The Naked and the Dead (50th Anniversary Edition)

The Naked and the Dead (50th Anniversary Edition)

by Norman Mailer

Paperback(Fiftieth Anniversary Edition)

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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 for 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312265052
Publisher: Picador
Publication date: 08/05/2000
Edition description: Fiftieth Anniversary Edition
Pages: 736
Sales rank: 116,611
Product dimensions: 5.41(w) x 8.23(h) x 1.31(d)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

Norman Mailer's first novel, The Naked and the Dead, is widely regarded as one of the finest American novels of the twentieth century. Among Norman Mailer's other achievements are Why Are We in Vietnam?, The Armies of the Night, for which he was awarded a Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award in 1968, and The Executioner's Song, which won the 1980 Pulitzer Prize.


Provincetown, Massachusetts, and New York, New York

Date of Birth:

January 31, 1923

Date of Death:

November 10, 2007

Place of Birth:

Long Branch, New Jersey


B.S., Harvard University, 1943; Sorbonne, Paris, 1947-48

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The Naked and the Dead 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
Janus More than 1 year ago
It is arguable that no book better captures the feelings and personalities of young soldiers at war better than this one. Every character is unique and wholly believable. When one of them dies the reader feels as though he/she has just lost a friend. A must read for anyone who wishes to gain a better appreciation for the brutality and emotion of war.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Naked and the Dead is a good book that I found that I could simply jump into and start for hours. What I thought made it so great was that it is such a straight forward read and there are very few parts that I had to go back and check to see what was going on. However, I wish that the book was not so straight forward sometimes because then I would be able to think on other things that the author may try to be saying. Anyways, all in all I think people who like books on wars of any nature should read this book because it really does give a straight forward point of view on war.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Naked and the Dead was a really interesting book because it took you through a whole different aspect of war. It takes you inside the minds of the soldiers and really makes you think about what would be in your head at a time of war.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Though I would agree with those around me that have read Mr. Mailer's THE NAKED AND THE DEAD, that it is much too long and wastes a great amount of paper explaining one's emotions on three pages when I'm sure it could have been cut down to a single sentence, I still consider this book one of my favorites. As a vetran of the Marines, I feel that Mr. Mailer has caught every type of man that comes into the military. Young with their personal Heavens and Hells yet come together as a team to get a job done. I enjoyed the banter between General Cummings and Lt. Hearn and imagined the same occuring between officers that I have come into contact with. There are men like Cummings who see the world through ultra Right Wing eyes as there are also men like Hearn that believe that changes can be made in this world. There are also men the decieve eachother, men that cheat on their wives, men that have no purpose but to be alive, and men who are Jewish and feel that some people in this world hate them just for the simple fact that they are Jewish. I have no problem believing that these type of men can come together in one single plattoon, because I had the same type of men in mine. I still believe after reading this novel twice now that it captures the conflicts men have within their own personal lives and how they can come to life in a conflict like World War 2.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is by far one of the best books i have ever read. Yes its wordy, yes it tries too hard to philosophize, but when it comes to showing the effect of war on the human psyche good luck finding something better. Set in the South Pacific on a ficticious island called Anopopei the book tells the story of a platoon of recon soldiers. Vivid descriptions of the agony and triumph of army life along with flashbacks that tell the story of each individual character, dot the book. The overall message is of the futility of war, but also of how soldiers and officers propel war forward simply by resenting eachother, and how individual ambitions hinder the progress of humanity. So, if you like war novels, or just like have something to think about, pickup a copy of The Naked and the Dead.
whitewavedarling on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Perhaps the most lasting and powerful novel to have arisen from WWII, [The Naked and the Dead] is worth reading. Its innovative structure makes for a striking impact that will jar any reader; I'm not sure anyone could read this book and feel unaffected. While the numerous characters all introduced in the beginning make for a slow start, the book is always engaging and readable; and, once one grows accustomed to the structure and the many characters, the book is also impossible to put down (however your wrists might ache from holding it up!) As a war novel, it does have scenes involving heavily graphic material, but Mailer never overdoes it, and what's there is necessary. If you can take a realistic war novel, that does its best to combine various voices into a canvas of material as true to the war as it is to itself, you'd do well to pick this one up. Highly highly recommended.
br77rino on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A great book by a great ass. It tells the story of an invasion of an island in the South Pacific during WWII, and is full of the mud, sweat and anxiety experienced by the troops. The island is described expertly, and there is even a map. The main character is a subordinate to the general, and their relationship is one of the highlights of this book. Reading it, I couldn't help thinking of the main character as Tony Soprano, the Sopranos being all the rage at the time of my reading. The invasion and battle scenes are laid out in great detail, and the whole thing is truly a work of art. By an ass, true, but what are you gonna do? It's a great book not to be missed by any male of the species.
whitrichardson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love this novel. It is like no other war novel I've read. But if you're looking for an action-packed, blood-and-guts war novel, this isn't it. It's a psychological novel about war's impact on the human mind. Mailer creates a group of memorable American soldiers fighting the Japanese on the mythical Pacific Island of Anopopei. He does an excellent job of bringing the reader inside these soldiers' heads as they land on the beach of this distant island and face combat, many of them for the first time. You hear one soldier's thoughts as he panics and leaves his fox hole only to be dead the next minute. You live through another soldier's agony of learning his wife had died a world away. Mailer's grasp of human emotion and how human minds (at least mine) work is amazing.
