The Armies of the Night: History as a Novel, the Novel as History

The Armies of the Night History as a Novel the Novel as History One of the first examples of new journalism daringly combines reportage with a novelistic style and garnered Mailer his first Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award Armies of the Night centers on th

  • Title: The Armies of the Night: History as a Novel, the Novel as History
  • Author: Norman Mailer
  • ISBN: 9780452272798
  • Page: 398
  • Format: Paperback
  • One of the first examples of new journalism daringly combines reportage with a novelistic style and garnered Mailer his first Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award.Armies of the Night centers on the March on the Pentagon, the most famous anti Vietnam War rally in Washington DC, and the characters that occupy this opposition the intellectuals, students, African AmericOne of the first examples of new journalism daringly combines reportage with a novelistic style and garnered Mailer his first Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award.Armies of the Night centers on the March on the Pentagon, the most famous anti Vietnam War rally in Washington DC, and the characters that occupy this opposition the intellectuals, students, African Americans, liberals, and marching women Mailer, a novelist as character, sculpts this impressionably fragile world of the Left versus Authority and Peace versus War, prodding at the Vietnam generation s deepest anxieties In the same way Truman Capote s In Cold Blood introduced the non fiction novel, Armies of the Night renders this form, with turns historical and fictional.

    One thought on “The Armies of the Night: History as a Novel, the Novel as History”

    1. A Novel HistoryThis loosely "fictionalised" account of the 1967 anti-Vietnam war March on the Pentagon won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award.While many of Mailer's political and philosophical concerns could be said to have dated (like much of Sixties culture), I really enjoyed re-reading it.I suspect that many of my own views about Sixties politics (particularly the relationship between the Old Left and the New Left) were shaped by my first reading.To that extent, it's had a la [...]

    2. Occasionally I have to pay homage to my roots. No. Not the Detroit suburbs or the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church. To the 1960s where I spent what turns out to be my formative years.In the past week I have read three Kindle mysteries that got my adrenalin pumping and my conscience thinking I had to do something better with my time. Part of the attraction was my new Kindle Paperwhite so I was feeling disloyal to old fashioned hard covers. Part of it was that I was burned out by serious classics th [...]

    3. Norman Mailer, Norman Mailer. I believe I will take a page from Mr. Christopher Hitchens, who did NOT have a problem blasting Jerry Falwell on national television while the corpse was still warm (crooksandliars/2007/05), and make some honest yet unflattering remarks about Mailer, whose update feed currently shows him reading The Handbook for the Recently Deceased.This book is kind of a 'literary' atrocity. It is everything I would expect from an overblown superfamous ego, and nothing that I wou [...]

    4. This is a vivid and compelling portrait of the 1967 anti-war march on the Pentagon, but Mailer often gets in his own way (a sentiment with which he might be obliged to agree, based on his own role in the story). Not without reason is he counted among the so-called Midcentury Misogynists and not infrequently does his prose begin to feel rather like the tiresome monologue of a man who greatly enjoys hearing himself talk, to no real purpose. All that said, this book won awards for a reason and ther [...]

    5. In this nonfiction novel, Mailer depicts the Mailer character (the Mailer character should not be mistaken for the wilier flesh-and-blood Mailer) as a glowering, self-important drunk whose main objective is to marinate in whiskey and public adulation.By Mailer's own admission, his attendance at the 1967 March on the Pentagon is a concession to his moral opposition to the Vietnam war, which he would rather practice in the company of fellow aesthetes at exclusive cocktail parties. Reluctantly, he [...]

    6. This book made me hate Norman Mailer. Really. I wished him dead after reading this book. And this after I had read and fallen in love with his book "Executioner's Song." This book is narcissism pure and simple, the fact that it won the National Book Award makes me question the validity of that award. After I read this book, I picked up the memoir written by Mailer's second wife Adele, the one he stabbed.(Yeah, did you know Mailer actually stabbed one of his wives? One gets the impression he want [...]

    7. Early example of the "New Journalism" which Norman Mailer helped pioneerd not an especially good one. Most of the book is an account of the March on the Pentagon in October 1967, which Mailer vividly conveys in biting prose and lively, colorful descriptions: the beatniks and Yippies trying to levitate the Pentagon, the goofball activists dressed in a panoply of historical costumes, the contrast between the rowdy crowd and the regimented MPs and soldiers who contained them. The book is crippled, [...]

