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The Naked and the Dead

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Based on Mailer's own experience of military service in the Philippines during World War Two, The Naked and the Dead' is a graphically truthful and shattering portrayal of ordinary men in battle. First published in 1949, as America was still basking in the glories of the Allied victory, it altered forever the popular perception of warfare. Focusing on the experiences of a f Based on Mailer's own experience of military service in the Philippines during World War Two, The Naked and the Dead' is a graphically truthful and shattering portrayal of ordinary men in battle. First published in 1949, as America was still basking in the glories of the Allied victory, it altered forever the popular perception of warfare. Focusing on the experiences of a fourteen-man platoon stationed on a Japanese-held island in the South Pacific during World War II, and written in a journalistic style, it tells the moving story of the soldiers' struggle to retain a sense of dignity amidst the horror of warfare, and to find a source of meaning in their lives amisdst the sounds and fury of battle.


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Based on Mailer's own experience of military service in the Philippines during World War Two, The Naked and the Dead' is a graphically truthful and shattering portrayal of ordinary men in battle. First published in 1949, as America was still basking in the glories of the Allied victory, it altered forever the popular perception of warfare. Focusing on the experiences of a f Based on Mailer's own experience of military service in the Philippines during World War Two, The Naked and the Dead' is a graphically truthful and shattering portrayal of ordinary men in battle. First published in 1949, as America was still basking in the glories of the Allied victory, it altered forever the popular perception of warfare. Focusing on the experiences of a fourteen-man platoon stationed on a Japanese-held island in the South Pacific during World War II, and written in a journalistic style, it tells the moving story of the soldiers' struggle to retain a sense of dignity amidst the horror of warfare, and to find a source of meaning in their lives amisdst the sounds and fury of battle.

30 review for The Naked and the Dead

  1. 4 out of 5

    Vit Babenco

    The Naked and the Dead is Norman Mailer’s best novel and it is the best American book about war. The General had once said to him, ‘I like chaos, it's like the reagents foaming in the beaker before the precipitation of the crystals. It's a kind of savory to me.’ To generals war is a theatre and a battlefield is a stage so they can admire the scenes of bloodbath from afar. The Naked and the Dead is a merciless and extremely graphic novel but what the hell, war knows no shame and no pity. Now that th The Naked and the Dead is Norman Mailer’s best novel and it is the best American book about war. The General had once said to him, ‘I like chaos, it's like the reagents foaming in the beaker before the precipitation of the crystals. It's a kind of savory to me.’ To generals war is a theatre and a battlefield is a stage so they can admire the scenes of bloodbath from afar. The Naked and the Dead is a merciless and extremely graphic novel but what the hell, war knows no shame and no pity. Now that the truth in literature has been replaced with political correctness truthful books are rarely read. All the deep dark urges of man, the sacrifices on the hilltop, and the churning lusts of the night and sleep, weren't all of them contained in the shattering screaming burst of a shell, the man-made thunder and light? He did not think these things coherently, but traces of them, their emotional equivalents, pictures and sensations, moved him into a state of acute sensitivity. He felt cleaned in an acid bath, and all of him, even his fingertips, was prepared to grasp the knowledge behind all this. War bares all human fears and shows human beings as they are. War turns man naked then it turns man dead…

