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Norman Mailer was the one of the most famous writers of his generation, a figure as notorious for his stormy romances and quarrels with other writers as he was respected for his numerous bestsellers and literary accolades. In this candid biography, J. Michael Lennon brings a wealth of research informed by his years of personal acquaintance with Mailer, as well as the cooperation of Mailer's family, to reveal the life and work of an American legend.
In a career that produced eleven bestsellers, Mailer lived through every great postwar event of the twentieth century and commented on many of them. From his initial success with his World War II novel The Naked and the Dead, through his observations on the convulsive 1960s in the Pulitzer Prize-winning Armies of the Night, to his own quixotic run for mayor of New York City, his life was a reflection of the turbulent times in which he lived. A man of sharp complexities, he was loved and loathed, the most prominent public intellectual of his time, at once an outspoken critic of the Vietnam War and the bête noir of the women's rights movement. Lennon explores Mailer's dualities: journalist and activist, devoted family man (he was married six times and was the father of nine children) and notorious philanderer, intellectual and fighter, writer and public figure, all of them evolving through Mailer's self-conscious effort to create a distinctive identity for himself.
Capturing this protean life as never before, Norman Mailer: A Double Life gives us the man in full—a remarkable and unique figure, a giant in the context of his time.