    8. Brilliant. Immediate, vivid, engaging, fly-on-the-wall account of some serious world/historical shit hitting the american fan. A classic, and deservedly so. Interesting: Mailer said that he had been surprised when he came upon the refer-to-yourself-in-the-3rd-person voice that was the essential narrative innovation of the book. He said that when he was a student at Harvard he'd been assigned "The Autobiography of Henry Adams" and thought the third person referential move was odd and put the book [...]

    9. Mailer's writing style in this book is very fast and pulled me through the first section quickly. I can easily see how Mailer’s book has been compared to Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, which was the first non-fiction novel, whereas Mailer has created here an early example of historical and fictional journalism; which seems to combine novel style with reporting. The book reads as split between two sections, in "History As A Novel," Mailer uses the third person to describe his own experience p [...]

    10. Mailer's incredible intellect shines white hot here. Echoes of this time reverberate today through the Occupy and Black Lives Matter movements. So sad that we really haven't progressed in this nation from the barbarism described within these pages.

    11. Love this book - my favorite quote comes from it -- of the media (he was thinking mainly of the press, of course) --- as "silent assassins of the republic"

    12. The first 3/4 of the book is a kind of eye-witness account of Norman's experience over 4 days before and after the march on the Pentagon to protest the Vietnam war. What takes a while to get used to is that he writes this in the third person. He, the writer, is actually is quite critical and mocking of he, the character in the story, which is easy to understand. He is one of those characters that is aware of his faults but has no intention of changing. In fact he seems to revel in his behaviour, [...]

    13. New Journalism (among a few other things) was about bringing the writer out front to share the footlights with the story, dressed up in the unselfconscious garb of literary style. Rather than dry facts, impressions. Rather than strict chronology, non-linear context and rat-a-tat punctuation.Which makes this prime piece of New Journalism (Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner) curious, in that it's pure chronology in the first part (History as a Novel), an intricate and often painstaking [...]

    14. “Washington’s scruffy Ambassador Theatre, normally a pad for psychedelic frolics, was the scene of an unscheduled scatological solo last week in support of an unscheduled scatological solo last week in support of the peace demonstrations”(Mailer 1). The start of Norman Mailer’s Magnum Opus, The Armies of the Night, is one of complete explanation of what happened the fateful afternoon of October 27th, 1967, the day the most important anti-war really occurred. This book not only is a preva [...]

    15. A fantastic book. Anyone who wants to understand the fraught history of the Left in America has to include this wild, ironic, and visionary title on her or his reading listA few quotes:On the change of mood in the hippie movement, over the course of the 1960s, from bright and happy, to dark and tormented:“A generation of the American young had come along different from five previous generations of the middle class. The new generation believed in technology more than any before it, but the gene [...]

    16. Look, the fact that I wanted to throw this book against the wall on at least five separate occasions probably means it has some merit because at least it elicited some sort of emotion. I'm sure there are even some intelligent thoughts in here. I respect the fact that Mailer can create a character I dislike so much (himself). The descriptions of brutality towards the end were shocking, which is what they should be. Also, Mailer was on Gilmore Girls, so I really tried to like this. All that consid [...]

    17. Written in third person, describing a weekend in Washington protesting the Vietnam war, Mailer pokes fun at himself, and his ego, and his other eccentricities on nearly every page. Yes, Mailer has an egotism of curious disproportions. With the possible exception of John F. Kennedy, there had not been a President of the United States nor even a candidate since the Second World War whom Mailer secretly considered more suitable than himself Hilarious. Lots of neat literary moments, his complex frie [...]

    18. I read this book because it won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. I also thought that since Mailer was a novelist that this "History" might be more compelling than something written by a dry, academic historian. Well, I was very disappointed. Mailer's egomania is not nearly as charming or interesting as he believes it to be. For me, Mailer did not make a particularly good protagonist because I didn't really care for him and therefore was not all that concerned about what would happ [...]