  2. 4 out of 5

    Paul Bryant

    Us readers have no homes, like unnoticed birds we perch anywhere, like the most disturbed stalkers we go through anybody’s underwear drawer, like vicious tax-gatherers we audit everyone, the writers especially, their creatures the characters very particularly, and hanging between all three of us, the book. It sits there in its cover. We ticket, we note, we award, with our eyes, brains and stars. We scribble in the margins to the outrage of future readers – well, I do, maybe you do not do that. ( Us readers have no homes, like unnoticed birds we perch anywhere, like the most disturbed stalkers we go through anybody’s underwear drawer, like vicious tax-gatherers we audit everyone, the writers especially, their creatures the characters very particularly, and hanging between all three of us, the book. It sits there in its cover. We ticket, we note, we award, with our eyes, brains and stars. We scribble in the margins to the outrage of future readers – well, I do, maybe you do not do that. (I never mind if someone has previously done that.) So I have looked out of Humbert Humbert’s paedophiliac eyes, I overheard the good man Jesus and the scoundrel Christ, I declined and fell with Paul Pennyfeather and I closely observed Molly Bloom in her bed for at least three hours, she didn’t notice a thing. It was like I wasn’t there. With Jeanette Winterson I too grew up in a crazy Christian cult, and like others before me I could not stop Merricat Blackwood from her pyromania whatever I did. Well, you could all say similar things. Our acceptance of the thousand varieties of human beingness is almost limitless. We are promiscuity itself. The Naked and the Dead is not really about World War Two, or about war in general, it’s about looking through the eyes of men, a whole bunch of them, sleeping with them, eating with them, drinking, pissing and fighting with them. In this novel, the thing to have is a penis. The testosterone floweth through this novel as doth the Ganges through India. And… I just couldn’t do it. I didn’t want to go through all this painful stuff with a bunch of assorted blokes constantly eating, farting, sleeping, waking, yakking, being blown up or not, writing letters, bragging, playing poker, theorising banally about women and on. And on. Because there are a thousand characters, Mailer provides each with a description round the time they are introduced. Such as: He was a little over medium height, well fleshed, with a rather handsome sun-tanned face and graying hair. His expression when he smiled was very close to the ruddy, complacent and hard appearance of any number of American senators and businessmen, but the tough good-guy aura never quite remained. There was a certain vacancy in his face, like the vacancy of actors who play American congressmen. Well, after several descriptions like this everything blurs together and you realise why Catch-22 works so well because in that war novel everyone is a cartoon, no painful attempt at ultra-realistic detail at all, so Milo Minderbinder, Major Major, Colonel Korn and the rest remain intact in the memory years later. But really, me trying to read N&D was doomed to failure. It could have been a good one, I guess, you never know until you try, heck I’ve liked some funny things in my time. But the signs were not good : 1) I am ferociously biased against novels written by 24 year olds and any novels written by anyone under 30. (Writing novels is like the opposite of pop music). Evelyn Waugh has squeaked by (Decline and Fall) and I guess you have to give Mary Shelley the nod too, then there’s Dickens of course….ok, ok, MOSTLY I don’t think people under 30 can write a good novel. Norman Mailer is no Mary Shelley, and he would have been the first to admit that. 2) I hate war stories – Hamburger Hill, Platoon, From Here to Eternity, I avoid them all. I did watch Apocalypse Now and Saving Private Ryan and The Thin Red Line and like, that’s enough. 3) I thought I should read this because I was reading Norman Mailer’s biography which is VERY ENTERTAINING but I just always wanted to be finding out what happened to NORMAN next not the boys in the jungles of Anopopei. I can tell this is really a heck of an accomplishment, he commands his material fearlessly, ther’s no holding back, he’s a right know-it-all, and somebody needed to do a big honest novel about men in WW2 which could be set beside the big thumpers from WW1 (there won’t be any great novels coming out of WW3). So, for me this was a 2 star experience from a 4 star novel, abandoned a little shamefacedly but with relief.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    “Nobody could sleep. When morning came, assault craft would be lowered and a first wave of troops would ride through the surf and charge ashore on the beach at Anopopei. All over the ship, all through the convoy, there was a knowledge that in a few hours some of them were going to be dead…” - Norman Mailer, The Naked and the Dead Norman Mailer's The Naked and the Dead is War and Peace as written by Larry David. It has all the Tolstoyean hallmarks: dozens of main characters; an ever-shifting third- “Nobody could sleep. When morning came, assault craft would be lowered and a first wave of troops would ride through the surf and charge ashore on the beach at Anopopei. All over the ship, all through the convoy, there was a knowledge that in a few hours some of them were going to be dead…” - Norman Mailer, The Naked and the Dead Norman Mailer's The Naked and the Dead is War and Peace as written by Larry David. It has all the Tolstoyean hallmarks: dozens of main characters; an ever-shifting third-person point of view; lengthy, turgid digressions on History, Philosophy; and an ending that fizzles rather than explodes. It also has a thoroughly misanthropic point of view, resembling nothing so much as an episode of Seinfeld set during the Pacific War. The characters are all hateful, spiteful, little men. None of them are likable. Nothing really happens. There is no great set piece battle, which you might expect when reading a war novel (the war novel, according to the cover). And the ending devolves quickly from black comedy to farce, with the hateful, spiteful, little characters left utterly unredeemed. Mailer's ultimate disgust for his creations is utterly brimming on the last few pages. The Naked and the Dead takes place on the fictional island of Anopopei. The main characters are the men of an Intelligence and Reconnaissance (I&R) platoon: Lieutenant Hearn, Sgt. Croft, Sgt. Brown, and your typical ethnic and cultural grab bag of enlisted men: Goldstein and Roth (the Jews); Martinez (the Mexican); Wilson (the redneck). At the beginning of the novel, I was actually impressed with the depth of these characters. Though some (most?) of them are archetypes of the genre, Mailer gets really deep into their psyche. You literally are privy to all their thoughts (which are often petty, self-absorbed, and relatable). Then, after a while, I realized that all the characters were having these same thoughts. And all of them exhibited the same disgust for their fellow man, while outwardly attempting to conform to the expectations of society. Pretty soon, the characters started to meld into one, and all I knew was that they were all pretty much assholes. I had to recall the one thing that set each guy apart: Red had bad kidneys; Gallagher had the pregnant wife; Stanley was a brown-noser. (A note on likability in fiction: I don’t think a character has to be – or should be – flawless and angelic. To the contrary, plenty of authors have developed irresistible villains and antiheroes. What I need, at a certain point, is some indication that I should care what happens to the people I’m following. This is especially true in a big fat war novel, where I’m being asked to accompany a platoon into danger). Only three men stood out: General Cummings, because he was a general; Lt. Hearn, who was Cummings's foil, and engages in a series of Important Discussions™ with the general; and Sgt. Croft, the psychopath. Of the three, only Croft is really memorable. He is as unlikable as the rest; even more so. Yet his awfulness at least elevates him to an over-the-top antagonist. (Croft was ably embodied by Aldo Ray in the film version). For instance, in one unforgettable scene, Croft gives a Japanese prisoner a cigarette, then blows him away: Croft felt his head pulsing with an intense excitement. There were tears in the prisoner's eyes again, and Croft looked at them dispassionately. He gazed once about the little draw, and watched a fly crawl over the mouth of one of the corpses. The prisoner had taken a deep puff and was leaning back now against the trunk of the tree. His eyes had closed, and for the first time there was a dreamy expression on his face. Croft felt a bitter tension work itself into his throat and leave his mouth dry and bitter and demanding. His mind had been entirely empty until now, but abruptly he brought up his rifle and pointed it at the prisoner's head...The prisoner did not have time to change his expression before the shot crashed into his skull. He slumped forward, and then rolled on his side. He was still smiling but looked silly now. I suppose that the reality of military service - as in life itself - is that there are moments of boredom, moments when there isn't a lot going on, or you're just waiting for something to happen. It's tough to make this work in a novel, though Herman Wouk proved you can do it, in The Caine Mutiny. Still, when you read fiction, it's typically for reasons other than a strictly faithful recreation of reality. You want something to happen. In a war novel, that generally means a position to storm, or a hill to defend, or some other clash of arms. Mailer, being Mailer, decides to ignore this imperative. For the first 400 pages or so, the book just meanders forward, with the men of I&R sitting around, grousing to each other, and generally being insufferable. There is a brief skirmish at the river, which is really sort of distracting, owing to Mailer's gross over use of onomatopoeia. For several pages, my copy of The Naked and the Dead looked like an old Batman cartoon. POW! BANG! ZOOP! Finally, the I&R platoon is given a scouting mission. They are sent around to the back of the island and told to gather intelligence on the Japanese. They run into trouble. One man is killed and another wounded. The squad splits, half the men taking the wounded man back, the other half plunging forward. Suddenly, there is conflict, there is forward progress...and then? Well, details behind the tag: (view spoiler)[ Inexplicably, the farce begins. After hundreds of pages of struggle and toil, the platoon is sent running after it stumbles into a bee hive. Later, the finale focuses on Major Dalleson's attempt to get a Betty Grable pinup for a map-reading course. I acknowledge that some may find this amusing as satire. Not me. It felt like Mailer was having a laugh at my expense. (hide spoiler)] Whether or not you viewed the spoiler, suffice to say the ending was an irritant, especially as it comes after hundreds, and hundreds, and hundreds of pages that seem to promise bigger things. You will not be surprised, if you've ever spent