The Executioner's Song Paperback – Apr 28 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.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Executioner's Song is a work of unprecedented force. It is the true story of Gary Gilmore, who in 1977 became the first person executed in the United States since the reinstitution of the death penalty. Gilmore, a violent yet articulate man who chose not to fight his death-penalty sentence, touched off a national debate about capital punishment. He allowed Norman Mailer and researcher Lawrence Schiller complete access to his story. Mailer took the material and produced an immense book with a dry, unwavering voice and meticulous attention to detail on Gilmore's life--particularly his relationship with Nicole Baker, whom Gilmore claims to have killed. What unfolds is a powerful drama, a distorted love affair, and a chilling look into the mind of a murderer in his countdown with a firing squad. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"His greatest work was his 1979 epic The Executioner's Song... a masterpiece of reportage, fiction and stylistic writing" Observer "A deeply unsettling account of a particular ordeal that suggests larger questions: the moralities of power's ends and means, the character of revolutionary fanaticism and the indecipherable humanity that flickers within it...by turns evocative, wise and crisscrossed by fury" New York Times Book Review "A great writer: in the utterly enthralling story of Gary Gilmore's life and crimes Norman Mailer takes one as deeply into the criminal mind as it is possible to get" Alan Sillitoe --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
I ended up plowing through the entire book in two weeks--that's how compelling a story Mailer paints in this lengthy, but engaging true-crime fiction hybrid. As others have mentioned, it's the first-half of this book that is the true masterpiece, the frenzied tale of the few months between Gilmore's release from prison and his cold-blooded murder of two young Mormon men, told in spare and unadorned prose. I was stunned by the level of detail he employs, and unlike some who found it tedious, thought that it brought the characters to life in a way I have rarely encountered in either fiction or non-fiction. While the second half of the book is somewhat overly drawn out, his portrayal of the marketing of the Gilmore myth (which, ironically, Mailer is involved in himself) is worth the time.
"The Executioner's Song" is full of people and moments told with a clarity that makes it unique and memorable.
I have never read anything by Mailer before, largely because I had an enduring vision of Mailer-the-pompous-celebrity, and that image turned me off. As a 27 year old I am too old to remember a time when Mailer was anything other then a "literary lion".
I decided to read "Executioner's Song" because of it's prominent role in Matthew Barney's "Cremaster Cycle". In Cremaster II, Barney assumes the role of Gilmore and Mailer himself plays the role of Harry Houdini, who might be Gary's grandfather (the father of Gilmore's father, Frank Gilmore).
"Shot Through the Heart" by Mikal Gilmore (Gary's younger brother" was a book I read back in college, so before picking up Executioner's Song, I already had a thorough familarity with the outlines of the Gilmore story.
The plot is easy enough to summarize: Career criminal gets out of prison after thirteen year sentence, falls in love, breaks up with girlfriend, commits a pair of senseless murders and then refuses to appeal, becoming the first man executed in America in over a decade.
Over four hundred pages of the book deal with the story from the perspective of Lawrence Schiller, a Hollywood Impressario who decided to lock up the rights to Gilmore's story. As I waded through the hundred's of pages dealing with Schiller's struggles, I dealt with a variety of emotions. At first, I was angry, but by the end of the book, I realized that the detailed exploration of the exploitation of Gary Gilmore is really at the heart of this book.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
okay so i didn't know anything about gary gilmore, never heard of him before buying the book. so i was disappointed when i found out what happened to him half way through the book... Read morePublished on Sept. 6 2012 by charlocharlo
A heart wrenching story that got drowned in too many irrelevant details. The way that Gilmore and his compatriots spiraled downwards is gripping, but the number of cigarettes... Read morePublished on March 11 2004
Arrogant windbag, Norman Mailer, is at his most self-indulgent in this one. This thing needed an editor, and why can't Mailer just tell a story without resorting to excess detail... Read morePublished on Dec 7 2003
Few authors could pull this off: to write a book about a crazed sociopath, his grim and pathetic life, his senseless crimes and the legal hassles they trigger and do it all while... Read morePublished on Aug. 19 2003 by Nunov Yerbusiness from massachusetts
mr mailer's style of writing using conjecture to create moments in time in gary gilmore's life left me uninterested. Read morePublished on Aug. 3 2003 by William D. Tompkins
Mailer writes with the unembellished style of a newspaper reporter in this work which traces Gilmore's actions from his last prison release to his long-awaited execution. Read morePublished on Dec 16 2002 by J. England
Yes, it was an important event in our nation's history. No one would dispute that, but Mailer's account follows all the wrong roads. Read morePublished on Oct. 21 2002
For anyone interested in the criminal mind (and although I think it's sick at times, I am), this is an incredible book. Read morePublished on Feb. 19 2002 by Huszar