ambitious writer, THE EXECUTIONER'S SONG follows the short, blighted life of Gary Gilmore who became famous after he robbed two men in 1976 and killed them in cold blood. After being tried and convicted, he immediately insisted on being executed for his crime. To do so, he fought a system that ...

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The Executioner's Song

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Overview

Norman Mailer's Pulitzer Prize-winning and unforgettable classic about convicted killer Gary Gilmore now in a brand-new edition.

Arguably the greatest book from America's most heroically ambitious writer, THE EXECUTIONER'S SONG follows the short, blighted life of Gary Gilmore who became famous after he robbed two men in 1976 and killed them in cold blood. After being tried and convicted, he immediately insisted on being executed for his crime. To do so, he fought a system that seemed intent on keeping him alive long after it had sentenced him to death. And that fight for the right to die is what made him famous.

Mailer tells not only Gilmore's story, but those of the men and women caught in the web of his life and drawn into his procession toward the firing squad. All with implacable authority, steely compassion, and a restraint that evokes the parched landscape and stern theology of Gilmore's Utah. THE EXECUTIONER'S SONG is a trip down the wrong side of the tracks to the deepest source of American loneliness and violence. It is a towering achievement-impossible to put down, impossible to forget.

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Editorial Reviews

Joan Didion
. . .[N]o one but Mailer could have dared this book. . . .the very subject of The Executioner's Song is that vast emptiness at the center of the Western experience. . .a dread so close to zero that human voices fade out. . . .This is an absolutely astonishing book. -- The New York Times Books of the Century, reviewed October 7, 1979
Philadelphia Inquirer
Not since The Grapes of Wrath has there been an American book that so discovered the voices in our culture.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780446584388
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 5/8/2012
  • Pages: 1136
  • Sales rank: 144,518
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 2.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Norman Mailer
Norman Mailer was born in 1923 in Long Branch, New Jersey, and grew up in Brooklyn, New York. In 1955, he was one of the co-founders of The Village Voice. He is the author of more than thirty books, including The Naked and the Dead; The Armies of the Night, for which he won a National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize; The Executioner's Song, for which he won his second Pulitzer Prize; Harlot's Ghost; Oswald's Tale; The Gospel According to the Son, The Castle and the Forest and On God. He died in 2007.

Biography

One of the most provocative authors of the 20th century, Norman Mailer stood at the forefront of the New Journalism, a form of creative nonfiction that wove autobiography, real events, and political commentary into unconventional novels. In a career that spanned nearly 60 years, he wrote more than 30 books, including The Naked and the Dead; The Armies of the Night,, for which he won a National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize; The Executioner's Song, for which he won his second Pulitzer Prize; Harlot's Ghost; Oswald's Tale; The Gospel According to the Son; and his last novel, The Castle in the Forest, a chilling fictional portrait of the youthful Adolf Hitler. On November 10, 2007, he died of renal failure, leaving behind an astonishing literary legacy.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Nachem Malech Mailer
      Norman Mailer
    2. Hometown:
      Provincetown, Massachusetts, and New York, New York
    1. Date of Birth:
      January 31, 1923
    2. Place of Birth:
      Long Branch, New Jersey
    1. Date of Death:
      November 10, 2007

Table of Contents

Book 1 Western Voices
Part 1 Gary 3
Part 2 Nicole 69
Part 3 Gary and Nicole 119
Part 4 The Gas Station and the Motel 205
Part 5 The Shadows of the Dream 307
Part 6 The Trial of Gary M. Gilmore 371
Part 7 Death Row 453
Book 2 Eastern Voices
Part 1 In the Reign of Good King Boaz 507
Part 2 Exclusive Rights 575
Part 3 The Hunger Strike 665
Part 4 The Holiday Season 739
Part 5 Pressures 791
Part 6 Into the Light 899
Part 7 The Fading of the Heart 993
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 17 )
Rating Distribution

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(9)

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(6)

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(2)

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Sort by: Showing all of 18 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2006

    FANTASTIC!!!

    THIS BOOK IS GREAT I RECOMMEND IT TO ANYONE. THIS BOKK IS REALLY JAW DROPPING AND HARD TO PUT DOWN. MAILER IS GREAT I WAS SO CONVINCED WHEN READING THE BOOK, BECAUSE HE MAKES IT SEEM SO REAL. ALTHOUH, GILMORE WAS REALLY SELFISH TO ME AND I SAY THIS IS BECAUSE HIS ACTIONS THROUGHOUT THE BOOK WAS REALLY CRUEL.MANY PEOPLE TODAY OVERLOOK PEOPLE THAT HAVE PROBLEMS. WHEN REALLY THEY NEED TO HELP THEM OR LOOK INTO IT BECAUSE OTHERWISE THEY'LL COMMIT ACTS LIKE GILMORE. TO SUM UP PLEASE READ THE BOOK, IT'S A BOOK YOU CAN TALK ABOUT TO ANYONE.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2003

