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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
I know this one the Pulizer and all, but I really found it hard to get through. I didn't care about any of the characters and it's difficult for me to read a book when that's the... Read morePublished 6 days ago by Leigh
I can handle long books, but this was just too long. A lot of unnecessary content/info about characters in this event that no one really cares about. Read morePublished 17 days ago by Molly O'Neil
Best book Iv read in a really long time.So easy to get throughPublished 1 month ago by Kim marchment
Slow at times, but there is a method to the madness. It is thorough. I am an avid reader, but I typically only read for pleasure. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Maxwell Higgins
This book, by far, is one of the best literary works I have ever read. This book is so amazing I couldn't put it down even though it was well over 1000 pages. Read morePublished 2 months ago by M. Cunningham
I highly recommend that before you read this book chase up "Shot in the Heart" by Mikal Gilmore, Gary's brother. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Dudley Ristow
This is the third time I've read this book over the years, and it's hand's down one of the BEST books I've ever read. Read morePublished 3 months ago by V. Haberman
I was bored nearly to tears. And I so wanted to like this, because I had heard over and over what a great book it was.Published 3 months ago by Rebecca Widder
Riveting. Although I always knew the final outcome, I kept on reading. Norman mailer writing skills gave me a clear insight into how a murderer feels when there is nothing to live... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Michael Rossi