THE NAKED AND THE DEAD by Norman Mailer

THE NAKED AND THE DEAD

KIRKUS REVIEW

A brilliant book -- but one that makes such harrowing reading, and which is written with such intensity, such bald realism, such unrestrained accuracy of detail in speech and thought, that all but the tough-skinned will turn from it, feeling reluctant to look again on the baring of men's inner beings under stress of jungle warfare. Remember Peter Bowman's Beach Red (Random House- 1945)? This in magnified form recalls that intensity of living each moment of the life of a patrol on a Pacific Island. The "naked" are the leaders, almost blind to the actuality of the men they are supposed to lead, self-seeking, ambitious; the "dead" are the foot soldiers, resenting authority, fearful, driven by inner urges of spite and jealousy and boredom and bravado and greed and the ever-mounting tensions of starved sex. And the story takes form- slowly, but with cumulative effect -- through dialogue, bits of drama, interplay between the men, and the men and their officers, and through flashbacks in taut prose, streamlined to modern requirements, pen sketches of the backgrounds, ranging from Boston's Beacon Hill to the slums and gutters of America's cities. One by one the men take form as individuals; together they present an assortment of human problems, social problems. An unpleasant experience, but one that makes an unforgettable impression. Watch it.
Pub Date: May 6th, 1948
ISBN: 0312265050
Page count: 740pp
Publisher: Rinehart
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1948




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