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.
Reviews of The Naked and the Dead
‘Mailer recorded every foul thought and word of his characters, wrote about ignorant, savage, primitive men. For maturity of viewpoint, for technical competence, and for stark dramatic power, The Naked and the Dead is an incredibly finished performance.’ New York Times
‘The best war novel to come out of the United States.’ The Times
‘Brutal, agonising, astonishingly thoughtful.’ Newsweek