The Naked and the Dead: 50th Anniversary Edition, With a New Introduction by the Author Hardcover – May 15 1998
|New from||Used from|
Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.
From Library Journal
This 50th-anniversary edition of Mailer's World War II epic contains a new introduction by the author. If your current copy is falling apart, now is the time to replace it.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"The most important American novel since Moby Dick."--Providence Journal
"The best novel to come out of the . . . war, perhaps the best book to come out of any war."--San Francisco Chronicle
"Brutal, agonizing, astonishingly thoughtful."--Newsweek
"Vibrant with life, abundant with real people, full of memorable scenes. To call it merely a great book about the war would be to minimize its total achievement."--The Philadelphia Inquirer
"Best novel yet about World War II."--Time
Inside This Book(Learn More)
Top Customer Reviews
One other note. Although Mailer's characters were fully dimensional, I found them to be a pretty distasteful bunch. In fact, I was hoping that most, if not all, of them would be killed by the end. I kept thinking that the Japanese had to be less dispicable than this lot. Mailer clearly has a low opinion of men and mankind in general. I don't buy it. I'm sure our army in WWII had some bad eggs but not the whole carton.
But the book suffers from over-wordiness at times, especially since so much of it is description of the soldiers' movements and surroundings. The tension among the men could be tauter, and the book could be a hundred pages shorter. But Mailer's gut-punching style, using simple words and sentences, gives an earthy feel to this book, which certainly was more influential when it was released than it is now. It's still a must-read, though.
Norman Mailer writes with a clarity that is often missing from other good novelists. He develops very strong characters and focusses closely on the interactions between them and their environment. Don't expect an action-packed story: The tales here are the soldier's lives and the lack of action is part of war which seems to be very realistically reconstructed.
The story, for what it's worth, follows a band of recon soldiers on an island in the Pacific during World War II. The book opens with the initial assault on the Japanese-held island; it finishes with the quick and anti-climatic (deliberately so) mopping up of the last troups. In between we follow the soldiers' progress through the jungle, go with them on a desperate recon. mission, and learn about their lives through a series of personal flashbacks.
We also see a full range of characters - at all levels in the army - and see their private and semi-private battles with authority. Often the authority in question is an over-demanding or idiotic superior; just as often it is an insolant, stubborn inferior. It is this interplay between the ranks that makes this novel stand out.
The book seems long, but it really is a page turner up with the best of them. At the end of it, you'll be able to say you really enjoyed a work of great fiction.
I ended up reading the book in the hotel, four hours at a stretch. I was fascinated by it, particularly in seeing so many familiar literary devices originate with this novel. The backstories of the characters were excellent, and I found it to be a compact way of developing the characters and explaining their motivations.
What I particularly liked was the writing style, and the Lieutenant-General struggle was perhaps the real soul of the book. The self-awareness of each competitor, and the misconception of what each was trying to accomplish, was a microcosm of each struggle throughout the book. Every point of conflict was sharply defined through a misunderstanding, a lack of communication, a little misstep here or there, compounding to some surprising and gut wrenching conclusions.
Because the ending was frustrating to me, I found it completely believable and realistic. I can see someone stumbling into a victory; I can see our hero dying due to betrayal; and I can see the flawed, vaguely malignant leader emerge largely unscathed from the chaos.
...I can understand the reservations of some reviewers, but only in an abstract, "right to your opinion" sort of way. For me, this was a 4.5 on a 5-star scale. The only reservation was the self-censoring of certain words and phrases to pass editorial review, something I feel should not be an author's consideration when writing. I can forgive this weakness in a 25 year old Norman Mailer, however. He's certainly earned it.
Most recent customer reviews
Very complex, riveting and well written story of men pushed to the limit of there endurance in the ugly arena.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
A compelling story of courage, brotherhood and squalour. One of Mailer's best.Published 7 months ago by Christopher Pluch
This book was strikingly similar to The Thin Red Line. The characters, the use of literary techniques, the settings and subsettings all similar. Read morePublished on April 21 2004
This isn't a bad story from a guy who stabbed his wife with a pen knife. But it definitely ain't the classic that it's made out to be. Read morePublished on Dec 7 2003
Mailer's take on war, is just a weak "Three Soldiers" which was written by a much better writer: Dos Passos. Read morePublished on Oct. 1 2003 by Vince R.
I am reading this book, and I think it is a better novel than I thought it would be, I thought "oh, great more lies about World War 2." Until I read this. Read morePublished on July 11 2003 by Nate W.
This is the novel that made Norman Mailer an overnight literary sensation, and was perhaps the first famous literary work dealing with events in WW II. Read morePublished on Oct. 25 2002 by Robert Moore
I picked up an old paperback edition of this book and couldn't put it down. An amazing accomplishment for a 25-year-old writer, even though Mailer's style is a mixed bag, and he... Read morePublished on Sept. 1 2002
What I liked about this 800-page doorstopper was Mailer's successfull portrayl of a bunch of average, not very likable American Joes and their struggle through the unglamorous... Read morePublished on June 30 2002