!!> PDF / Epub ☉ The Naked and the Dead ✩ Author Norman Mailer – Tactical-player.co.uk


The Naked and the Dead Us readers have no homes, like unnoticed birds we perch anywhere, like the most disturbed stalkers we go through anybody s underwear drawer, like vicious tax gatherers we audit everyone, the writers especially, their creatures the characters very particularly, and hanging between all three of us, the book It sits there in its cover We ticket, we note, we award, with our eyes, brains and stars We scribble in the margins to the outrage of future readers well, I do, maybe you do not do that Us readers have no homes, like unnoticed birds we perch anywhere, like the most disturbed stalkers we go through anybody s underwear drawer, like vicious tax gatherers we audit everyone, the writers especially, their creatures the characters very particularly, and hanging between all three of us, the book It sits there in its cover We ticket, we note, we award, with our eyes, brains and stars We scribble in the margins to the outrage of future readers well, I do, maybe you do not do that I never mind if someone has previously done that So I have looked out of Humbert Humbert s paedophiliac eyes, I overheard the good man Jesus and the scoundrel Christ, I declined and fell with Paul Pennyfeather and I closely observed Molly Bloom in her bed for at least three hours, she didn t notice a thing It was like I wasn t there With Jeanette Winterson I too grew up in a crazy Christian cult, and like others before me I could not stop Merricat Blackwood from her pyromania whatever I did Well, you could all say similar things Our acceptance of the thousand varieties of human beingness is almost limitless We are promiscuity itself The Naked and the Dead is not really about World War Two, or about war in general, it s about looking through the eyes of men, a whole bunch of them, sleeping with them, eating with them, drinking, pissing and fighting with them In this novel, the thing to have is a penis The testosterone floweth through this novel as doth the Ganges through India And I just couldn t do it I didn t want to go through all this painful stuff with a bunch of assorted blokes constantly eating, farting, sleeping, waking, yakking, being blown up or not, writing letters, bragging, playing poker, theorising banally about women and on And on Because there are a thousand characters, Mailer provides each with a description round the time they are introduced Such as He was a little over medium height, well fleshed, with a rather handsome sun tanned face and graying hair His expression when he smiled was very close to the ruddy, complacent and hard appearance of any number of American senators and businessmen, but the tough good guy aura never quite remained There was a certain vacancy in his face, like the vacancy of actors who play American congressmen Well, after several descriptions like this everything blurs together and you realise why Catch 22 works so well because in that war novel everyone is a cartoon, no painful attempt at ultra realistic detail at all, so Milo Minderbinder, Major Major, Colonel Korn and the rest remain intact in the memory years later But really, me trying to read ND was doomed to failure It could have been a good one, I guess, you never know until you try, heck I ve liked some funny things in my time But the signs were not good 1 I am ferociously biased against novels written by 24 year olds and any novels written by anyone under 30 Writing novels is like the opposite of pop music Evelyn Waugh has squeaked by Decline and Fall and I guess you have to give Mary Shelley the nod too, then there s Dickens of course.ok, ok, MOSTLY I don t think people under 30 can write a good novel Norman Mailer is no Mary Shelley, and he would have been the first to admit that.2 I hate war stories Hamburger Hill, Platoon, From Here to Eternity, I avoid them all I did watch Apocalypse Now and Saving Private Ryan and The Thin Red Line and like, that s enough.3 I thought I should read this because I was reading Norman Mailer s biography which is VERY ENTERTAINING but I just always wanted to be finding out what happened to NORMAN next not the boys in the jungles of Anopopei I can tell this is really a heck of an accomplishment, he commands his material fearlessly, ther s no holding back, he s a right know it all, and somebody needed to do a big honest novel about men in WW2 which could be set beside the big thumpers from WW1 there won t be any great novels coming out of WW3 So, for me this was a 2 star experience from a 4 star novel, abandoned a little shamefacedly but with relief I can t recall how many years ago I tried to read this probably 30 orI recall hearing that it was the best story about war ever written so, impressionable as I was at that age, I decided I d have to read it My only recollection is that very early on there was a scene of such grim death and destruction that I felt physically sickened Coward that