time with Norma Mailer, to find that this abounds in literary affectations, notably "The Time Machine" and the "Chorus." The Time Machine is a flashback device. Some of them were okay, especially Croft's. Most of them, however, do little to illuminate the characters. Moreover, they are often painfully hard to read, since they are written in the idiom of the stunted character at the center of the flashback. The Chorus sections are just plain showing off. They are presented as a play, dialogue only, and touch on a certain topic chosen by Mailer, such as what the soldiers are going to do when they get home. (Aside on language: The Naked and the Dead infamously uses fug for the more colorful, the more elegant, the more realistic f**k. Apparently, this was self-imposed censorship, suggested by the publishers. This is a distracting bit of sanitation that certainly depresses the verisimilitude. It is also a bit offensive, considering that we'd just finished incinerating 100,000 Japanese men, women, and children in Tokyo, then topped that by shadow-blasting 100,000 more with nuclear weapons. Despite ushering in the Atomic Age, and bringing peace through fire, America – at least in the view of Holt, Rinehart, and Winston – thought we had some innocence to protect). This was my first Mailer. Returning to this after having read several other of his books, I think I probably appreciate this a bit more, even if only in my memory. The thing about Mailer is that he was gifted with a towering talent, without a corresponding drop of humility. He could not help but flaunt his skills, to be too clever by half. He’s the guy who can write a thousand pages about a witless thug like Gary Gilmore (in The Executioner’s Song) and convince you – if only momentarily – that the man is a folk hero. There are some beautiful passages in The Naked and the Dead, and some wonderfully memorably scenes. There are two deaths, for instance, that really stuck in my mind. There were also a dozen moments that insisted upon themselves, almost screaming Look at me! I’m literature! Up top, I mentioned how this was a war novel about nothing. Really, though, like everything that Mailer wrote, it was sort of about him.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    The Naked and the Dead, Norman Mailer Written in gritty, journalistic detail, the story follows an army platoon of foot soldiers who are fighting for the possession of the Japanese-held island of Anopopei. Composed in 1948, The Naked and the Dead is representative of the best in twentieth-century American writing. The novel is divided into four parts: Wave, Argil and Mold, Plant and Phantom, and Wake. Within these parts are chorus sections, consisting of play-like dialogue between characters, as w The Naked and the Dead, Norman Mailer Written in gritty, journalistic detail, the story follows an army platoon of foot soldiers who are fighting for the possession of the Japanese-held island of Anopopei. Composed in 1948, The Naked and the Dead is representative of the best in twentieth-century American writing. The novel is divided into four parts: Wave, Argil and Mold, Plant and Phantom, and Wake. Within these parts are chorus sections, consisting of play-like dialogue between characters, as well as Time Machine sections, which give brief histories and flashbacks of individual characters’ lives. The story takes place on Anopopei, a fictional island somewhere in the South Pacific. American forces are faced with a campaign to drive out the Japanese so that Americans can advance into the Philippines. The novel focuses on the experiences of one platoon. Part One, Wave Characters are introduced as they wait around for orders. A naval bombardment takes place. The men take their places on a boat and are driven to the invasion shore. Here, they fire back and forth at the Japanese. Hennessey becomes so frightened that he soils in his pants. Overcome by panic, he runs out of his foxhole and is killed by a grenade. Part One concludes with this death, which alarms many of the men, since for many soldiers Hennessey’s death is the first comrade death they witness. Part Two, Argil and Mold The campaign continues. General Cummings has a soft spot for Lieutenant Hearn, the only officer he can relate to intellectually; they have many discussions together. At one point, the platoon takes a Japanese soldier as prisoner. When Gallagher gives the Japanese soldier a cigarette to smoke, the soldier closes his eyes in relaxation. At this moment, Croft shoots and kills him, demonstrating his coldblooded personality. Later, Gallagher receives word that his wife, Mary, died in childbirth. Although Gallagher’s child survived, he is overcome by immense grief throughout the rest of the novel. Part Three, Plant and Phantom Hearn is assigned by Cummings to lead the platoon through the jungle and up Mountain Anaka, to find a way to the rear of the enemy. After a clash with the Japanese, Wilson is shot and left behind. Croft sends men back to get Wilson. Brown, Stanley, Goldstein, and Ridges then carry Wilson back to the beach on a stretcher. The trip takes several days, and Wilson ends up dying. The men eventually lose Wilson’s body in a river. Croft manipulates Hearn into walking into an ambush, and Hearn is killed, leaving Croft in charge. The men continue hiking up the mountain on Croft’s orders, even though many men view it as a hopeless cause. Later, Roth dies while attempting to make a jump on the mountain’s edge. Trudging on, the men eventually give up their task of climbing the mountain. They return to the beach where Brown, Stanley, Goldstein, and Ridges have arrived from their mission with Wilson. They learn that the battle for the island is almost won. Surprisingly, the ruthless Croft seems to be relieved that he was unable to climb the mountain. At the end of Part Three, the remaining men discuss their future and how it will feel when they return home now that their mission is over. Part Four, Wake This part consists of one short chapter. Cummings reflects on the war. He is disappointed that the victory was too easy (it came as a result of exhaustion of Japanese troops) and that he cannot take the credit, as Major Dalleson, who acted as his deputy for a day, won the battle just by obeying established procedures. Major Dalleson then wonders about the new training program that will take place with new troops the next day. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: سال 1985 میلادی عنوان: ب‍ره‍ن‍ه‌ه‍ا و م‍رده‌ه‍ا؛ نویسنده: ن‍ورم‍ن‌ م‍ی‍ل‍ر؛ مت‍رج‍م س‍ع‍ی‍د ب‍اس‍ت‍ان‍ی‌؛ تهران، نیلوفر، 1362، در دو جلد؛ چاپ دوم 1384؛ در 846ص؛ شابک 9644482603؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان ایالات متحده امریکا - سده 20م رمان «برهنه ها و مرده ها»، یکی از نخستین، و جریانسازترین نگاره های «نورمن میلر» آمریکایی ست.؛ رمانی که ایشان در بیست و پنج سالگی خویش بنوشتند؛ و روشنایی از جهان بینی، و اسلوب اندیشه ی خویش را، نسبت به مفهوم «انسان آمریکایی»، و «جنگ آمریکایی»، برملا کردند.؛ این رمان، در عین حال، تنها اثر مهم این نویسنده ی روانشاد است، که به فارسی ترجمه شده است.؛ «برهنه ها و مرده ها» نخستین بار در سال 1948میلادی به بازار آمد، تنها کمی پس از پایان جنگ دوم جهانی، و به یکی از مهمترین رمانهای جنگی نیمه ی دوم سده بیستم میلادی بدل شد؛ «میلر» در طول عمر دراز خویش، آثاری نوشتند، که هنوز هم در میان آنها، «برهنه ها و مرده ها»، یکی از جدیترین، و پر خوانشگرترین، و تاثیرگذارترینها به شمار میآید رمان «برهنه‌ها و مرده‌ها»، روایت سربازان یک گروهان آمریکایی، در جنگ جهانی دوم است.؛ گروهانی که در یک جزیره ی ژاپنی، پیاده شده، و در حال جنگیدن، برای تصرف آنجاست.؛ در یک فرآیند داستانی، این گروهان موظف می‌شود، با دور زدن جزیره، به شناسایی خطوط دشمن پرداخته، و ورق نبرد فرسایشی آنجا را، به سود نیروهای آمریکایی برگرداند...؛ گروهان، از سربازان، و درجه‌ دارانی تشکیل شده، که بیشترشان از نظر فرهنگی، فکری، و زیستی، بسیار با هم تفاوت دارند، و در طول رمان، خوانشگر، با فلاش‌بک‌های نوآورانه ی «میلر»، برای شناختن گذشته‌ ی آنها روبرو می‌شود.؛ در عین حال، فرماندهی لشکر نیز، با تیمساری تندرو، و نظریه‌ پرداز، به نام «کافیگز» است.؛ «برهنه‌ها و مرده‌ها» برای خشونت، و ساختن تصاویر بیمانند، و از همه مهم‌تر، توانایی در ارائه ی روابطی پریشان، و پر از تناقض‌، میان شخصیت‌های اصلی‌ترش، به رمانی درخشان تبدیل شده است، هر چند، رمان با نگاه امروزین، کمی «پرگو» ست، و در پاره‌ ای اوقات، بیش از حد استعاری، به نظر می‌رسد، اما رئالیسم نابی که «میلر» دغدغه ی ساختن و پرداختن به آنرا داشته، باعث شده تا رمان، قابلیت‌‌های روایی در ژانر خود به دست آورد...؛ با نگاهی جریان‌ شناسانه، باید «برهنه‌ها‌ و مرده‌ها» را، اثری دانست، که با فاصله ی نسبتا کوتاهی از پایان جنگ، نسبت به «بقایای» آن، واکنش نشان می‌دهد.؛ در دوره‌ ای که میلیتاریسم آمریکایی، در شرق دور پیروز شده، و انسان آمریکایی، علاوه بر آنکه، اروپا را تسخیر کرده، این پیروزی را هم داشته، که همچون پتشیبانان اخلاق و مذهب، هم در برابر کمونیسم قد علم کند، و هم نقش برادر دلسوز را، برای جهانیان خسته از جنگ، بازی کند.؛ در این فضا، آمریکایی که، تنها نزدیک به سه دهه، از رکود اقتصادی هولناکش را، پشت سر گذاشته، می‌تواند به قدرت اول اقتصادی تبدیل شده، و در عین حال برای مقابله با جذابیت‌های چپ‌گرایی، نوعی کاپیتالیسم مذهبی را، به جهانیان پیشنهاد کند رمان «نورمن میلر»، در چنین فضایی، و در دوره‌ ای که «باید سختی‌های جنگ را فراموش کرد»، نوشته می‌شود.؛ پس با توجه به این وضعیت، «میلر» در عین اینکه دلخوشی از استالینیسم نداشته، و برعکس برخی نویسندگان آمریکایی، همانند «جان اشتین‌بک»، او نیز، چندان دلبستگی ایدئولوژیکی، به آرمان‌های چپ روسی ندارند، اما «میلر» در نقش نویسنده‌ ای چپ‌گرا ظاهر می‌شود.؛ در چپ‌گرایی او، و رمانش، می‌توان به روشنی، ردپای دو نویسنده «تئودور درایزر»، و «جان درس پاسوس» را دید.؛ این دویی که هر کدام با خلق نوعی نگاه تاریخی- ناتورالیستی، از پیشگامان نقد روح آمریکایی، و تئوری خلق آمریکای مدرن بودند.؛ ناتورالیسم به «میلر» این فرصت را داده بود، که با معیار قرار دادن نوعی وضعیت جبری، بتواند، وضعیت عریان‌تری از انسانِ ترس خورده ی در حال جنگ، ارائه دهد.؛ انسانی که به گفته ی «سارتر»، دلهره ی زیستن دارد، و در فرآیند همین دلهره است، که از هم می‌پاشد.؛ اما جایی برای گریختن ندارد، و در ساختاری دایره‌ ای آنقدر می‌چرخد، تا نه‌ تنها خوی اخلاقیش کم‌رنگ‌تر می‌شود، بلکه به مرحله‌ ای می‌رسد، تا خواسته‌ ای از جهان نداشته باشد؛ پس «برهنه‌ها و مرده‌ها» را، علاوه بر اینکه باید رمانی ضدجنگ دانست، بلکه می‌بایست یکی از نهیلیستی‌ترین آثار ژانر جنگ، به شمار آورد.؛ نهیلیسم، از منظر ساختاری، و به معنای ایجاد حرکت دورانی در متن، و از بین بردن «هدف»، و «پایان» است.؛ نگاه ضداسطوره‌ ای «میلر»، نسبت به مفهوم قهرمان، سرباز وطن، و اصولا خود وطن، شخصیت‌های او را، در وضعیتی متناقض قرار می‌دهند.؛ آنها از سویی برهان جنگیدن‌شان را نمی‌دانند، و از سویی دیگر، چنان به آن فضا خو می‌گیرند، که ارزش‌های بنیادین، و هر آنچه را به عنوان «باور»، با خود به جزیره آورده‌ اند، به آرامی از دست می‌‌دهند.؛ ارزش‌ها و به‌ ویژه معنویت را، به مثابه امری تجملی، و برآمده از بورژوازی دور از جنگ دانسته، و به باور خویش، و به هر چیزی که آنها را به آینده «امیدوار» کرده، پشت پا می‌زنند.؛ وجودگرایی یا دقیق‌تر بگوییم، اگزیستانسیالیسم- نهیلیستی بر ذهن قهرمان‌های اصلی اثر، سایه انداخته، و ثمره‌ اش، درک ژرفای «تنهایی»، در وضعیتی معلق، و دورانی می‌شود.؛ تمام اینها در پروسه‌ ای رخ می‌دهند، که این انسان، «بی‌خدایی» را نیز، تجربه می‌کند.؛ احساس و درکی، که فشار گلوله‌ ها، و خمپاره‌ ها، او را تا دور شدن، و ناباوری آسمان، و متافیزیک، پیش میبرد، و انسان اخلاقی معرفی شده آمریکایی را، خلع سلاح می‌کند تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 16/05/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی

