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Miami and the Siege of Chicago (New York Review Books Classics) Paperback – July 15, 2008
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"Don't skim...if you dash your way through 'Miami and the Siege of Chicago,' Mailer's masterful account of the upheaval that occurred 40 years ago when Republicans and Democrats met in those two cities, there to select their presidential nominees, you'll miss a lot. First published in 1968, and reissued earlier this month by New York Review Books, Mailer's report glows with descriptions of the people and the places whose permanent identities were forged in the hot furnace of that tragic, fateful year. To understand 1968, you must read Mailer..." --Chicago Tribune
"Our Democratic primaries are run the way they are now mainly because of the way they were run then...The almost-closing line of the book is the prediction that Mailer wishes he had made to Eugene McCarthy’s daughter: 'Dear Miss, we will be fighting for forty years.' He got that right, among many other things." --Christopher Hitchens, The Atlantic
"The nostalgic or the curious can seek out Norman Mailer's Miami and the Siege of Chicago...which analyzed events inside and beyond the convention hall with its author's characteristic, and in this case perfectly appropriate, blend of intellectual grandiosity and journalistic acumen." --A. O. Scott, The New York Times
One "of the era's definitional books." --The Nation
"Wrong as often as he was right, Mailer seems so brave precisely because he was so ready to risk looking foolish. In Miami and the Siege of Chicago, which he wrote on assignment for Harper's, Mailer was not only perfectly attuned to the moment but prescient." --The Boston Phoenix
"Dazzling accounts of the Republican and Democratic party conventions of 1968..."--Newsday
"For historians who wish for the presence of a world-class literary witness at crucial
moments in history, Mailer in Miami and Chicago was heaven-sent." -The Washington
"This is an excellent account of the conventions...Mailer sets the scene sensually like Dickens...his vignettes have imperial authority." -The New York Times Book Review
A "triumphantly vivid work of journalism." -Book World
"A political classic" -The Boston Globe
"This is Mailer's classic account of the Democratic and Republican conventions of
1968. It is an insightful portrayal of the politicians and the turbulent time." -United Press International
"A tense balance between social and literary observation which often reads like a good, old-fashioned novel in which suspense, character, plot revelations, and pungently describable action abound...The peculiar power of these books comes not from the fact that Mailer offers us better writing than that to which we are generally accustomed in politics, but, rather, from the uncanny way in which he has managed to maintain in these works the stylistic play and form of the most complex literary fiction." -The New York Review of Books (reviewed with The Armies of the Night)
About the Author
Frank Rich is a columnist for The New York Times. His latest book is The Greatest Story Ever Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth from 9/11 to Katrina.
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
For anybody interested in this side of American history, this book is a must. The part on Nixon being elected in Miami is the weakest part--read it quickly. The real beef lies in the second part on the Democrat convention in Chicago. You'll get shocks, laughs, everything you've come to expect from Norman Mailer.
Little-known facts: Mayor Daley was secretly anti-Vietnam (he had draft-age sons) and almost certainly would have supported peace candidate Bobby Kennedy had the latter not died. Ironically, Humphrey was one of the few in LBJ's White House who didn't like the military build up in Vietnam. Only one person died in the Chicago street mayhem, while several died in Miami ghetto rioting during the GOP convention - but the media never televised the Miami mayhem. Finally, the demonstrators in Chicago helped elect Nixon, thus getting a President far more pro-Vietnam than Humphrey.
Nevertheless, Miami and the Siege of Chicago make for fascinating reading, if only to get Mailer’s views of the major figures: Nixon, Ronald Reagan (then the GOP rising star governor of California who briefly challenged Nixon for the nomination), Eugene McCarthy and Humphrey. George McGovern makes an early impression in leading a doomed anti-Humphrey movement.
Mailer also comes off as a fairly reliable source on the events he saw in Chicago, which makes this an essential work of history about those tumultuous days in August 1968 in the Windy City. There are also a few fascinating asides about tangential topics, such as the Chicago stockyards and how the slaughterhouses at the time operated. Not for the faint of heart or the irredeemably carnivorous…
It is true the police in Chicago had to restore some order in spots but those kids were not there to light the city on fire or anything. What Mailer should have focused on was at the time, what a mess the democratic party was and how it was still reeling from the loss of JFK and then RFK.
I gave it three stars because it is so descriptive.
But if you are looking for a balanced view, don't count on it from Mailer.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great piece of sustained writing with mailer at once vulnerable boorish and profound, sometimes all in the same sentence. Amazing.Published 6 months ago by R. Herz
Mailer had a go at Gonzo journalism, while covering the 1968 presidential primary conventions of both parties. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Jeffrey Robert Norman
The establishment and the counter culture clash in a momentous time. Neither will be the same again. A literary review of history with personal experience added. Read morePublished on January 21, 2014 by Chicago Pete
I selected this book because I teach an American non-fiction course at a university. This is one of the four texts. Read morePublished on December 24, 2013 by Liz Kazmer
Amazing piece of writing. He puts you right there at the conventions and all of the turmoil surrounding them. As 1968 was an extraordinary year, this is an extraordinary work.Published on September 21, 2012 by M. B. Greene
Mailer is amazing. His hybrid novel/historical account method works spectacularly here. It seems he learned from his earlier foray into this style of work, "Armies of the Night,"... Read morePublished on December 26, 2009 by Chris
We've all heard the remark used too often to describe an egocentric's prerogative to
to be self-consumed and reticent to acknowledge the rights and opinions of fellow... Read more