I was and probably still am I gave up the attempt to work my way through this tome immediately I noticed an excellent review from a GR frie I can t recall how many years ago I tried to read this probably 30 orI recall hearing that it was the best story about war ever written so, impressionable as I was at that age, I decided I d have to read it My only recollection is that very early on there was a scene of such grim death and destruction that I felt physically sickened Coward that I was and probably still am I gave up the attempt to work my way through this tome immediately I noticed an excellent review from a GR friend and it reminded me of this unfinished task that of my failure to complete the book, not that of recording my failure to do so So I m now asking myself whether I m man enough to give it another go I have no answer to that question at present Maybe I will in another 30 years Nobody could sleep When morning came, assault craft would be lowered and a first wave of troops would ride through the surf and charge ashore on the 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 Norman Mailer, The Naked and the DeadNorman Mailer s The Naked and the Dead is War and Peace as written by Larry David It has all the Tolstoyean hallmarks dozens of main characters an ever shifting third Nobody could sleep When morning came, assault craft would be lowered and a first wave of troops would ride through the surf and charge ashore on the 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 Norman Mailer, The Naked and the DeadNorman Mailer s The Naked and the Dead is War and Peace as written by Larry David It has all the Tolstoyean hallmarks dozens of main characters an ever shifting third person point of view lengthy, turgid digressions on History, Philosophy and an ending that fizzles rather than explodes It also has a thoroughly misanthropic point of view, resembling nothing so much as an episode of Seinfeld set during the Pacific War The characters are all hateful, spiteful, little men None of them are likable Nothing really happens There is no great set piece battle, which you might expect when reading a war novel the war novel, according to the cover And the ending devolves quickly from black comedy to farce, with the hateful, spiteful, little characters left utterly unredeemed Mailer s ultimate disgust for his creations is utterly brimming on the last few pages The Naked and the Dead takes place on the fictional island of Anopopei The main characters are the men of an Intelligence and Reconnaissance IR platoon Lieutenant Hearn, Sgt Croft, Sgt Brown, and your typical ethnic and cultural grab bag of enlisted men Goldstein and Roth the Jews Martinez the Mexican Wilson the redneck At the beginning of the novel, I was actually impressed with the depth of these characters Though some most of them are archetypes of the genre, Mailer gets really deep into their psyche You literally are privy to all their thoughts which are often petty, self absorbed, and relatable Then, after a while, I realized that all the characters were having these same thoughts And all of them exhibited the same disgust for their fellow man, while outwardly attempting to conform to the expectations of society Pretty soon, the characters started to meld into one, and all I knew was that they were all pretty much assholes I had to recall the one thing that set each guy apart Red had bad kidneys Gallagher had the pregnant wife Stanley was a brown noser A note on likability in fiction I don t think a character has to be or should be flawless and angelic To the contrary, plenty of authors have developed irresistible villains and antiheroes What I need, at a certain point, is some indication that I should care what happens to the people I m following This is especially true in a big fat war novel, where I m being asked to accompany a platoon into danger Only three men stood out General Cummings, because he was a general Lt Hearn, who was Cummings s foil, and engages in a series of Important Discussions with the general and Sgt Croft, the psychopath Of the three, only Croft is really memorable He is as unlikable as the rest evenso Yet his awfulness at least elevates him to an over the top antagonist Croft was ably embodied by Aldo Ray in the film version For instance, in one unforgettable scene, Croft gives a Japanese prisoner a cigarette, then blows him away Croft felt his head pulsing with an intense excitement There were tears in the prisoner s eyes again, and Croft looked at them dispassionately He gazed once about the little draw, and watched a fly crawl over the mouth of one of the corpses The prisoner had taken a deep puff and was leaning back now against the trunk of the tree His eyes had closed, and for the first time there was a dreamy expression on his face Croft felt a bitter tension work itself into his throat and leave his mouth dry and bitter and demanding His mind had been entirely empty until now, but abruptly he brought up