  5. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Smith

    I can't recall how many years ago I tried to read this - probably 30 or more. I recall hearing that it was the best story about war ever written so, impressionable as I was at that age, I decided I'd have to read it. My only recollection is that very early on there was a scene of such grim death and destruction that I felt physically sickened. Coward that I was (and probably still am) I gave up the attempt to work my way through this tome immediately. I noticed an excellent review from a GR frie I can't recall how many years ago I tried to read this - probably 30 or more. I recall hearing that it was the best story about war ever written so, impressionable as I was at that age, I decided I'd have to read it. My only recollection is that very early on there was a scene of such grim death and destruction that I felt physically sickened. Coward that I was (and probably still am) I gave up the attempt to work my way through this tome immediately. I noticed an excellent review from a GR friend and it reminded me of this unfinished task (that of my failure to complete the book, not that of recording my failure to do so). So I'm now asking myself whether I'm man enough to give it another go. I have no answer to that question at present. Maybe I will in another 30 years.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Josh Moyes

    This is the shittiest book I have ever read. H. P. Lovecraft, the horror writer from the earlier decades of the 20th century, wrote very little dialogue in his stories because he was aware that he wrote bad dialogue. Stilted, pedantic garbage. He knew that his forte was the description and action of his stories and so for the most part he stuck to that and wrote some very satisfying creepy stories. By contrast, Norman Mailer wrote a great deal of dialogue in the "Naked and the Dead". He didn't wri This is the shittiest book I have ever read. H. P. Lovecraft, the horror writer from the earlier decades of the 20th century, wrote very little dialogue in his stories because he was aware that he wrote bad dialogue. Stilted, pedantic garbage. He knew that his forte was the description and action of his stories and so for the most part he stuck to that and wrote some very satisfying creepy stories. By contrast, Norman Mailer wrote a great deal of dialogue in the "Naked and the Dead". He didn't write it because it was his strong suit. He wrote it because apparently he had no one close to him who was kind enough to say, "Norm, this is garbage. You need to rewrite this." He really could have used a friend like this. He really could have used a friend who told him, "Really, man, this whole book is a steaming pile of poop. Burn it. When the stench is gone you'll feel much cleaner." I have read a lot in the course of my life. Admittedly, not all of it has been great (see: Stephen King's "Desperation"). And some of it has been amazing. Some of it brought tears to my eyes and other stuff made me so angry I wanted to run over a convent of nuns. And in all this reading, of so many different types of fiction, I have never, and I say this with no equivocation or uncertainty, read anything as shitty as "The Naked and the Dead". I gave it one star because I couldn't figure out a way to give it a negative number of stars. The characterization was...just bad. As I alluded, the dialogue was horrible. Yes, stilted. Yes, pedantic. But also incredibly condescending. Most characters in the book were written in overwrought colloquialism that made them all seem retarded. None of the characters in the story had a) any redeeming qualities, or, b) anything that made them interesting. Every emotion in the book was set in as clumsy a manner as I've ever read. I've seen better from high school sophomores. Everything the characters said, and every thought they had (Mailer made sure to share everything everybody thought for the duration of the book) was an incessant bitch-fest: how bad they had it, how much the army was "fugging" them, how they were certain their wives back home were nailing anything with the ability to maintain an erection. Combine all this with the fact that nobody, nobody at all, succeeded in doing a single thing they set out to do over the course of 721 pages. Whether it was leading a platoon on patrol, standing up to the crazy sergeant, or carrying a body back to camp, or any of the score of other things characters in the book "tried" to do, everybody failed and the entire point of everything they attemted was to give the reader the opportunity to listen to their fucking whining about it. Nothing happens in the first 400 (400!) pages of the novel. Well, okay, there was some bitching. And this perverse tension as the latently homosexual general plays dominance games with his lieutenant aid. And one character's clap won't go away. But aside from that, there is a 400 page lull at the beginning that brings into question my own sanity for finishing (commitment, baby, commitment). So after a "dry beginning" that is longer than most novels, the platoon goes on its big mission. But first: let's look at the pretty sunset. So they look at the sunset and they go on their mission and not a great deal happens there either and then the book is over. The San Francisco Chronicle calls "The Naked and the Dead" "...perhaps the best book to come out of any war." The San Francisco Chronicle is full of shit. I read this book because Norman Mailer is one of the most acclaimed authors in the American canon. I wanted to see what sort of achievement his breakthrough novel (at the tender age of 24) might be. I expected "Saving Private Ryan". What I got was an insufferably boring novel. I might burn it. I sure wish Norman Mailer had. Your time would be better spent reading Archie comic books.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Rob

    This is a book about America. Its no secret that Tolstoy is Mailer's favorite author, and reading this book right after reading War and Peace gave me a good perspective on everything defined in this book. It captures a uniquely American milieu of characters at a time when a uniquely american sence of Idenity and patriotism was being forged. It spoke of the physical and intellectual challenges of various backgrounds through about a dozen main characters with learned empathy. And in the end and th This is a book about America. Its no secret that Tolstoy is Mailer's favorite author, and reading this book right after reading War and Peace gave me a good perspective on everything defined in this book. It captures a uniquely American milieu of characters at a time when a uniquely american sence of Idenity and patriotism was being forged. It spoke of the physical and intellectual challenges of various backgrounds through about a dozen main characters with learned empathy. And in the end and throughout you get to glimpse all the indelible cruelity of reality as would be expected by for forboding title. The book is also brashly written by a novice. Mailer himself will admit his syntax tends towards the simplistic, which lends the book a 'page-turning,' 'thiller' characteristic that actually aides the reading experience, possibly to the chagrin or the more established lit snobs. What does hurt the book is some occasionally akward diction and character development for some of the books figures. The hispanic sergant, for example, who is a capable if not confident soldier, for some reason has an inner monologue that is written in fractured and childlike stream of consciouseness, as if Mailer equated difficulty speaking a English as a second language with stupidity. The crudeness of the soldier banter also can occasionally ring hollow, especially given liberal use of standin euphenisms for censored swear words. In the end the book is of extreme high quality, readable, illuminating, passionate, and empathic. It is well structured and mostly well written, and in a couple places exremely influencial. I'm tempted to give it five stars, but in the end I think the book maybe wasn't as beautiful and influencial as some of my favorite five star reads. Parting Shots: Did anyone else think the writting of Japbait was somewhat oversimplistic? Who else loved that last line of the book? So the Leiutenent admitted he hated Thomas Mann's Magic Mountain, but his conversations with the General really reminded me of Catsorp's relationship with Leo Naphta in Mann's classic.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Executioner's Song was one of the best books I've read in the past year -- so good I haven't felt up to reviewing it -- so I had high expectations for The Naked and the Dead. The front-cover blurb from the SF Chronicle speculates that this novel is "perhaps the best book to come out of any war," which really jacked up the ante and got me intrigued. Well, I got only a little over a hundred pages in, and IMHO The Naked and the Dead isn't bad, but it is not a better book than War and Peace or The Il Executioner's Song was one of the best books I've read in the past year -- so good I haven't felt up to reviewing it -- so I had high expectations for The Naked and the Dead. The front-cover blurb from the SF Chronicle speculates that this novel is "perhaps the best book to come out of any war," which really jacked up the ante and got me intrigued. Well, I got only a little over a hundred pages in, and IMHO The Naked and the Dead isn't bad, but it is not a better book than War and Peace or The Iliad. It's not even a true classic, though it is a good read. The Naked and the Dead was probably a lot more essential before we had access to so many war movies; you can see all the war movie cliches already present, though there isn't a black guy (the troops aren't yet integrated, and Jews and Hispanics are the minority characters here). I have to say that I don't think this has aged all that well. You can definitely see why it was a bestseller at the time, and you can also see Mailer was in his early twenties when he wrote this, his first novel. It's a well-told story, and interesting, but it's 700 pages long. If it were 300 pages or if I cared more or didn't have other options I'd keep going, but I need to get through my post-Proustum depression with something that really makes my toes curl, and this ain't it. Maybe some other time? It is a fun read. One of my favorite things is how all the characters say "fug" all the time, as in "fug you, motherfugger!" It does feel dated, which is not always a bad thing.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jonfaith

