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Publisher's Summary

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.

©1951 Norman Mailer (P)2016 Brilliance Audio. All rights reserved.

What listeners say about The Naked and the Dead

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John Buffalo Mailer narrates his father's book

Any additional comments?

I first started reading Norman Mailer’s books as a high school senior in 1970 with a paperback copy of ARMIES OF THE NIGHT, and have spent the years since reading all of his books—often reading them two or three times each--and considering Mailer as America’s best writer. Now we have the audible version of THE NAKED AND THE DEAD read by his son, John Buffalo Mailer.

John does an outstanding, professional, insightful, and loving job with the performance. I’ve listened to hundreds of audio books, and John Buffalo Mailer’s performance ranks among the best. I’m sure Norman would be extremely proud of him. I hope that John narrates other books by Norman Mailer that are not available as audio books, such as DEER PARK, THE EXECUTIONER’S SONG, WHY ARE WE IN VIETNAM, and my favorite, AN AMERICAN DREAM.It’s a shame these books, and all of Norman Mailer’s books, aren’t available as audio books.

Thankfully THE NAKED AND THE DEAD is now available, narrated superbly by John Buffalo Mailer.

12 people found this helpful

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Good and bad

Depends on what you want in a book. If you want a drama, then this is your book. 2% of the book was about battle movements and the rest was relational

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What a performance!

A stunning and horrifying story of the realities of war and human nature.
Brilliantly narrated!

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A most fitting Memorial Day read

When I first began reading "The Naked and the Dead", the first important soldier's novel following World War II, I did not know that I would complete it on Memorial Day. At 721 pages (and over 27 hours in the Audible version exquisitely performed by Norman Mailer's son, John) , it is a masterfully told tale of a platoon of soldiers fighting on a Japanese occupied island in the South Pacific.

Based loosely on his own war experience in the Philippines, Norman Mailer tells a hard, brutal and gritty story of the men thrown randomly together by war. Some were Pearl Harbor inspired volunteers, some were draftees, some were in the army only because, compared to economic options at home, it was a pretty damn good income.

Our main characters are members of an Intelligence and Reconnaissance platoon on the fictional island of Anopopei. Mailer moves back in forth in time as he reveals the lives of the platoon members as they find themselves tasked to launch a cross island scouting mission to ascertain the strength of the Japanese forces in advance of a full scale invasion. How they interact and talk to each other reveals the overt racism that existed in the ranks as the one Mexican and two Jewish members endure the barbs and epithets so common of the time.

The platoon is comprised of mostly seasoned vets who had survived a previous campaign and a few replacements assigned from headquarters to take part in their first scouting mission. With little accurate information with respect to the interior of the island and being led by an inexperienced, newly assigned lieutenant who had been tasked to take on the mission after falling on the wrong side of the Commanding General, the I&R platoon plunges into the dense jungle at the foot of an imposing range of mountains which bisected the island.

The tension and horrors of war play out throughout the novel with unexpected and tragic losses of the characters. Interestingly, as Mailer delves into the motivations of his characters, you catch the nuances of many in the both the officer's and enlisted ranks who embrace fascistic leanings who have a difficult time reconciling the alliance with the Communist Soviet Union and share more in common politically with the authoritarians they were fighting. It seemed that Mailer saw the foreshadowing of the rise of the totalitarian right wing intent on controlling the land of the free as soon as they could get their paws on it. That they cavalierly reviewed the numbers of the dead, both theirs and the enemy's, with little more than statistical consideration hints at how dismissive they are to value in human life as a component of their acquisition of power.

Mailer is one of America's best writers of the second half of the 20th Century. This debut novel was the portent of the written artistry to come.

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The Naked and the Dead

This novel was a delight and intrigue from beginning to end.

Well-chosen words create the pleasure of listening and cadence like poetry; detailed and rich images lead you into the sense of place; and psychological insight into men in general and men in war is terrifying and heartbreaking. This character development was pleasing even as some of it imitated stereotypes, with the performance keeping to the tone and dialect of the ethnic diversity. I being a woman of 74, with little military knowledge or history, was captivated by the dialogue and layered description.

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The hell of war

Gave new meaning to war in all of its postures. Very detailed with excellent visualization. Well written.

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Worthy

this really is one of the better WW2 books around. this really is one of the better WW2 books around

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Wonder reader

I Really enjoyed the different voices that were made for each character!! Wonderful work here!

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Could be an Oscar winning war film

It is anticlimactic, but that was the intention. Great character development and deep understanding of the pysche for the battle fatigued soldier. If done correctly, this could be adapted to film that would be a multi Oscar winner.

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Best audio book is hard so far.

The performance was totally immersive and entertaining. John must have made his father very proud wish this.

1 person found this helpful

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  • L Skipper
  • 01-18-17

absorbing

Rambling at times but also very compelling. More about human morality and nature than of war. I found it thought provoking and difficult to put down.

4 people found this helpful

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  • J. Gree
  • 08-31-20

Classic

Beautifully read, Very interesting voice and adapted to all the characters seamlessly. A no b*** s*** war story.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Hugo
  • 05-19-17

not sure why this book is so highly regarded

it has its moments but the narrators delivery of different characters made them all sound the same, so easily got lost in who was being spoken about. Also the characters were all pretty horrible and had not features that made me care about them at all.

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  • Mark Hayward
  • 04-11-18

Heroic Heartbreak Hopelessness

Mailer’s first novel is epic moving fabulous and yet depressing. Read by his son how does an excellent job, the author weaves a tale that brilliantly emphasises the futility and horror of war but more than that exposes the human cost painfully and honestly.

1 person found this helpful