his rifle and pointed it at the prisoner s headThe prisoner did not have time to change his expression before the shot crashed into his skull He slumped forward, and then rolled on his side He was still smiling but looked silly now.I suppose that the reality of military service as in life itself is that there are moments of boredom, moments when there isn t a lot going on, or you re just waiting for something to happen It s tough to make this work in a novel, though Herman Wouk proved you can do it, in The Caine Mutiny Still, when you read fiction, it s typically for reasons other than a strictly faithful recreation of reality You want something to happen In a war novel, that generally means a position to storm, or a hill to defend, or some other clash of arms.Mailer, being Mailer, decides to ignore this imperative For the first 400 pages or so, the book just meanders forward, with the men of IR sitting around, grousing to each other, and generally being insufferable There is a brief skirmish at the river, which is really sort of distracting, owing to Mailer s gross over use of onomatopoeia For several pages, my copy of The Naked and the Dead looked like an old Batman cartoon POW BANG ZOOP Finally, the IR platoon is given a scouting mission They are sent around to the back of the island and told to gather intelligence on the Japanese They run into trouble One man is killed and another wounded The squad splits, half the men taking the wounded man back, the other half plunging forward Suddenly, there is conflict, there is forward progressand then Well, details behind the tag view spoiler Inexplicably, the farce begins After hundreds of pages of struggle and toil, the platoon is sent running after it stumbles into a bee hive Later, the finale focuses on Major Dalleson s attempt to get a Betty Grable pinup for a map reading course I acknowledge that some may find this amusing as satire Not me It felt like Mailer was having a laugh at my expense hide spoiler Whether or not you viewed the spoiler, suffice to say the ending was an irritant, especially as it comes after hundreds, and hundreds, and hundreds of pages that seem to promise bigger things You will not be surprised, if you ve ever spent time with Norma Mailer, to find that this abounds in literary affectations, notably The Time Machine and the Chorus The Time Machine is a flashback device Some of them were okay, especially Croft s Most of them, however, do little to illuminate the characters Moreover, they are often painfully hard to read, since they are written in the idiom of the stunted character at the center of the flashback The Chorus sections are just plain showing off They are presented as a play, dialogue only, and touch on a certain topic chosen by Mailer, such as what the soldiers are going to do when they get home Aside on language The Naked and the Dead infamously uses fug for thecolorful, theelegant, therealistic f k Apparently, this was self imposed censorship, suggested by the publishers This is a distracting bit of sanitation that certainly depresses the verisimilitude It is also a bit offensive, considering that we d just finished incinerating 100,000 Japanese men, women, and children in Tokyo, then topped that by shadow blasting 100,000with nuclear weapons Despite ushering in the Atomic Age, and bringing peace through fire, America at least in the view of Holt, Rinehart, and Winston thought we had some innocence to protect This was my first Mailer Returning to this after having read several other of his books, I think I probably appreciate this a bit , even if only in my memory The thing about Mailer is that he was gifted with a towering talent, without a corresponding drop of humility He could not help but flaunt his skills, to be too clever by half He s the guy who can write a thousand pages about a witless thug like Gary Gil in The Executioner s Song and convince you if only momentarily that the man is a folk hero There are some beautiful passages in The Naked and the Dead, and some wonderfully memorably scenes There are two deaths, for instance, that really stuck in my mind There were also a dozen moments that insisted upon themselves, almost screaming Look at me I m literatureUp top, I mentioned how this was a war novel about nothing Really, though, like everything that Mailer wrote, it was sort of about him The Naked and the Dead, Norman MailerWritten 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.The novel is divided into four parts Wave, Argil and Mold, Plant and Phantom, and Wake Within these parts are chorus sections, consisting of play like dialogue between characters, as w The Naked and the Dead, Norman MailerWritten 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.The novel is divided into four parts Wave, Argil and Mold, Plant and Phantom, and Wake Within these parts are chorus sections, consisting of play like dialogue between characters, as well as Time Machine sections, which give brief histories and