    It seemed to him now that he was very near a fundamental understanding of himself, and he felt a sense of mystery and discovery as if he had found unseen gulfs and bridges in all the familiar drab terrain of his life. “You know,” he said, “life is funny.” I often loved this account of anxiety and failure, though I remain certain that Mailer robbed Hemingway -- particularly -- For Whom The Bell Tolls. The jungle affords reflection on sexual incongruity and soured ambition. The Japanese don't app It seemed to him now that he was very near a fundamental understanding of himself, and he felt a sense of mystery and discovery as if he had found unseen gulfs and bridges in all the familiar drab terrain of his life. “You know,” he said, “life is funny.” I often loved this account of anxiety and failure, though I remain certain that Mailer robbed Hemingway -- particularly -- For Whom The Bell Tolls. The jungle affords reflection on sexual incongruity and soured ambition. The Japanese don't appear for most of the book, obviously absorbed in their own angst and ennui.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Nandakishore Varma

    I read this long, long ago and none of the story or characters have stayed with me. What is left is an impression of a war so gritty and dirty that one feels disgusted (I remember one character having some sort of kidney problem, with attendant stomach-ache and blood in urine - for me, this has become the defining image of war). Also, the last sentence - "Hot dog!" - by a soldier contemplating possible furlough. I think Mailer achieved what he intended, at least with me.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

    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 den 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.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kip

    Less a war novel and more a rumination on class and military structure, Norman Mailer's World War II book is a hard-edged "Catch 22" that dispenses with satire and revels in cynicism. Unlike Joseph Heller's masterwork, perhaps the definitive WWII book in close contention with Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse Five," The Naked and the Dead contains no character we may call completely sympathetic, and is perhaps the only war novel out there that lacks a strict protagonist. The main character in The Naked Less a war novel and more a rumination on class and military structure, Norman Mailer's World War II book is a hard-edged "Catch 22" that dispenses with satire and revels in cynicism. Unlike Joseph Heller's masterwork, perhaps the definitive WWII book in close contention with Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse Five," The Naked and the Dead contains no character we may call completely sympathetic, and is perhaps the only war novel out there that lacks a strict protagonist. The main character in The Naked and the Dead is the Army, and what it does to the psyche of the Greatest Generation. Mailer invents the island of Anopopei to serve as a backdrop for his multi-character study. There's enough of a war plot here to keep the casual reader entertained; but it's clear from the outset this is not Mailer's purpose in writing. A sharp criticism of the military's structure, and what it does to the minds of men ensconced in mortal combat, becomes quickly apparent, and his characters are less fully realized individuals (though he'll give you a back story for each, conveniently around the time the reader begins to hate them or they are killed) than stand-ins for ideas. The hard-nosed, straight-laced General Cummings cares more for his personal standing than the men he must order into battle; his foil, Lieutenant Hearn, is a ne'er-do-well Ivy League boy whose idealism gets him thrown into danger. The men of the recon platoon harbor their own discriminations and a grating chauvinism that can make passages of the book difficult to read for modern audiences. Still, Mailer gets his hard-headed point across in gripping fashion, making you care just enough about the cannon fodder who are just as capable of pathos as they are of committing unspeakably violent and terrible acts. Mailer also writes with the breathless, straightforward prose you would expect from a journalist yet paints a convincing picture of his characters and their surroundings. Casual readers will balk at the attention to military detail, a convention neither Heller nor Vonnegut thought necessary to make their points and one that can bloat Mailer's tale at times. Still, this work deserves to be read in that same post-military-industrial-complex vein, and is a worthwhile read for the sociologists and anthropologists out there as well.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jack

