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Glengarry Glen Ross: A Play Paperback – January 11, 1994

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Editorial Reviews


“The best new American play of the season. Wonderfully funny…a play to see, remember and cherish.” –Clive Barnes, New York Post

“The most exciting American play in years.” –Howard Kissel, Women’s Wear Daily

“One of his best plays. Crackling tension…ferocious comedy and drama. A top American playwright in bristling form.” –Frank Rich, The New York Times

About the Author

David Mamet was born in Chicago in 1947. In 1978 he became Associate Artistic Director of the Goodman Theatre, Chicago, where American Buffalo had been first staged in 1975, subsequently winning an Obie Award and opening on Broadway in 1977 and at the National Theatre in 1978. His greatest hits, Glengarry Glen Ross and Oleanna followed in 1983 and 1993 respectively. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 108 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press; Reissue edition (January 11, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802130917
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802130914
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,838 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David Mamet's numerous plays include Oleanna, Glengarry Glen Ross (winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award), American Buffalo, Speed-the-Plow, Boston Marriage, November, Race and The Anarchist. He wrote the screenplays for such films as The Verdict, The Untouchables and Wag the Dog, and has twice been nominated for an Academy Award. He has written and directed ten films, including Homicide, The Spanish Prisoner, State and Main, House of Games, Spartan and Redbelt. In addition, he wrote the novels The Village, The Old Religion, Wilson and many books of nonfiction, including Bambi vs. Godzilla: On the Nature, Purpose and Practice of the Movie Business; Theatre; Three Uses of the Knife: On the Nature and Purpose of Drama and the New York Times bestseller The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture. His HBO film Phil Spector, starring Al Pacino and Helen Mirren, aired in 2013 and earned him two Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Writing and Outstanding Directing. He was co-creator and executive producer of the CBS television show The Unit and is a founding member of the Atlantic Theater Company.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Tyler Smith on June 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
"Glengarry Glen Ross" shows off to great effect the power of Mamet's language. Some readers may focus on the profanity -- and there is plenty of it -- but the profanity only serves to underscore the overwhelming anger that drives the characters in the play. Mamet's characters are bit players on a stage dominated by cockroach capitalism. It's a world that measures a man's worth solely by his ability to turn a buck, and if he can't do it, he's worthless. The characters know this, and they rail against this knowledge in venom-filled, machine-gun bursts of words.
Beyond the anger, however, the language derives its power from Mamet's much-discussed use of everyday rhythmic patterns of speech. Characters interrupt one another, leave thoughts unsaid, toss out cryptic ideas, and finish one another's sentences. It all sounds and feels absolutely real, and if you've ever tried to do it yourself, you know how difficult it is for a playwright to accomplish it.
In the end, Mamet's play presents a bleak world, yet it's a refreshing antidote to the cheerleading from the press and elsewhere that American business generally enjoys today. Mamet reveals the dark corners of small-time business, the petty jealousies, the insincere work relationships, the undisguised chauvanism, the phony macho posturing, and most of all the clear understanding among all concerned that the only measure of worth is the mark in the ledgerbook that says you made a sale. If most of the characters sound unsatisfied, it's because they are. Selling, the play says, is a hard way to make a living, and it comes at enormous spiritual cost.
I found the play's ending (which I won't give away) a bit unsatisfying and I can imagine that some readers might find the repitition in the dialogue tedious. Still, there is no denying, in my mind, the power of Mamet's vision and his devotion to his technique.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Michael Crane on January 13, 2003
Format: Paperback
David Mamet's 1984 Pulitzer Prize winner "Glengarry Glen Ross" is an electrifying play filled with drama, tragedy, and bitter and sarcastic humor. This is a play that shows you the world of business and just how cold and calculating it can be. It also shows us just how cold and calculating human beings can be as well.
The play is about real estate salesmen who will do just about anything to get a sale. "Always Be Closing" is the motto to follow, however when they don't get the good leads they need, it makes it more difficult for them to close the deals. What's worse is that if they don't pick up the pace, more than one of them will find themselves out of the job. There are the "Glengarry Leads;" the premium leads, but they're reserved for closers only. Things take a dramatic turn when the office is broken into and the leads are nowhere to be found, leading us to a memorable climax.
I read the play after seeing the film. I enjoyed reading it just as much as I enjoyed seeing the movie. There are a few things that were added to the film version in order to make it a full length movie, but all of the important elements and classic lines are all there. Mamet has a great ear for dialogue and writes the way people talk. Sure, some people will think there's a lot of swearing and profanities, but this play is a reflection of the business world. And this is the way people talk. It is amazing how well written and structured it is.
"Glengarry Glen Ross" is a terrific drama and an enjoyable play to read. I recommend it to anyone who loves a great read. You'll have it finished in no time. The pages literally turn by themselves. Dripping with sharp dialogue, memorable characters, and quiet suspense and action, "Glengarry Glen Ross" is an outstanding achievement in American drama. Read this one as soon as you can.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By R. J. Marsella on December 29, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The film version of Mamet's play with Jack Lemmon and Al Pacino is incredible and having recently attended a production of this play in the West End of London I was intrigued by the slight differences between the screenplay and the original. That's what prompted me to purchase the play and read it.
Mamet's language is powerful and the cadences that he writes for his characters really drive the action and reveal truths about their characters in subtle yet absolute ways.
This particlar version has some great introductory material about Mamet's life and work as well as some critical analysis of the play that I found very enlightening. For me this was well worth the special order.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 15, 1999
Format: Paperback
The book is a sadistically dark comedy which made me laugh even though I knew that it was supposed to make me think. Mamet takes a regular setting of everyday men and turns it into a mob-like atmosphere. He sarcastically talks about the capitalistic system, emphasizing on every single perversion of it. The play begins by introducing the reader to the characters, and by establishing their places in society. Just like any other auspicious play Glengarry Glen Ross follows a specific success formula. It contains its favorites, and it's losers. Even though from the begging you can't really decide what's going on, you see by the middle of the play to which you relate best.
After a crime is committed, and a detective is called on the scene, every man is trying to save himself while still trying to make a buck. While trying to revolt against a cruel and hostile boss the characters find themselves in a world that consists of lies and deceit, where cruelty and heartlessness are necessities to survive. I really can not say anything bad about the play. It delivers on its promise providing you with every detail, starting from the charged vulgarity in its dialogue and finishing by the pure business relations that take place in this capitalistic society. It shows men turning their backs on their fathers in law for the good of the company (Levene and Williamson). This play is more then just a sarcastic tribute to the capitalism. It is an attempt to laugh off the dirt of the human kind. Just like little kids who try to laugh when they are scared in order to make it easier to bear the truth, this play was intended for those of us who seem to have lost the faith in the society.
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