flashbacks of individual characters lives The story takes place on Anopopei, a fictional island somewhere in the South Pacific American forces are faced with a campaign to drive out the Japanese so that Americans can advance into the Philippines The novel focuses on the experiences of one platoon.Part One, WaveCharacters are introduced as they wait around for orders A naval bombardment takes place The men take their places on a boat and are driven to the invasion shore Here, they fire back and forth at the Japanese Hennessey becomes so frightened that he soils in his pants Overcome by panic, he runs out of his foxhole and is killed by a grenade Part One concludes with this death, which alarms many of the men, since for many soldiers Hennessey s death is the first comrade death they witness.Part Two, Argil and MoldThe campaign continues General Cummings has a soft spot for Lieutenant Hearn, the only officer he can relate to intellectually they have many discussions together At one point, the platoon takes a Japanese soldier as prisoner When Gallagher gives the Japanese soldier a cigarette to smoke, the soldier closes his eyes in relaxation At this moment, Croft shoots and kills him, demonstrating his coldblooded personality Later, Gallagher receives word that his wife, Mary, died in childbirth Although Gallagher s child survived, he is overcome by immense grief throughout the rest of the novel.Part Three, Plant and PhantomHearn is assigned by Cummings to lead the platoon through the jungle and up Mountain Anaka, to find a way to the rear of the enemy After a clash with the Japanese, Wilson is shot and left behind Croft sends men back to get Wilson Brown, Stanley, Goldstein, and Ridges then carry Wilson back to the beach on a stretcher The trip takes several days, and Wilson ends up dying The men eventually lose Wilson s body in a river Croft manipulates Hearn into walking into an ambush, and Hearn is killed, leaving Croft in charge The men continue hiking up the mountain on Croft s orders, even though many men view it as a hopeless cause Later, Roth dies while attempting to make a jump on the mountain s edge Trudging on, the men eventually give up their task of climbing the mountain They return to the beach where Brown, Stanley, Goldstein, and Ridges have arrived from their mission with Wilson They learn that the battle for the island is almost won Surprisingly, the ruthless Croft seems to be relieved that he was unable to climb the mountain At the end of Part Three, the remaining men discuss their future and how it will feel when they return home now that their mission is over.Part Four, WakeThis part consists of one short chapter Cummings reflects on the war He is disappointed that the victory was too easy it came as a result of exhaustion of Japanese troops and that he cannot take the credit, as Major Dalleson, who acted as his deputy for a day, won the battle just by obeying established procedures Major Dalleson then wonders about the new training program that will take place with new troops the next day 1985 1362 1384 846 9644482603 20 1948 This is a book about America Its no secret that Tolstoy is Mailer s favorite author, and reading this book right after reading War and Peace gave me a good perspective on everything defined in this book It captures a uniquely American milieu of characters at a time when a uniquely american sence of Idenity and patriotism was being forged It spoke of the physical and intellectual challenges of various backgrounds through about a dozen main characters with learned empathy And in the end and th This is a book about America Its no secret that Tolstoy is Mailer s favorite author, and reading this book right after reading War and Peace gave me a good perspective on everything defined in this book It captures a uniquely American milieu of characters at a time when a uniquely american sence of Idenity and patriotism was being forged It spoke of the physical and intellectual challenges of various backgrounds through about a dozen main characters with learned empathy And in the end and throughout you get to glimpse all the indelible cruelity of reality as would be expected by for forboding title.The book is also brashly written by a novice Mailer himself will admit his syntax tends towards the simplistic, which lends the book a page turning, thiller characteristic that actually aides the reading experience, possibly to the chagrin or theestablished lit snobs What does hurt the book is some occasionally akward diction and character development for some of the books figures The hispanic sergant, for example, who is a capable if not confident soldier, for some reason has an inner monologue that is written in fractured and childlike stream of consciouseness, as if Mailer equated difficulty speaking a English as a second language with stupidity The crudeness of the soldier banter also can occasionally ring hollow, especially given liberal use of standin euphenisms for censored