- Paperback: 1136 pages
- Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; Reprint edition (May 8, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 044658438X
- ISBN-13: 978-0446584388
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 2.4 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 253 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #252,721 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Executioner's Song Paperback – May 8, 2012
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About the Author
Norman Mailer was born in 1923 in Long Branch, New Jersey, and grew up in Brooklyn, New York. In 1955, he was one of the co-founders of The Village Voice. He is the author of more than thirty books, including The Naked and the Dead; The Armies of the Night, for which he won a National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize; The Executioner's Song, for which he won his second Pulitzer Prize; Harlot's Ghost; Oswald's Tale; The Gospel According to the Son, The Castle and the Forest and On God. He died in 2007.
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From the beginning this book was not what I expected it to be. Very few books I have read on any event have been so completely documented. The insistence upon giving all sides their voice in regards to Gilmore's latter days and execution is really charming. The dedication of the author to convey the thoughts of every major player involved gives a better view into what people were experiencing at this time.
One area I would liked to have seen more strongly represented is the experience of the victim's survivors. However, the picture is so complete otherwise it seems quite intentionally left out.
I can recommend this book to anyone curious about the effects of the sentence of capitol punishment not only for the criminal, but also for their family, friends and lovers. Included as well are the litigators and reporters that eventually become involved.
Read it if you are interested in the evolution of the criminial mind and the process by which legal action can hinder and (rarely) advance higher social order in a flawed legal system.
The book is logically constructed focusing on Gary Gilmore and his life in the beginning then slowly shifts towards others with the ominous day of his execution approaching. It centers on his relationships made before the crime and after while always seemingly keeping an unbiased stance. What Mailer does such a good job of doing while constructing this narrative is incorporating all the other characters involved in Gary Gilmore; it was about his family, media, law enforcement, the Supreme Court, ACLU, and other agencies. The second half of this book is dictated by these people and organizations trying to be aapart of Gary's life and the decision that will either keep him alive or kill him.
The most interesting aspect of the novel is that Gary Gilmore wanted to be executed. He continuously tells Utah to carry out what they sentenced and stop putting of his execution date. This is quite a twist that makes Gilmore even more of an interesting character. The events of his life seem to have captured the whole country and he couldn't care less about them getting involved and pleads to be killed
This novel is the true definition of an epic; it has a large scope that encapsulates probably everything that surrounded these events. It is a testament to Mailer's ability to research and construct such a powerful narrative to tell a harrowing story.