    19. A record of Norman Mailer's involvement in the anti-Vietnam-war protests written by him in the third person about him. I found this book full of false modesty (he even uses the word modest when talking about himself. Who calls themselves modest?) and self aggrandizement. He describes himself as almost a superhero taking on the giant war machine. This attitude of great men fighting against tyranny is the same rhetoric used by warmongers which I thought was ironic and something it seems surely Mai [...]

    20. It was fine. There are some passages that I found funny and/or enlightening. Overall though, it felt a bit too much like a chore for me to finish. Maybe it was just not what I was in the mood for, most likely it had much to do with the fact that I needed to look up people and places every ten minutes. That's totally all my fault for being a bit dumb when it comes to history. I did learn quite a lot, which was in itself worth the read. However, I did not feel very "moved", in any way, and I found [...]

    21. the brief journey of an egomaniac who here just flaunts his lame-o remonstrance role (which he himself derides throughout, creatively). after he gets carted off to jail, the second half of the book really makes you miss the ass's cocky--albeit lively--presence. the style gets dry and you think "awww where's norman??" even though you wanted to hate him at many points when he was around. he gives you all or nothing, so it's kinda manipulative like that. you don't care about vietnam half as much as [...]

    22. Given the lunatic self-importance of this book's first section (a third-person novel with the author as its hero) and some truly annoying prose tendencies (things in this book that are like other things are outnumbered by things that are "not unlike" other things by at least five to one, and Mailer has apparently never seen an authority figure that he couldn't best describe physically by assigning them a position on an American football team), the fact that "The Armies of Night" ends up being mo [...]

    23. Although I can find no ready reference to it, I believe this book was published, perhaps in serialized form, in a magazine like Harpers or the Atlantic (both of which I subscribed to back then). In any case, I recall reading it in such a format while still in high school, when the Pentagon demonstration was still a fresh memory. It was, I believe, the first full-length book I'd ever read by Norman Mailer, an author familiar to me from parental and grandparental bookshelves.

    24. The biggest load of over-rated, self indulgent drivel I have ever read. A total chore to read. Just delighted to have finished it so that I can leave it to gather dust on a bookshelf somewhere. It was so dire, it was actually annoying.

    25. Norman Mailer, uno de los escritores norteamericanos más celebrados de los últimos tiempos, se sumó a la corriente del “nuevo periodismo” con su obra “Los ejércitos de la noche” publicada en 1968. El libro narra los hechos ocurridos alrededor del 21 de octubre de 1967 en Washington D.C. cuando una multitud de cientos de miles de personas marcharon hasta las instalaciones del pentágono, como protesta contra la guerra de Vietnam.Nos ubicamos en Estados Unidos, justo después del llama [...]

    26. In this nonfiction novel, Mailer depicts the “Mailer” as a glowering, self-important drunk whose main objective in life is to drown in whiskey and public praise.By Mailer's own admission, his attendance at the 1967 March on the Pentagon is a concession to his moral opposition to the Vietnam War, which he would rather practice at posh cocktail parties that he attended. Reluctantly, he attends the march, flinging contempt in every direction: at the young, at the old, at radicals, and at himsel [...]

    27. History as a Novel From the outset, let us bring you news of your protagonist, with an account made by TIME about:"Washington's scruffy Ambassador Theater, normally a pad for psychedelic frolics, was the scene of an unscheduled scatological solo last week in support of the peace demonstrations. Its anti-star was author Norman Mailer, who proved even less prepared to explain Why Are We In Vietnam? So begins Norman Mailer's 'The Armies of the Night: History as a Novel, the Novel as History' which [...]

    28. During the run-up to the 2016 election and its aftermath, I found myself thinking about the mid-to-late 1960's, which, by many accounts, was the last period of great sociopolitical tumult in the U.S. How did we find our way out it? How did we stay afloat? As with any great challenge, personal or societal, the answers are found in the work of great writers who are adept at creating coherence out of something that is sprawling, overwhelming, traumatizing, and chaotic. I found this in Mailer's book [...]

    29. this is mailer at his strongest: politically insightful and self critical, his narcissism on full blast while his faculties for examining his self operate on all cylinders. at the crest of the radical student movement in 1968, armies of young politically active Americans marched on the Pentagon with the focus of shutting down the heart of the American war machine in response to the atrocities of the war in Vietnam. Mailer here catalogues that march from the inside and outside, using himself as a [...]

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