swear words.In the end the book is of extreme high quality, readable, illuminating, passionate, and empathic It is well structured and mostly well written, and in a couple places exremely influencial I m tempted to give it five stars, but in the end I think the book maybe wasn t as beautiful and influencial as some of my favorite five star reads.Parting Shots Did anyone else think the writting of Japbait was somewhat oversimplistic Who else loved that last line of the book So the Leiutenent admitted he hated Thomas Mann s Magic Mountain, but his conversations with the General really reminded me of Catsorp s relationship with Leo Naphta in Mann s classic This is the shittiest book I have ever read.H P Lovecraft, the horror writer from the earlier decades of the 20th century, wrote very little dialogue in his stories because he was aware that he wrote bad dialogue Stilted, pedantic garbage He knew that his forte was the description and action of his stories and so for the most part he stuck to that and wrote some very satisfying creepy stories.By contrast, Norman Mailer wrote a great deal of dialogue in the Naked and the Dead He didn t wri This is the shittiest book I have ever read.H P Lovecraft, the horror writer from the earlier decades of the 20th century, wrote very little dialogue in his stories because he was aware that he wrote bad dialogue Stilted, pedantic garbage He knew that his forte was the description and action of his stories and so for the most part he stuck to that and wrote some very satisfying creepy stories.By contrast, Norman Mailer wrote a great deal of dialogue in the Naked and the Dead He didn t write it because it was his strong suit He wrote it because apparently he had no one close to him who was kind enough to say, Norm, this is garbage You need to rewrite this He really could have used a friend like this He really could have used a friend who told him, Really, man, this whole book is a steaming pile of poop Burn it When the stench is gone you ll feel much cleaner I have read a lot in the course of my life Admittedly, not all of it has been great see Stephen King s Desperation And some of it has been amazing Some of it brought tears to my eyes and other stuff made me so angry I wanted to run over a convent of nuns And in all this reading, of so many different types of fiction, I have never, and I say this with no equivocation or uncertainty, read anything as shitty as The Naked and the Dead I gave it one star because I couldn t figure out a way to give it a negative number of stars.The characterization wasjust bad As I alluded, the dialogue was horrible Yes, stilted Yes, pedantic But also incredibly condescending Most characters in the book were written in overwrought colloquialism that made them all seem retarded None of the characters in the story had a any redeeming qualities, or, b anything that made them interesting Every emotion in the book was set in as clumsy a manner as I ve ever read I ve seen better from high school sophos Everything the characters said, and every thought they had Mailer made sure to share everything everybody thought for the duration of the book was an incessant bitch fest how bad they had it, how much the army was fugging them, how they were certain their wives back home were nailing anything with the ability to maintain an erection Combine all this with the fact that nobody, nobody at all, succeeded in doing a single thing they set out to do over the course of 721 pages Whether it was leading a platoon on patrol, standing up to the crazy sergeant, or carrying a body back to camp, or any of the score of other things characters in the book tried to do, everybody failed and the entire point of everything they attemted was to give the reader the opportunity to listen to their fucking whining about it.Nothing happens in the first 400 400 pages of the novel Well, okay, there was some bitching And this perverse tension as the latently homosexual general plays dominance games with his lieutenant aid And one character s clap won t go away But aside from that, there is a 400 page lull at the beginning that brings into question my own sanity for finishing commitment, baby, commitment So after a dry beginning that is longer than most novels, the platoon goes on its big mission But first let s look at the pretty sunset So they look at the sunset and they go on their mission and not a great deal happens there either and then the book is over.The San Francisco Chronicle calls The Naked and the Dead perhaps the best book to come out of any war The San Francisco Chronicle is full of shit.I read this book because Norman Mailer is one of the most acclaimed authors in the American canon I wanted to see what sort of achievement his breakthrough novel at the tender age of 24 might be I expected Saving Private Ryan What I got was an insufferably boring novel I might burn it I sure wish Norman Mailer had Your time would be better spent reading Archie comic books Based