    Probably the best war epic in the "from here to eternity" vein I've read. And all the more astonishing because mailer seems to have started that style - at least in America; I've not read Tolstoy. And then even moreso because Mailer was only 24 when it came out. Definitely a spectacular first novel. The problem is that it also confirmed for me that I'm just not all that into the war epic in the "from here to eternity" style. I admire Mailer's plot and character development on principle, and there Probably the best war epic in the "from here to eternity" vein I've read. And all the more astonishing because mailer seems to have started that style - at least in America; I've not read Tolstoy. And then even moreso because Mailer was only 24 when it came out. Definitely a spectacular first novel. The problem is that it also confirmed for me that I'm just not all that into the war epic in the "from here to eternity" style. I admire Mailer's plot and character development on principle, and there are some brilliantly written passages. But the structure just doesn't click for me. I also thought the characters, while portrayed well, often fell into stereotypes. The greatest touch getting at their humanity is how equitable is the time Mailer gives them. Deaths are not foreshadowed, nor are they parts of an arc. It's a war, and people often die without dramatic music to prepare the audience for what's coming.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    DNF at 49%, 353 pages. I'm bored and this is slow going so I'm giving up in total frustration. It's not a bad book but it would take me way longer to finish than I can possibly bear.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    I had high expectations for this novel. Unfortunately they weren't met. The writing is well done and the story is enjoyable. But the novel is more about the characters with the war in the Pacific as a backdrop. Seriously the underlying story could have been replaced with almost any other war story and the same tale could have been told. So three stars for the character story, but in my opinion this does not match the level of Battle Cry by Leon Uris or Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes where the even I had high expectations for this novel. Unfortunately they weren't met. The writing is well done and the story is enjoyable. But the novel is more about the characters with the war in the Pacific as a backdrop. Seriously the underlying story could have been replaced with almost any other war story and the same tale could have been told. So three stars for the character story, but in my opinion this does not match the level of Battle Cry by Leon Uris or Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes where the event is woven in well with the characters to tell amazing stories.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    This is one of the great war novels from World War II. Norman Mailer studied aeronautical engineering at Harvard, but he became interested in writing, having his first story published at age 18. He was drafted after he graduated from college in 1943. He served in the Pacific with the United States Army, where he obtained the knowledge and experience to write about soldiers in combat. The Naked and the Dead was published when Mailer was 25. It instantly became a huge success, spending 62 weeks on This is one of the great war novels from World War II. Norman Mailer studied aeronautical engineering at Harvard, but he became interested in writing, having his first story published at age 18. He was drafted after he graduated from college in 1943. He served in the Pacific with the United States Army, where he obtained the knowledge and experience to write about soldiers in combat. The Naked and the Dead was published when Mailer was 25. It instantly became a huge success, spending 62 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller List. Mailer's reputation as a novelist was established by this book, which would be the first of a long line of best-selling war novels from the likes of other war veterans, including James Jones, Leon Uris, Herman Wouk and others. Mailer would go on to become a hugely famous, if combative American author. He would have more than 30 books published before his death at age 84 in 2007, including the receipt of two Pulitzer Prizes. He would run for mayor of New York City on one occasion, with the campaign slogan "No More Bull Shit." The Naked and the Dead takes place amid the Army's invasion of a fictional Pacific Island. There is plenty of military terminology and methodology but the book is more focused on the psychological development of the main characters as they interact in the situation they are placed into. Mailer, considered to be an early proponent of narrative fiction, presents a fascinating mix of individuals who all seem to be suffering from some kind of character flaw or other. Mailer throws flashback-style personal histories of the main characters at intervals as the current story unfolds. The one common denominator of all characters is that no one comes out of this story any better than when it began. This is in support of probably the central thesis of Mailer, that war is not just hell; it is psychosis. Some of the guys in the recon platoon include: Minetta, the malingerer, who fakes battle fatigue, only to find out that being the only sane person in a psycho ward is worse than being in combat; Red, the pre-war drifter, who finds out on the island that his health is deteriorating at an alarming rate; Wilson, the philanderer who used to laugh at getting a mild case of venereal disease and finds out before going into action that he is seriously diseased; Roth, the Jew who is not accepted as an equal by anyone on his anti-Semitec crew, who might finally find respect by sharing the platoon's trials on an arduous march, only to be killed in a fall from a cliff. The enlisted men hate their officers and the officers hate each other. Major Dalleson, the unimaginative S-3 (Operations Officer) fumbles to find a way to deal with a situation in place of the general, who is away for the day reporting to his superiors, and muddles through a solution that wins the battle against the Japanese, only to find that all recognition and credit for his actions is suppressed in the official battle history. Even the Division General, Cummings, is obsessed that enemies at Higher Headquarters will find cause to use any mistakes against him and stall his career. Lt. Hearn is probably to be considered to be the central character in the story. He starts by working as General Cummings' aide but gets removed from that position when he makes it clear that he can no longer tolerate hearing about the General's fascist world-view. He finds himself reassigned to the recon platoon just when it is assigned to perform a mission to travel behind Japanese lines and find a way for the Army to get its stalled invasion moving again. This patrol becomes the central element of the book, when these fourteen men go on this most physically grueling and dangerous march. Hearn, and the platoon, find that they must deal with rough terrain, jungle heat, the enemy, and perhaps most fatefully, the nominal leader of the platoon, Sgt. Croft. Croft, to me, is indispensable to the meaning and the progress of the book. His character flaw is that he is a psychopath. He is a highly motivated leader of his men and is the bravest of the group; he is the glue that holds everyone to their tasks when the going gets tough. But he is deranged. He leads his men by fear, and he enjoys killing. He becomes a seething vessel of rage when the platoon he had been leading is placed under the command of an officer (Hearn) prior to going on their fugging (Mailer's euphemism) event -filled reconnaissance, and this will not end pleasantly for Hearn or for the rest of the men. The Picador 50th Anniversary Edition contains an Introduction from Norman Mailer. He describes the book in the second person, as a very good effort by an amateur, albeit a passionate, hard-working amateur who had written over a quarter of a million words in college. He admits to some sloppy writing style in parts, with, to use his description, words that came too easily and the habit of all of the nouns in every sentence holding hands with the nearest adjective. I think he was a little bit self-critical but he was looking at his first big success from the perspective of fifty years of continuing writing success. He certainly was true when he said the book had immediacy, coming out when everyone was hungry for a "big war novel", and that he delivered with a good, vigorous story that got only better as it unfolded. Bravo, Norman.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Richard Bon

    This was the first I’ve read of Norman Mailer and I was extremely disappointed. I had high hopes for this novel with its billing as ‘The Greatest War Novel Produced in This Century.’ What? Every war novel written in the 20th century I’ve read trumps this one. Mailer’s writing felt forced – his weaving of soldier’s back stories into the narrative I found clumpy, the details unrealistic – his portrayal of General Cummings’ thought processes bordered on ridiculous at times – and none of the plot li This was the first I’ve read of Norman Mailer and I was extremely disappointed. I had high hopes for this novel with its billing as ‘The Greatest War Novel Produced in This Century.’ What? Every war novel written in the 20th century I’ve read trumps this one. Mailer’s writing felt forced – his weaving of soldier’s back stories into the narrative I found clumpy, the details unrealistic – his portrayal of General Cummings’ thought processes bordered on ridiculous at times – and none of the plot lines ever came together for me. Perhaps in 1948 when this book was first published, a General commanding an important offensive in a major war being secretly gay and very lonely intrigued people. Reading it in 2012, however, the General seemed an empty shell of a character, selfish and vindictive, his closet homosexuality an illogical excuse for his incompetence as a leader. His actions toward Hearn, a soldier on whom he had an unrequited crush, were cold and bizarre and unconvincing, in my opinion. Croft, the leader of the reconnaissance unit featured throughout most of the story, a cold, calculating, jealous, ultra-competitive bastard, never gets his comeuppance and his demeanor is never entirely explained. Mailer tries to present and define so many soldiers with such a haphazard style that as a reader I never felt like I understood or related to any of them, least of all Croft. Hard for me to write here that an author of Mailer’s stature should’ve done something differently, but the book may have worked better for me if he’d focused closely on three to five characters instead of attempting to portray so many so deeply. The only positive I’ll mention here is the idea of the reconnaissance mission that spans the majority of the second half of the book, but its execution, to me, just had so many holes in it. Cummings’ indifference from afar, the war’s accidental ending, Croft and his troops’ final retreat from a swarm of bees after the Japanese had, unbeknownst to them, already conceded defeat, it all amounted to a huge letdown after a long buildup. Perhaps Mailer’s intention was to show the randomness of war, the luck involved, the fate of soldiers beyond exhaustion and on the brink of physical and mental collapse resting on chance, but it didn’t work for me. Sorry Norman Mailer, but if this novel is considered one of your greatest achievements, then I don’t think I’ll be reading any of your others.

  18. 5 out of 5

    fourtriplezed

    From Here to Eternity and The Thin Red Line are far superior to this book by the acclaimed Mailer. I read this first and as much as I enjoyed the banter between Hearn and Cummings it was a bit too forced. As to the end for the mission to get spooked about insects just seemed to me that Mailer was not sure how to finish the story. The Jones books restored my faith that there were some good war novels.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    As a young woman I swore I would never read anything by that bastard Norman Mailer. I'd read "The Executioner's Song" and thought it okay but I despised Mailer as if from a personal feminist vendetta. In fact, I still do. BUT this book knocked my socks off. I loved it. So much for prejudice.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Phrodrick

