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The Executioner's Song Paperback – International Edition, April 28, 1998
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Top Customer Reviews
This is one of the feww 1,000+ page books that left me wanting more when it was over. Mailer had access to virtually everyone necessary to pull off this monumental undertaking. The narrative is basically stripped of needless frills and the author's opinions are held in check beautifully when you consider the inflammatory nature of the subject matter. Mailer also does an admirable job of allowing Gilmore's victims to appear as human beings, not merely as props used by Gilmore to achieve immortality and release.
This book has the potential to spark debate on a variety of newsworthy issues, such as prison reform, victim's rights, incarceration vs. education, the death penalty as a deterrent, right to die, etc.. Gilmore's case was remarkable in regard to American Justice as we now know it. Gilmore himself was a complex and fascinating individual with underdeveloped emotional control and virtually no social skills to speak of. He developed into adulthood in legal institutions and was woefully unprepared for life outside prison walls.
Mailer does not flinch or miss a single beat.Read more ›
Having had no contact with Gary Gilmore himself, Mailer maintains a reporter's distance, ultimately portraying Gilmore as a loser who got his "education" in the prison system in which he spent half his life, and turning him into a symbol of the sociopath for whom society has found no answer except the death penalty. The novel divides naturally into several sections: the gruesome crimes themselves, including Gilmore's mindset at the time, his background, and the effect of the crimes on his family and friends; the pre-trial maneuvering and the trial itself; the conviction and post-conviction appeals; and Gilmore's execution and its aftermath.
Gilmore is not presented sympathetically, though Mailer goes to great lengths to portray him accurately. Gilmore's unusually high IQ, his poetic letters to his girlfriend Nicole, and his admission of guilt and desire to pay for his crimes with his own death create a unique picture of someone who had both intelligence and a kind of honor. But neither Gilmore nor the psychologists could ever explain why he did what he did. One moment Gilmore says, "I don't know what the hell I'm doing," and another moment he says, "I've always had a choice.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The best part is the introduction by Dave Eggers, which prepares the reader for this long slough. The writing is original and inventive, but too graphic and detailed for my... Read morePublished 25 days ago by Chrys
This book is on my top ten list of all-time favorites. It's a must-read.Published 28 days ago by Michelle Bruty
Okay I know this one won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. But anyone who has read it can clearly see it is NOT a novel. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Briandlee
This 1,000 page plus saga should have been perhaps 500.
Too much wasted real estate on redundant letters and the complexities of rights to the story. Read more
The book is both interesting and informative. But I think the story leading to the execution would have been edited and reduced to fewer pages to captivate the reader. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Joseph Kiambuthi
only just began reading it. it is a story which he says was inspired by God.Published 4 months ago by Ruth Campbell
Excellent character driven recounting, never seeming unfair or rushed and judgemental. There are quite a few threads in the book, and while different parts are themselves... Read morePublished 4 months ago by A. Backer