On Mailer S Own Experience Of Military Service In The Philippines During World War Two, The Naked And The Dead Is A Graphically Truthful And Shattering Portrayal Of Ordinary Men In Battle First Published In , As America Was Still Basking In The Glories Of The Allied Victory, It Altered Forever The Popular Perception Of WarfareFocusing On The Experiences Of A Fourteen Man Platoon Stationed On A Japanese Held Island In The South Pacific During World War II, And Written In A Journalistic Style, It Tells The Moving Story Of The Soldiers Struggle To Retain A Sense Of Dignity Amidst The Horror Of Warfare, And To Find A Source Of Meaning In Their Lives Amisdst The Sounds And Fury Of Battle Executioner s Song was one of the best books I ve read in the past year so good I haven t felt up to reviewing it so I had high expectations for The Naked and the Dead The front cover blurb from the SF Chronicle speculates that this novel is perhaps the best book to come out of any war, which really jacked up the ante and got me intrigued.Well, I got only a little over a hundred pages in, and IMHO The Naked and the Dead isn t bad, but it is not a better book than War and Peace or The Il Executioner s Song was one of the best books I ve read in the past year so good I haven t felt up to reviewing it so I had high expectations for The Naked and the Dead The front cover blurb from the SF Chronicle speculates that this novel is perhaps the best book to come out of any war, which really jacked up the ante and got me intrigued.Well, I got only a little over a hundred pages in, and IMHO The Naked and the Dead isn t bad, but it is not a better book than War and Peace or The Iliad It s not even a true classic, though it is a good read The Naked and the Dead was probably a lotessential before we had access to so many war movies you can see all the war movie cliches already present, though there isn t a black guy the troops aren t yet integrated, and Jews and Hispanics are the minority characters here I have to say that I don t think this has aged all that well You can definitely see why it was a bestseller at the time, and you can also see Mailer was in his early twenties when he wrote this, his first novel.It s a well told story, and interesting, but it s 700 pages long If it were 300 pages or if I caredor didn t have other options I d keep going, but I need to get through my post Proustum depression with something that really makes my toes curl, and this ain t it.Maybe some other time It is a fun read One of my favorite things is how all the characters say fug all the time, as in fug you, motherfugger It does feel dated, which is not always a bad thing It seemed to him now that he was very near a fundamental understanding of himself, and he felt a sense of mystery and discovery as if he had found unseen gulfs and bridges in all the familiar drab terrain of his life You know, he said, life is funny I often loved this account of anxiety and failure, though I remain certain that Mailer robbed Hemingway particularly For Whom The Bell Tolls The jungle affords reflection on sexual incongruity and soured ambition The Japanese don t app It seemed to him now that he was very near a fundamental understanding of himself, and he felt a sense of mystery and discovery as if he had found unseen gulfs and bridges in all the familiar drab terrain of his life You know, he said, life is funny I often loved this account of anxiety and failure, though I remain certain that Mailer robbed Hemingway particularly For Whom The Bell Tolls The jungle affords reflection on sexual incongruity and soured ambition The Japanese don t appear for most of the book, obviously absorbed in their own angst and ennui I read this long, long ago and none of the story or characters have stayed with me What is left is an impression of a war so gritty and dirty that one feels disgusted I remember one character having some sort of kidney problem, with attendant stomach ache and blood in urine for me, this has become the defining image of war Also, the last sentence Hot dog by a soldier contemplating possible furlough I think Mailer achieved what he intended, at least with me.


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About the Author: Norman Mailer

Norman Kingsley Mailer was an American novelist, journalist, essayist, poet, playwright, screenwriter, and film director.Along with Truman Capote, Joan Didion, and Tom Wolfe, Mailer is considered an innovator of creative nonfiction, a genre sometimes called New Journalism, but which covers the essay to the nonfiction novel He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize twice and the National Book Award once In 1955, Mailer, together with Ed Fancher and Dan Wolf, first published The Village Voice, which began as an arts and politics oriented weekly newspaper initially distributed in Greenwich Village In 2005, he won the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters from The National Book Foundation.