Norman Mailer (1923-2007) was born in Long Branch, New Jersey, and grew up in Brooklyn, New York. In 1955 he co-founded The Village Voice. He is the author of more than thirty books, including The Naked and the Dead; The Armies of the Night, for which he won a National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize; The Executioner’s Song, for which he won his second Pulitzer Prize; Harlot’s Ghost; Oswald’s Tale; The Gospel According to the Son; and The Castle in the Forest.

Norman Mailer: Letters to Jack Abbott

Norman Mailer, 1982; photograph by Dominique Nabokov
We publish here the third of three selections from the letters of Norman Mailer, with notes provided by Michael Lennon. This group of letters spans three decades; the first four touch on Mailer’s relationship to Jewish writers or to his own Jewishness. We’ve included two letters to Jack Abbott, with …

Norman Mailer: ‘Deer Park’ Letters

Norman Mailer, Brooklyn, 1963; photograph by Diane Arbus
We publish here the second of three selections from the letters of Norman Mailer, with notes provided by Michael Lennon. These letters, written while Mailer was working on his novel The Deer Park or just after he finished it, are addressed to three novelists he was close to at the …

Norman Mailer: Letters on Writing

Norman Mailer, 1955
We publish here the first of three selections from the letters of Norman Mailer, with notes provided by Michael Lennon. The first letter was written to his parents when Mailer was still in the army and working on The Naked and the Dead. The second was written to his editor …

The Election and America’s Future

For what has been called “the most consequential election in decades,” we have asked some of our contributors for their views.—The Editors   K. ANTHONY APPIAH Princeton, New Jersey If there’s one thing that supporters of the current administration insist upon, it’s that George W. Bush “is a …

The White Man Unburdened

Exeunt: lightning and thunder, shock and awe. Dust, ash, fog, fire, smoke, sand, blood, and a good deal of waste now move to the wings. The stage, however, remains occupied. The question posed at curtain-rise has not been answered. Why did we go to war? If no real weapons of …

Only in America

This article is based on Norman Mailer’s Commonwealth Club speech in San Francisco on February 20, 2003. Mr. Mailer received the Club’s Centennial Medallion, in honor of the organization’s hundredth anniversary. An audio stream of the speech can be heard on commonwealthclub.org. It is probably true that at the …

A Man Half Full

Let me take the unseemly step of commencing a review of another author’s work by offering several paragraphs from my own book Cannibals and Christians, published in 1965. The people who were most American by birth, and who had the most to do with managing America, gave themselves a literature …

The Amateur Hit Man

The mystery of Oswald subsumes the enigma of Jack Ruby. Yet if the first mystery has haunted the American intelligence establishment with the fear that it is implicated, Jack Ruby buggers reasonable comprehension for the rest of us. A minor thug from the streets of Chicago with a mentally unbalanced …

The Espionage Lesson

The class, now in its third year, had been commenced as a seminar on Thursday afternoons for some of his staff plus young officers who had been recommended to Harlot[^*] as potential to draw upon for his projects. Those were Low Thursdays, but once a month, on what soon came …

Discovering Jack H. Abbott

The following will appear as the introduction to Jack H. Abbott’s book In the Belly of the Beast, to be published by Random House in June. Some time in the middle of working on The Executioner’s Song, a note came from Morton Janklow, the lawyer and literary agent. He was …

In Prison

A couple of years ago, in the middle of writing The Executioner’s Song, I received a letter from a man in prison named Jack H. Abbott. He had heard I was writing a book about Gary Gilmore and wanted to tell me that he didn’t see how such a work …

Set Theory

I. Input for the Computer Devils: One of us will be better looking    when it is all over. Angels: Well, let us hope    we do not    go down    my darling    both of us    together. Orgiasts: Go down    both of …

A Special Supplement: The Meaning of Vietnam

In early May, The New York Review asked some of its contributors to write on the meaning of the Vietnam war and its ending. They were asked to consider the questions of the responsibility for the war; its effect on American life, politics, and culture, and the US position in …

Married to Marilyn

She has a strange relationship with DiMaggio—strange because it cannot possibly be as mundane as she will later present it—and it is virtually undocumented, although choking in factoids. DiMaggio never gives much to an interview, and her version of him, when married to Arthur Miller, is spiteful, even reminiscent of …

A Transit to Narcissus

To pay one’s $5.00 and join the full house at the Translux for the evening show of Last Tango in Paris is to be reminded once again that the planet is in a state of pullulation. The seasons accelerate. The snow which was falling in November had left by the …

The Genius

The following notes appear in Norman Mailer’s account of the Republican convention in his new book St. George and the Godfather, published this month by New American Library. If while speaking to Kissinger, he had called Nixon a genius, he meant it. For a genius was a man who could …