    It has been a long time since a book has gripped me like Norman Mailer’s The Naked and the Dead. A door stopper of a book and not one you can sail through. But I finished it in a few days. It Is that good. In modern terms this is not a particularly violent or sexy book. There are battles, and death but honestly presented as stark and fearful panic inducing moments of terror. The F bomb is so fretfully coded that the author was once derided as being the writer who did not know how to spell it. Th It has been a long time since a book has gripped me like Norman Mailer’s The Naked and the Dead. A door stopper of a book and not one you can sail through. But I finished it in a few days. It Is that good. In modern terms this is not a particularly violent or sexy book. There are battles, and death but honestly presented as stark and fearful panic inducing moments of terror. The F bomb is so fretfully coded that the author was once derided as being the writer who did not know how to spell it. This is not for the every young, but might be just the edge of reality for teens who only know of war via the likes of Chuck Norris Movies and the too many super soldier as hero type books. Written in 1948 it is the Mailer’s first novel and it catapulted him into literary stardom. He had gotten out of the Army where he had not seen much if any of the fighting but clearly got to know our GI’s. He was a student at the Sorbonne and claims he was much inspired by Tolstoy’s War and Peace. Perhaps, but his Time Machine chapters that give us the prewar back story on most of the book’s characters; looks to have been styled from the USA Trilogy by Dos Passos. Another has suggested that Mailer’s book should be compared with James Jones’ The Thin Red Line. This is a good comparison and it is a judgement call as to which is the better. Whatever the inspirations and the other War in the Pacific books. I liked The Naked and the Dead. Not as positive about the title which I think was part of the reason why I had not read it before. The plot makes this one of many WWII Company level books. We are presented with the Army as America’s melting pot and soldiers going away from home to fight the good war against the bad people. Only that is hardly enough or correct. By page one we learn that the Intelligence and Reconnaissance company that will be the core of the book are about to make their second island invasion and these men do not want to “do it”. None of these men are fresh faced boys with mom and patriotism upper most in their minds. The soldiers are sons of the depression and have kicked around and been kicked around developing animal survival skills before Boot Camp. They are worried about unfaithful wives, never seen newborns and living to see something that is not a wet and dangerous enemy invested jungle. We meet a few officers, including two over promoted ex enlisted men, a hopelessly idealistic but detached college boy lieutenant and a brilliant, though maybe not that brilliant general officer with a secret of hisown. Mostly the men do not care why they are at war or why wars exist. They are more worried about the company pecking order, getting a full night’s sleep and staying alive. The General has a fancy notion about why there are wars. This is as close as we come to Tolstoy. We can almost believe Tolstoy’s slightly romantic, mystic explanation but even though the Generals version is almost the same formula it rings false. Whatever else war is, or why it is; it is arbitrary and sudden. Except for when it is wet lonely, and boring. Because this book is about the men at the front there are no major female characters. We do meet many of them as they are critical to the prewar story of these men. Most are as victimized by their poverty and lack of education as their men. All expect marriage to be a way to stability and if lucky, some protection. These same women expect to work and for life to be hard. These are not weak women and several are better people then their men. There is no way to cast The Naked and the Dead as a feminist novel. Neither is it dismissive or disrespectful toward women. Some of the men are, our narrator is not. The claim that this is the best World War II novel is mostly advertising hype. In 1948 it was likely to have been the first great American War novel and it should be shorted listed for the top spot. If this is what Norman Mailer could do in his first novel, I am going to have to seek out the product of a more mature Norman Mailer.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nooilforpacifists

    This is not a war novel, but a novel about Americans at war. And which Americans? Largely cast with Depression-era misanthropes, Mailer zooms in and out via flashbacks (called "Time Machines") in an attempt to create an anti-war novel of the post-WWI species. He mostly succeeds in creating an anti-American novel of the 1950s species, where the least self-aware have the keenest insights. Does Tolstoy meets Bertolt Brecht make sense? On the positive side, some inter-character interactions were thri This is not a war novel, but a novel about Americans at war. And which Americans? Largely cast with Depression-era misanthropes, Mailer zooms in and out via flashbacks (called "Time Machines") in an attempt to create an anti-war novel of the post-WWI species. He mostly succeeds in creating an anti-American novel of the 1950s species, where the least self-aware have the keenest insights. Does Tolstoy meets Bertolt Brecht make sense? On the positive side, some inter-character interactions were thrilling. And the jungle, and the Japs, felt real (and like a real enemy). On the negative side, the main action doesn't begin until half-way through, and it's obviously pointless from the start. Plus, the work would at least have benefitted from an editor--it's too much at over 750 pages. You can tell it's an author's first work. Matt's review here is a good summary of my views--except the book's ending was designed to epitomize American un-seriousness and Army pointlessness. Silly, but effective.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Makati

    Picked up towards the end, but still wasn't my cup of tea... I wonder, if it would have been better to read this in my mother tongue... Picked up towards the end, but still wasn't my cup of tea... I wonder, if it would have been better to read this in my mother tongue...

  23. 4 out of 5

    Perry Whitford

    Mailer's first novel, before his masculine psychosexual obsessions got the better of him. Of all the American literary giants of the second half of the 20th century - Bellow, Mailer, Roth, Updike - none have disappointed me as much as Mailer over the years. This was the first novel of his I read and I liked it, which is why I'm prepared to give it another go. As for the rest of his stuff, I enjoyed Ancient Evenings the most because I love Ancient Egypt and Rameses the Great at least made for a gen Mailer's first novel, before his masculine psychosexual obsessions got the better of him. Of all the American literary giants of the second half of the 20th century - Bellow, Mailer, Roth, Updike - none have disappointed me as much as Mailer over the years. This was the first novel of his I read and I liked it, which is why I'm prepared to give it another go. As for the rest of his stuff, I enjoyed Ancient Evenings the most because I love Ancient Egypt and Rameses the Great at least made for a genuinely mythic Alpha Male. Harlot's Ghost was too long for such little reward, The Deer Park was boring, and Tough Guy's Don't Dance was one of the most ridiculous books I've ever read. The first thing that struck me during this re-read was the first thing that struck me the first time: just how frank the language is for a book published in 1949. I can't recall reading an American novel from before that date where the characters talk about "what a pussy feels like" and "screwing" prostitutes, as this one does in the first few pages. There must be a story behind how this stuff was allowed to pass the censor's office, lame though it is by contemporary standards. And yet the f-bomb is replaced throughout with the made up word 'fug,' a silly compromise which constantly undermines the gritty realism of the book. My copy, published in 1981, still included the euphemism. I hope that contemporary editions correct this continued mistake, who cares about remaining true to the first printing in this respect? My overriding impression about this novel second time around is how much of a grind it is. I can't believe that anyone has ever accused Mailer of being light on his feet before, a tendency to trudge about in heavy boots was there from the beginning. Given the subject matter of The Naked and the Dead this dolorous approach is entirely appropriate. The enervating sun, the fetid jungle, the mud, the headhigh kunai grass, the heavy equipment and plodding, monotonous nature of army reconnaissance lends itself to such a style: 'For an hour they marched uphill almost constantly, and then halted at a stream to fill their canteens. They rested for fifteen minutes and then went on again. Their clothing had been set at least a dozen times from the ocean spray, from the river, from their sweat, from sleeping on the ground, and each time it dried it left its stains. Their shirts were streaked with white lines of salt, and under their armpits, beneath their belts, the cloth was beginning to rot. They were chafed and blistered and sunburned; already some of them were limping on site feet, but all these discomforts were minor, almost unnoticed in the leaden stupor of marching, the fever they suffered from the sun. Their fatigue had racked them, exploited all the fragile vaults of their bodies, the leaden apathy of their muscles. They had tasted so many times the sour acid bile of labor, had strained their overworked legs over so many hills, that at last they were feeling the anesthesia of exhaustion. They kept moving without any thoughts of where they went, dully, stupidly, waving and floundering from side to side. The weight of their packs was crushing, but they considered them as a part of their bodies, a boulder lodged in their backs.' I felt like a lie down after reading that, imagine having to do it day after day like the Recon platoon who we follow for the most effective part of the novel. Playing cards, squabbling, thinking about back home, griping about the army ("It's been a goddam mess ever since they put Washington on a horse"), griping about anything and everything, they're a motley crew of characters, entirely believable if not particularly likable for the most part. Less effective was the time spent with two officers of conflicting temperaments engaged in a petty psychological tug-of-war, pale progenitors to those annally retentive duos so fixated on the masculine pecking order of whom Mailer would waste so much energy on throughout his career. General Cummings is the autocrat who believes in hierarchy, for him "The Army functions best when you're frightened of the man above you, and contemptuous of your subordinates." Lieutenant Hearn is his liberal subordinate, not a role or political outlook destined to claim much sympathy in a Norman Mailer novel. Despite being a war story The Naked and the Dead is short on action, so be warned. Like I said, it's a grind. If war is hell, Mailer's version of war is purgatory.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sookie

