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January 30 , 2008

The Armies of the Night

History as a Novel, the Novel as History


The Armies of the Night chronicles the famed October 1967 March on the Pentagon, in which all of the old and new Left—hippies, yuppies, Weathermen, Quakers, Christians, feminists, and intellectuals—came together to protest the Vietnam War. Alongside his contemporaries, Mailer went, witnessed, participated, suffered, and then wrote one of the most stark and intelligent appraisals of the 1960s: its myths, heroes, and demons. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award and a cornerstone of New Journalism, The Armies of the Night is not only a fascinating foray into that mysterious terrain between novel and history, fiction and nonfiction, but also a key chapter in the autobiography of Norman Mailer—who, in this nonfiction novel, becomes his own great character, letting history in all its complexity speak through him.

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