Patrick's Reviews > The Naked And The Dead

The Naked And The Dead by Norman Mailer
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's review
Aug 02, 2007

really liked it

This is an amazing book considering it was the author's first published novel. All the more amazing considering Mailer was something like 20 years old when he wrote it. I picked it up after reading somewhere that Mailer actually joined the military during WWII in order to gain some life experience so he could write a book. I really enjoyed Mailer's writing style. It was vivid, alive and gritty.

Mailer describes the jungle in perfect detail. You can almost feel yourself being smothered by the dense foliage and overpowering humidity. Add to this the atmosphere of fear and anxiety that Mailer so deftly creates and you've got a great war novel. Some of the flashbacks can become a little drawn out and at times it is a little hard to keep track of who's who due to the large number of characters. I love the fact that there is no hero or character who can be seen as the good guy. Mailer exposes each characters hang ups and dysfunctions and simply shows how each functions under the stress of combat and military life in general. I can see why this book was so controversial when it came out in the 50's (cussing, graphic violence, sexuality, homo-eroticism, etc.). This must have been a wake up call for a lot of people who were used to the sanitized John Wayne style stories of heroism and clear cut moral divides. Good stuff.
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05/04/2016 marked as: read

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