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Norman Mailer (1923)

American writer, born in Long Branch, New Jersey. After graduating in Harvard, he served in the army during World War II and at the age of 25 published The Naked and the Dead (1948), one of the most significant novels to emerge from the war. His next 2 novels, Barbary Shore (1951) and The Deer Park (1955), were generally considered failures, and he turned to journalism. He returned to the novel with An American Dream (1965), an exploration of sex, violence, and death in America through the experiences of his semiautobiographical protagonist, and Why Are We in Vietnam? (1967), which was nominated for a National Book Award. With  The Armies of the Night (1968) which won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award and brought Mailer both popular and critical acclaim, and Miami and the Siege of Chicago (1968), which won a National Book Award for nonfiction. In The Armies of the Night he used the techniques of a novel to explore an October 1967 anti-Vietnam march on the Pentagon, a protest during which he was arrested.
Other books are: Of a Fire on the Moon (1971), a book on the Apollo II moon landing; The Prisoner of Sex (1971), an essay in response to the women's liberation movement; Marilyn (1973), a novel biography of Marilyn Monroe; The Fight (1976), a book-length description of the Muhammad Ali-George Foreman fight in Zaire, The Executioner's Song (1979), on the life and execution of Gary Gilmore.
He also has written "interpretive biographies", Oswald's Tale (1995), a study of the life of President Kennedy's assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, and Portrait of Picasso as a Young Man (1995), on the youth of Pablo Picasso.
Several recent novels have been long and intricate: Ancient Evenings (1983) is set in pharaonic Egypt; Harlot's Ghost (1991) is a complex cold-war spy novel. A shorter detective novel, Tough Guys Don't Dance (1984), was made into a film in 1985. Among his other works are The White Negro (1958), Advertisements for Myself (1959).
In addition to his books, Mailer also has written, produced, directed and acted in several films. Wild 90 (1967), which Mailer produced and directed was an adaptation of his book The Deer Park. His second film, Beyond the Law (1968) received positive reviews but did not draw audiences, and his third film, Maidstone (1971), based on The Armies of the Night received mixed reviews. He returned to the cinema to write a screenplay for his murder mystery novel of the same name, Tough Guys Don't Dance and to direct it himself. This film was well received at the 1987 Cannes film festival. Mailer also wrote the script for the film version of The Executioner's Song.
Harlot's Ghost was published in the fall of 1991. It is a work of epic proportion and ambition about the people and the plottings of the C.I.A. during the crucial decades of the "American Century."

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