Your audiobook is waiting…

The Armies of the Night

History as a Novel, the Novel as History
Narrated by: Scott Brick
Length: 12 hrs and 14 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4 out of 5 stars (33 ratings)

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

The Armies of the Night chronicles the famed October 1967 March on the Pentagon, in which all of the old and new Left - hippies, yuppies, Weathermen, Quakers, Christians, feminists, and intellectuals - came together to protest the Vietnam War. Alongside his contemporaries, Mailer went, witnessed, participated, suffered, and then wrote one of the most stark and intelligent appraisals of the 1960s: its myths, heroes, and demons. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award and a cornerstone of New Journalism, The Armies of the Night is not only a fascinating foray into that mysterious terrain between novel and history, fiction and nonfiction, but also a key chapter in the autobiography of Norman Mailer - who, in this nonfiction novel, becomes his own great character, letting history in all its complexity speak through him.

©1968 Norman Mailer

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    15
  • 4 Stars
    11
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    5

Performance

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    15
  • 4 Stars
    10
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    2

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    14
  • 4 Stars
    10
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    5
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

The last tool left to history

“Once History inhabits a crazy house, egotism may be the last tool left to History.”
― Norman Mailer, The Armies of the Night: History as a Novel, the Novel as History


It has been a long time since I've read Mailer. I read The Executioner's Song when I was a Mormon missionary (in a Lazyboy while my companion snored in the next room) in Grand Junction, Colorado in 1993. I read Harlot's Ghost my after my sophomore year in college. Mailer is fascinating to me. At the same time he is both an irritating egoist chasing the tail of Twain, Hemingway and Fitzgerald (and never quite grabbing it). But he is also, at his best, a tiger of modern journalism. He (and Hunter S. Thompson, Tom Wolfe, and other New Journalists) showed that print wasn't dead. That in the age of TV, however, it needed to reinvent itself and break some of the static and almost dead boundaries. When Mailer is off, he is horrible. His writing is fat (it almost glistens with a literary lard), but, but when it is on. When Mailer has grabbed the Universe by the balls, there is almost nothing close to the energy of his words.

It is weird to think this book was written over 50 years ago (the action happened over a few days in late October 1967; the book was published in 1968). But Mailer was my exact age when it all happened. I feel both old and young at the same time. I've been meaning to read this book for years, but now seemed right. It was an accident to read it at the same age Mailer wrote it, but it does give me a bit of perspective in his motives, his perspective, his mood. It also seems appropriate now. No other period quite seems as close to the late 60s as the last few years. I feel like something has to break, or a beast is going to be born. I hope Mailer isn't write and that we aren't in the final stages before a freakish totalitarianism emerges. Perhaps it is already too late. Deliver us from our curse - indeed.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful