Why Are We in Vietnam?
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Why Are We in Vietnam?

3.36 of 5 stars 3.36  ·  rating details  ·  377 ratings  ·  23 reviews
When Why Are We in Vietnam? was published in 1967, almost twenty years after The Naked and the Dead, the critical response was ecstatic. The novel fully confirmed Mailer's stature as one of the most important figures in contemporary American literature. Now, a new edition of this exceptional work serves as further affirmation of its timeless quality.

Narrated by Ranald ("D....more
Paperback, 215 pages
Published August 5th 2000 by Picador (first published January 1st 1967)
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Norman Mailer’s Why are We in Vietnam? is obscene gobbledygook. Characterized as New Journalism, and using as a literary technique an omnipresent stream of consciousness from the perspective of an 18 year old protagonist, a young Texan named DJ. I had to keep reminding myself that when this came out in 1967 it was probably edgy and ...avant-garde. It is not timeless, though its rambling observation on American male ego could be. If one can get past the thick as molasses run on sentences and casu...more
I did not like this book. I thought his stream of consciousness style distracted from the main theme, if in fact there was a main theme. I also think that the cuss words and sexual words also were present for embellishment purposes and thus did not forward the story line. Having said this, I did enjoy the 10% of the book that dealt with man's primal instincts in nature. I enjoyed the description on how man senses are heightened and he truly feels alive when he is in nature and faced with the unk...more
Aussi paradoxal que cela puisse paraître Pourquoi sommes-nous au Vietnam? ne parle pas du Vietnam. En réalité la seule allusion faites au Vietnam se trouve dans les dernières lignes :

"Réfléchis Amérique à tête de cul, et médite un peu sur ton con. Peut-être comprendras-tu pourquoi nous somme au Vietnam."

Comme vous l'avez peut-être deviné, le livre ne mâche pas ses mots. Effectivement Pourquoi sommes nous au Vietnam est l'un des livres les plus violents et les plus glauques que j'ai pu lire dans...more
in a way mailer's stupid books make me love him more than his great ones.
May 31, 2007 Wally rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anti-war peaceniks
You've got to finish the novel to understand its brilliance.
A young man tells about a hunting trip he went on with his father. For me, one interesting thing about the novel is the way that, beneath the Oedipal tensions on the level of the action and in the narrator’s commentary, Mailer represents the generational struggles of the 1960s as a struggle between two concepts of masculinity (many readers may find either or both concepts hyper-masculine). In contrast to the John Wayne traditions of his father, the narrator’s masculinity represents something new...more
This is a tough one. It's about Alaska, which is why I originally picked it up, probably actually when I was (first) living here. But on my first try, I don't think I made it through even 5 pages before giving up. This time, I promised I'd make it at least to the part where they got to Alaska (probably p.45 or so), and by the time I did, I was hooked.

This is a weird book to recommend, because of the... shall we say, EXTREMELY colorful language. It's kind of distracting and hard to read, especial...more

So I was going through my 'how many books by specific authors have you read' list here on GR and I discovered, to my surprise, that Mailer was number 3. It makes sense, I guess, pound for pound, since he did write more than...Saul Bellow, for one. And I've read a lot of his work.

Skimming the list of Mailer stuff, I realized that this wasn't on there. Well now, I'll be damned if I spent good time on this one without having it properly listed, so here it is.

I read it back in high school in the...more
Jodi Lu
Dec 14, 2011 Jodi Lu rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Mailer fans, the poor suckers
I hated this, but I set myself up for a mess and at least it's very short. It's all hideous Mailer masturbation and no orgasm, and if you think THAT'S obscene, you should definitely NOT turn to any page and read any sentence. It was designed as a shocker intro (probably to Armies of the Night, which is actually about Vietnam, and Mailer Himself) and it would've been fine as that - even maybe woven in somehow as a lively tale about how American young Texans (at least) are wholly intolerable in ev...more
Sean-patrick Burke
It's rare that I can read an entire book in a day (4 kids & work & etc) but I did that with this. Firstly, it's not about Vietnam. It's the inner monologue of an eighteen year old Texas hipster who's at a dinner party. He's mostly remembering a hunting trip he took two years earlier. The hunting violence is a kind of educational experience for the narrator (see the last page of the novel for where he's going). It's weird and hippyish and perverted and funny, and it's definitely "of its t...more
Bears a relationship to An American Dream in that both are crafted via clumsy hammer blows, and also in the way that the title acts as a meaningful key to the author's intentions. But this is a grimmer, slimmer novel, and I liked it fine twenty years ago during a period in which I read a shelf of books on Vietnam (starting with Karnow's awesome history and then plowing through literature of the time). But it felt dated and obvious then, closer to the war itself, and I can only assume that now it...more
This book was my first introduction to Monsieur Mailer. His writing reflects the grit and guts of an American original. Mailer was the raconteur par excellence of the outrageous. At turns farcical and absurd this novel gets in your face and stays there. Part parody, part satire and an all out anti-war tour de force it is worth re-reading. Mailer took important chances and pushed his prose to the limit here. It spills off the page. The pacing is full speed ahead non-stop frantic. That along with...more
Zach X. Murphy
Mr. Mailer was as versatile as he was brilliant.
jessica juniper
The title is decieving...this book is not exactly about Vietnem, its about the psychological and sociological repercussions of that war on American society, and the young people faced with the prospect of that war. You have to read the whole thing cover to cover to completely understand it, but once you so your left amazed. My favorite Mailer book.
This book is, I believe, one of Mailer's first using his new style of "journalistic fiction". I read it before I ever went to Vietnam. Of course, it didn't answer the question posited by the title, and that was what I was looking for. That question continued to haunt me throughout my tour in country, and for a long time thereafter.
Richard Epstein
When Mailer was worth reading. I should say that when I recommended it to one of my professors, he read it and said, "But it's just a bad rewrite of 'Huckleberry Finn'."
Excellent sociological and political criticism, this is required reading for scholars of the Sixties.
An interesting story about two young adults from Texas that go on a hunting trip.
Loved this as it really opened my eyes to this time n history.
violent, disturbing, and unquestionably american.
Reread 7/11-7/14/10.
The title is misleading...
Damien Charbonneau
My favorite Mailer
Cheryl marked it as to-read
Jul 05, 2014
Randy marked it as to-read
Jul 02, 2014
Anthony marked it as to-read
Jun 23, 2014
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Norman Kingsley Mailer was an American novelist, journalist, essayist, poet, playwright, screenwriter, and film director.

Along with Truman Capote, Joan Didion, and Tom Wolfe, Mailer is considered an innovator of creative nonfiction, a genre sometimes called New Journalism, but which covers the essay to the nonfiction novel. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize twice and the National Book Award once....more
More about Norman Mailer...
The Naked and the Dead The Executioner's Song An American Dream The Armies of the Night: History as a Novel, the Novel as History The Fight

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