    Fugitve will steal Your Attention

    This suspense filled book will captivate you from page 1 as it has to me. This thriller is about a lifelong fugitive who was freed from the terrible life of jail but soon finds life is too complicated for him to keep up. I found this book to be stupendous for many reasons. First off there's never a dull moment in the book, it always leaves the reader craving the next page! The plot is well written and has nothing that would not happen in real life. The book also shows how are jail and court system are handeling problems like the main characters Gary Gilmore. The only thing I did not like about this book was that near the end of the book more talk of politics was overriding the focus of the story. Other than that I thought this book was marvelous. I would recommend you to start reading this book now.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2002

    Gary Gilmore's Voice Continues to Speak

    Recently completed after 25 years a rereading of this book which, again, proved to be an intense experience. Mailer carefully details the events leading to and following the murders committed by Gary Gilmore. He uses a multi-voice approach to tell this very complex story through the eyes of Gilmore, his family, his legal team, the prison officials, the media, the publicists and to a lesser degree, the victims' families. As the novel unfolds, the story becomes intriguing, fascinating, exasperating, and overwhelming. The machinations of those deadset against the execution is particularly interesting. Norman Mailer's presentation of the Gilmore issue supported my views regarding the death penalty when I first read this book in the late 1970s. I have since entirely changed my mind about capital punishment and found to my surprise that 'The Executioner's Song' continues to support my new views. I found this to be extraordinary and it says much about the author's mastery in presenting the Gary Gilmore story. I guess it depends upon how one interprets the 'Song.' A good read for those who enjoy the Mailer style but at 1,100+ pages, a challenge at times to stick with.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2002

    My favorite book ;)

    I feel as though I know Gilmore personally. I believe that Mailer did an excellent job at not only telling Gilmore's story but also breaking down the justice system. I have always been against the death penalty, but I believe that this book could sway others to see not only the crime but also the person. Okay, now I am off on a tangent, but really this is an excellent book. Do not let its 1100+ pages defer you from it. It is intriguing and you will be captivated within the first chapter. Gilmore's outlook on life, love, crime, and injustice are interesting. He gives a different outlook on life that many of us will never see or appreciate in our real lives.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2002

    this book rocks!!!

    norm does a great job telling this story of theft, murder love and death.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2001

    intense

    This book assigned to me as a class assignment and it had an astonishing effect on my view of capitol punishment as well as the American penal system. I have read other titles from Mailer, but this is the best to date, simply excellent.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 20, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Convoluted, complicated, and confounding Did I enjoy this book:

    Convoluted, complicated, and confounding

    Did I enjoy this book: That word “enjoy” again; I keep getting tripped up here. I was haunted, stunned, and perplexed by this book.

    When two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Normal Mailer composes a story, it is truly a work of art. Unrestricted by any particular style or expectation, Mailer unfolds the painful, true story of convicted murderer, Gary Gilmore. He creates a multi-dimensional central character who demonstrates hope, aspirations, and love while simultaneously revealing himself to be violent, depraved, and ultimately evil.

    In the book, Gilmore leaves prison after 13 years of incarceration. Early in the novel, he says, “I want a home . . . I want a family. I want to live like other people live.” But this proves too much for Gilmore as he is unable to resist his compulsion to take what he wants without regards for others. Even his profound love for Nicole Baker is perverted by his proposed suicide pact. But he does love. And people in his life love him.

    The entire 1000+ page novel is convoluted, complicated, and confounding. As I believe the author intended it to be. The story is told through dialogue, letters, interviews, and court transcripts. No detail is ignored, no emotion unexplored.

    Would I recommend it: Mailer claims this story was given to him in its entirety by God. It’s not hard to believe this claim to be true. So I would recommend it -but to the serious reader. (Not sure how to say this without sounding snobbish.)

    Will I read it again: I will not.

    As reviewed by Belinda at Every Free Chance Book Reviews.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2006

    Ok book

    This book was ok, but I got very bored with the additional information in it. The book is very detailed, and sometimes too overly detailed. This book has many adult situations in it and had a lot of vulgar langauge. The book is a aslow process. So if youu like action like me you ,ight not enjoy this book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2003

    An Existential Experience

    I first became acquainted with this book when it was one of the assigned texts in a seminar course I took under the instruction of Mailer's archivist at a small eastern university. Despite its intimidating length at approx. 1050, I finished it at a blistering pace in a marathon series of days during which I could hardly put it down. This is not just a book - this is a frickin' existential vision. Mailer's handling of the true story of Gilmore is provocative, at times disturbing, and altogether unforgetable. Mailer has intimated that with Gary Gilmore, he found the real-life example of the existential hero/anti-hero that he had sought in his earlier fictions (two of the titles i reccommended - Vietnam, and Dream). As well this is a perfect example of why comm. profs love Mailer for his 'new journalism', for another example of his 'journalism as novel or vice versa' see also the Armies of the Night

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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