RoseCityReader on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was a mesmerizing look at Army life in WWII. Mailer tells the story of an Intelligence and Reconnaissance platoon on a fictional Pacific Island. There are fewer battle scenes than I expected. Most of the story is about the men on daily patrols, guard duty, and a week long patrol behind enemy lines. It was the descriptions of what it was like to hike for days and days in the jungle carrying 60 pounds of equipment that got to me. What those men went through!Mailer personalizes the characters by interposing flashbacks highlighting the pre-war lives of several of the man. He also switches the point of view among the various characters. Still, the characters are never fully developed, which, to me, made the story more realistic. The reader gets impressionistic views of each man in the troop, just as they had of each other. These men were all thrown together to serve under horrible conditions, but they had nothing in common to start with and really did not know each other. All in all, a great book. It is long, but it is a fast read. In Mailer¿s introduction to the 50th Anniversary edition he self-deprecatingly explains that the book (his first) was a best seller and was written in the flashy language of all best sellers. But it is not the language that makes the book so good, it is the story.
Autodafe on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The best novel about the War in the Pacific ever written.
piefuchs on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Naked and the Dead slowly grew on me. At first, I was a little confused by the myriad of characters, failed to get into the plot, and continued to put it down. Once I gave it a long, continuous reading time, and, admittedly, as more of the flashback sections were developed, I was hooked. For me, The Naked and the Dead was more about character than about war. It was the story of ordinary men being put in an extraordinary and physically demanding situations. Some rose to the occasion specatularly and unexpectedly, learning of their inner strength and talents stunted by societal expectations. Others, understandably, dreamt only of returning to the normalacy of home. Mailer also tells the story of stangers from hugely varying backgrounds (a mix only a country like America could provide) coming together to find some equilibrium of forced tolerance. Fuggin' long an' fuggin good.
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Although some have said its a combat novel, I couldn't disagree more. There is very little combat (or 'action') in the book, with nearly the entire book dedicated to the interactions between the very well defined characters. The relationships, interactions, and challenges of the characters could could have just as easily occurred within a mountain climbing team, a sports team, or sailing crew. There is really nothing about the core of story that depends specifically on a war environment. What bothered me most was the racial and religious stereotyping: the entrepeneurial but weak Jew, the fast-talking, scam-artist Italian, and the snobbish, detached, and Harvard educated New Englander, etc. Nearly each and every character was incredibly unlikeable, with despicable traits and methods that represented the worst of "their kind". Frankly, I wonder if the characters are more of an instantiation of Mailer's own inner believes and predjudices. Finaly, the inconsistencies and flat-out errors in the story bugged me to no end. Mailer apparently doesn't know how long a yard is based on the many distances he describes in yards -- half of them are unbelievable. And logistical errors, such as exhausted men carrying 90lb packs edging along a 1-foot wide mountain ledge, perhaps can be explained by Mailers apparent lack of time spent in the real world.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book the Naked and the Dead, by Norman Mailer is not a book for someone to just jump into. The book is durin wwII on a remote island called Anopopei. The book is about men who fought in the war and giving flashbacks of how they were before the war. This book contains many flashbacks, and also there is alot of characters to remember. So if your good at keeping track of charachters and love war novels then this is a great book and I would recommend it, but if not then I wouldnt recommend it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The naked and the dead is a great book. I enjoy reading all war books for it gives me a better understanding of war before and after effects, like this book did. I would highly recomend anyone who likes to read about war read this book you will have a great satisfaction after reading it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Naked and the Dead is an awesome book to read. If your interested in war and history then I would choose this book before most. Norman Mailer did a good job at writing this book it gave me a pretty good view of how war really is
Guest More than 1 year ago
Well Norman Mailer did a wonderful job on this one. He truly captures the second world war and puts in into words just perfectly. The story is a very lond one but is indeed good and it is hard to put in down. The story all in all is a little gross at times but still it is a great story.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'The Naked and the Dead' by Norman Mailer is the best war novel I have ever read. Although the book is extremely long and very vulgar, the story of the men and their horific battle is worth it. The book is very detailed and helps paint a picture of the reality of war. Although the book is a fiction novel, it still informs readers the history of the second world war that many of our relatives were involved in. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys American history.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book while I was in the Army and let me tell you, this book hits the nail on the head.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is considered one of the best books written about the Second World War.This shows the tremendous gap between life as it is lived, and literature which can barely touch a small part of life.One online reviewer points to the fact that the essential element in combat survival plays small part in Mailer's book,i.e. the support of soldiers for their buddies, platoon level loyalty. Much research confirms this point ,and does suggest that Mailer's book is very much an ideological centered work whose principle story is the fight against Fascism. Only the Fascists in Mailer's book are not only the enemy , but within the ranks of the American military heirarchy. So Mailer's hero , the liberal Lieutenant Hearn struggles against the Patton like general Cummings. So too within the platoon the soldier Croft by stealth and fear and intimidation rules . Mailer presents too a picture of the absurdity of war , even though there was nothing at all absurd about the Second World War which saved all of humanity from possible slavery . Mailer draws a kind of Dos Passos like encyclopediac picture of American society as a whole .His writing is lean and strong .But the book in a very deep way fails to satisfy ( as Mailer will throughout his writing life ) because somehow he has his head on backwards, and fails to value and appreciate what is good and great in American society , and why a victory for freedom is not meaningless, but something despite the cruelty and the absurdity involved in much of it ,of highest possible value.
Guest More than 1 year ago