At the historic menstruum of twenty-five, Norman Mailer published The Naked as well as the Dead (1948), a novel based on the author’s experiences during the World War II. The rising of U.S. totalitarianism—a term intended to include all the powerful sociopolitical forces that main as well as inhibit private freedom—is ominously forecast inwards the novel, as well as would croak i of the author’s obsessive concerns.
In his prodigious output of fiction, essays, as well as journalism over the finally one-half century or so, Mailer has continued to explore the corrupting nature of U.S. mightiness structures, finding inwards the nation’s government, media, armed forces, commercial behemoths, as well as mass-market products the causes equally good equally the effects of a pervasive spiritual decrepitude.
As he implies inwards his novel Why Are We inwards Vietnam? (1967), totalitarianism’s depredations are evident both inwards private Americans, who lead maintain by as well as large croak incapable of coming together genuine tests of courage, as well as inwards authorities policy, which showed a similar cowardice past times launching a armed services crusade inwards Vietnam against an overmatched opponent.
Mailer’s involvement inwards the mightiness of powerful men to manipulate history, including the daily lives of average citizens, is prominent inwards most all his work. In An American Dream(1964), he suggests, rather presciently, the existence of a sinister, shadowy network of influence involving the highest levels of U.S. government, the Mafia, the CIA, the media, as well as large business. Mailer himself has shown a lifetime attraction to this shadowy world, confessing “it would non lead maintain been impossible for me to lead maintain spent my life inwards the CIA”.
However, the author’s style is to locate the ultimate origin of watershed events non inwards the cunning of specific potentates, simply inwards the mysterious combat of adept as well as evil inwards the universe—an unpredictable interaction, influenced past times as well as inwards plow influencing human lives, which inevitably generates uncanny “coincidences” whenever the stakes (personal, political, historical) are high.
Mailer’s The Executioner’s Song (1979), a partly fictionalized trouble concern human relationship of the finally few months of the life of convicted murderer Gary Gilmore, is peculiarly concerned alongside inexplicable patterns inwards the the world as well as the temptation to read pattern into supposedly random events.
This concern equally good permeates Mailer’s massive novel Harlot’s Ghost (1991), whose protagonist, a fictional fellow member of the CIA named Harry Hubbard, has firsthand noesis of 3 decades of mutual frigidity state of war espionage.
The CIA is represented equally existence involved inwards numerous unusual as well as domestic intrigues (including attempts, cosponsored past times the Mafia, on Fidel Castro’s life), piece Hubbard as well as others speculate on the possibility that to a greater extent than or less chemical factor inwards the way was responsible for organizing or roofing upwards the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Among other theories Mailer’s characters entertain (but create non claim to survive able to prove) is the notion that Marilyn Monroe’s expiry was a murder arranged either past times John or Robert Kennedy, or past times Jimmy Hoffa inwards an essay to frame the Kennedy brothers.
Mailer himself played an of import purpose inwards popularizing Kennedy assassination conspiracy theories inwards the 1960s, non to the lowest degree alongside his telephone outcry upwards for a novel committee to investigate the case, claiming he “would trust a committee headed past times Edmund Wilson earlier I trusted to a greater extent than or less other past times Earl Warren”. Mailer’s Oswald’s Tale: An American Mystery (1995) is a psychobiography of Kennedy’s alleged assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald.
Armed alongside voluminous query into Oswald’s life inwards the Soviet Union inwards the years earlier Kennedy’s death, including interviews alongside members of the KGB who kept the U.S. defector nether surveillance, Mailer weighs the evidence implicating the green suspects (the Mafia, the CIA, the KGB, pro- or anti-Castro zealots), as well as finally concludes that Oswald in all probability acted alone. Jack Ruby, the Dallas nightclub possessor whose murder of Oswald was captured on alive television, is equally good judged to lead maintain acted, inwards all likelihood, without external assistance.