    Is it Mailer's second hand re-telling of horrors of war makes him give a detachment to his characters? Or is it his own inexperience makes it a better war novel as a whole? Most novels based on war have a tendency to evoke sympathy, glamorize apathy or expect empathy. Normal Mailer's The Naked and the Dead does none of that. Its representation of bunch of people stuck in a war they don't understand, afraid of death hovering in every shadow. The brutal prose Mailer executes removes all possible e Is it Mailer's second hand re-telling of horrors of war makes him give a detachment to his characters? Or is it his own inexperience makes it a better war novel as a whole? Most novels based on war have a tendency to evoke sympathy, glamorize apathy or expect empathy. Normal Mailer's The Naked and the Dead does none of that. Its representation of bunch of people stuck in a war they don't understand, afraid of death hovering in every shadow. The brutal prose Mailer executes removes all possible elements of softening the day's experience. The characters are generally unlikable. But that's how many people are. The soldiers feel trapped in an endless cycle of of these manufactured wars where they see themselves as as cogs in a very large machine that is moving towards an unknown goal. They go where they are ordered. They walk towards conflict and defend what the propaganda says. The book is a tragedy of several sorts. While one sees these men as heroes, their acts towards women are anything less than heroic. It is, in fact, excruciating to get through lines that involve some of these men talk about women some of who are their wives. There is internalized homophobia, sexuality conflicts and violence addiction. It is difficult to diagnose if it was Mailer's intention or was he recounting what he was hearing. Be that as it may, these flaws ground these men and they evoke both sympathy and annoyance at the same time. Is it a good book? Yes and No. It is obvious that the book isn't for everyone. It isn't simple literature that one picks up and enjoys it. There is no enjoyment in this book. There are just broken men with tragic endings and even more tragic lives. There are anecdotes of soldiers who toiled through the jungles, the terrains in worse weathers, took fire and some lived to tell the tale. Their victories weren't filled with revels; there were only eulogies, mourning and accepting their next order. Did these soldiers deserve a better life? They sure did. War didn't change only those who lost their loved ones. The war changed those who experienced, lived and come out of with layers of scars and scabs. Mailer doesn't shy away from subtly implying who got the worst end of the deal. It wasn't the dead.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sam Reaves

    This is the novel that made Norman Mailer a literary celebrity, published in 1948 when he was just twenty-five years old. In that light, it's a pretty impressive achievement, a big sprawling novel with a lot going on and an edgy frankness about the realities of war, published when the trauma was still fresh. Set in a fictional campaign in the Pacific Theater, the novel focuses on a reconnaissance platoon sent on an ill-conceived mission which ends in disaster. We get to know a dozen or so charac This is the novel that made Norman Mailer a literary celebrity, published in 1948 when he was just twenty-five years old. In that light, it's a pretty impressive achievement, a big sprawling novel with a lot going on and an edgy frankness about the realities of war, published when the trauma was still fresh. Set in a fictional campaign in the Pacific Theater, the novel focuses on a reconnaissance platoon sent on an ill-conceived mission which ends in disaster. We get to know a dozen or so characters, from the general in charge of the campaign to the lowliest privates in the platoon, with flashbacks recounting their lives before the war. It's thus an ambitious, big-canvas project depicting what happened to a cross-section of American men as the Depression delivered them into the catastrophe of the war. It's a little bit self-consciously literary in places; you can see the young writer trying out his chops. Most of it is pretty effective; the account of the progressive physical and mental degradation of the platoon on its doomed mission is harrowing. For military history buffs, the completely invented campaign (to take "Anopopei") is unsatisfying; we'd like a little stronger tether to reality. You wonder how much was from Mailer's experience and how much he just made up. But all in all it's an engrossing account of the war in the Pacific and what it did to the men who fought it.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Murray

    This was, by all means, not an easy book to get through. In fact, I nearly put it down about one-third of the way through. I can't imagine how shocking "The Naked and the Dead" must have been when it was first published, and by today's standards it might be cliche and tame. But Mailer's novel is a masterpiece that not only pits man against man but also man against nature. Overindulgent at times, with long passages that meander nearly endlessly, this book certainly brings you up close and persona This was, by all means, not an easy book to get through. In fact, I nearly put it down about one-third of the way through. I can't imagine how shocking "The Naked and the Dead" must have been when it was first published, and by today's standards it might be cliche and tame. But Mailer's novel is a masterpiece that not only pits man against man but also man against nature. Overindulgent at times, with long passages that meander nearly endlessly, this book certainly brings you up close and personal to the 'war is hell' experience. Rich and sweeping in characters, conflict and detail, Mailer leaves no stone unturned and makes you feel the sweat, the pain, the blood and the fear that envelops each soldier. As the soldiers press through the heated jungle, Mailer's descriptions made me thirsty and uncomfortable, but only in small comparison to the platoon. I can see where a college professor could teach this book - and only this book - in one semester and break it down for deep analysis. And still never have time to touch all of Mailer's themes and sub-themes.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    The whole time I'm reading this I couldn't stop thinking that Mailer was only 26 when he wrote this and yet was able to so intricately describe the inner workings of so many different kinds of characters. He had those thought patterns which are a common part of being human effectively personalized and intellectualized for each individual. It's amazing writing for anyone at any age with any amount of life experience. His books require time and effort but the payoff is always worth it. Got a few m The whole time I'm reading this I couldn't stop thinking that Mailer was only 26 when he wrote this and yet was able to so intricately describe the inner workings of so many different kinds of characters. He had those thought patterns which are a common part of being human effectively personalized and intellectualized for each individual. It's amazing writing for anyone at any age with any amount of life experience. His books require time and effort but the payoff is always worth it. Got a few more of his on my list.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mark Barr

    Apparently, when they called this a "great" novel, they meant "great" in the "big" sense. I toiled with this one for weeks and weeks, but I finally finished it last night, just two days after Mailer's death. Probably a very realistic representation of what it is like to be in the Army, I suspect.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Caroline Mosley

    I read this book mostly for the satisfaction of completing a 700-paged book. I was also somewhat interested in branching off into different types of books - in this case a war book. The Naked and the Dead is set during World War 2 on a Japanese island. This book is said to be one of the best war stories ever and it accurately depicts the men at war. If this is true, war lacks combat and excitement and it is filled with endless routine. If you are expecting an action packed book, following the li I read this book mostly for the satisfaction of completing a 700-paged book. I was also somewhat interested in branching off into different types of books - in this case a war book. The Naked and the Dead is set during World War 2 on a Japanese island. This book is said to be one of the best war stories ever and it accurately depicts the men at war. If this is true, war lacks combat and excitement and it is filled with endless routine. If you are expecting an action packed book, following the lives of the bravest soldiers out there - do not pick up this book. What this book is REALLY about is how war affects the men in a certain platoon. Norman Mailer writes in detail about the things these men do day in and day out. He crafts each and every character so carefully, it seems as if you are getting to know them. Mailer also focuses somewhat on the General, although not as much as the platoon. Once I accepted the fact that this book wasn't going to be action packed, I began to enjoy how he chose to focus on a group of men. However, the end was disappointing because it did not provide closer to the lives of these men. Instead it focused on the General who was not the most important character in the story. Despite my complaints about this book, I am still glad I stuck with it all the way to the end.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Paul Gaya Ochieng Simeon Juma

    During the time when and after reading this book I constructed in my mind several variations of my review and ended up writing a totally different piece. It is this fact that shows you just how brilliant and powerful this novel is. My only prayer is to get more stories like this. Norman Mailer's book is worth the time and energy you put into it. It is one of the greatest war novels of all time. It is World War Two. Germany, Italy, and Japan are taking on the world. In this case we are not lookin During the time when and after reading this book I constructed in my mind several variations of my review and ended up writing a totally different piece. It is this fact that shows you just how brilliant and powerful this novel is. My only prayer is to get more stories like this. Norman Mailer's book is worth the time and energy you put into it. It is one of the greatest war novels of all time. It is World War Two. Germany, Italy, and Japan are taking on the world. In this case we are not looking at the world but concentrating on what went down in Anapopei. Crofts platoon is confronting the Japanese. A handful of men tell us their stories from the time before the war and during the war. Croft, Wilson, Goldstein, Red, Hearn, Gallagher, Brown, Pollack, Dollesone, and General Cummings have all come together to fight for America. War changes people. To some it is an opportunity to do what they were born to do. In this category we saw courageous men like General Cummings, Red, Gallagher, and Wilson. However, others are left with no choice but to join the army. Afterwards, they have to borrow their comrade's strength and power to survive. This is where great generals like Lee and Grant play important roles of motivating and leading their men. This book will give you an insight of what war looks like.

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