Norman Mailer- variously described as one of the greatest writers of his generation, an outspoken critic of society, a narcissist, an insufferable ego – a combination of everything.
Whatever your personal feelings about Norman Mailer are, he was a presence and just as much a part of the turmoil and upheaval of the 60s as anyone of his peers. Aside from writing a string of highly successful novels, many of which went on to win artistic accolades, he was also a political activist, film director and co-founder of The Village Voice.
This interview is in conjunction with the release of his then-latest novel, Armies Of The Night, which Mailer had described as History as a Novel – A Novel As History, about the Anti-War Protests at the Pentagon in October of 1967. It went on to win a Pulitzer Prize among others. The Book describes the actions around that protest, one of the biggest anti-war gatherings up to that time. It was also one of the more violent, up to that time (remember: Chicago and the 1968 Convention hadn’t happened yet). The book was unique in that the only other writers doing that at the time were Truman Capote, Tom Wolfe, Joan Didion and Hunter S. Thompson. Armies Of The Night wound up being the prologue to Miami and The Siege Of Chicago, written later in the year.
Mailed died in 2007 – in the 10 years after his death, much has changed. It would be interesting to read his take on our current state of affairs – but we’ll only be able to guess.
If you’ve never heard an interview with Norman Mailer before, here’s a good place to start. May 4, 1968 and all hell was about to break loose.
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