Synopses & Reviews
1968. The Vietnam War was raging. President Lyndon Johnson, facing a challenge in his own Democratic Party from the maverick antiwar candidate Eugene McCarthy, announced that he would not seek a second term. In April, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated and riots broke out in inner cities throughout America. Bobby Kennedy was killed after winning the California primary in June. In August, Republicans met in Miami, picking the little-loved Richard Nixon as their candidate, while in September, Democrats in Chicago backed the ineffectual vice president, Hubert Humphrey. TVs across the country showed antiwar protesters filling the streets of Chicago and the police running amok, beating and arresting demonstrators and delegates alike.
In Miami and the Siege of Chicago, Norman Mailer, America's most protean and provocative writer, brings a novelist's eye to bear on the events of 1968, a decisive year in modern American politics, from which today's bitterly divided country arose.
"Don't skim...if you dash your way through Miami and the Siege of Chicago, Mailer's masterful account of the upheaval that occurred 40 years ago when Republicans and Democrats met in those two cities, there to select their presidential nominees, you'll miss a lot. First published in 1968, and reissued earlier this month by New York Review Books, Mailer's report glows with descriptions of the people and the places whose permanent identities were forged in the hot furnace of that tragic, fateful year. To understand 1968, you must read Mailer." Chicago Tribune
"[Miami and the Siege of Chicago] often reads like a good, old-fashioned novel in which suspense, character, plot revelations, and pungently describable action abound....Mailer has created a fresh entente between the personal mode and the public record....Simply, he has enlarged the territories of language, something the very best writers have always done for us." Jack Richardson, The New York Review of Books
"Norman Mailer's Miami and the Siege of Chicago...analyzed events inside and beyond the convention hall with its author's characteristic, and in this case perfectly appropriate, blend of intellectual grandiosity and journalistic acumen." A.O. Scott, The New York Times
"One of the era's definitional books." The Nation
"Dazzling accounts of the Republican and Democratic party conventions of 1968." Newsday
"This is an excellent account of the conventions...Mailer sets the scene sensually like Dickens...his vignettes have imperial authority." The New York Times Book Review
About the Author
Norman Mailer (1923-2007) was born in Long Branch, New Jersey, and grew up in Brooklyn, New York. In 1955 he co-founded The Village Voice. He is the author of more than thirty books, including The Naked and the Dead; The Armies of the Night, for which he won a National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize; The Executioner's Song, for which he won his second Pulitzer Prize; Harlot's Ghost; Oswald's Tale; The Gospel According to the Son; and The Castle in the Forest.