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Norman Mailer - Iraq and the American Right

Complete video at: Internationally acclaimed author and journalist Norman Mailer discusses his views on national pride, the Iraq war, and American Neoconservatives. This excerpt is taken from a program in which Norman Mailer talks with authors Gunter Grass and Andrew O'Hagan on the topic of "The 20th Century on Trial," and was recorded in collaboration with the New York Public Library. ----- The New York Public Library presents "The 20th Century on Trial" with Norman Mailer and Gunter Grass. Born in the 1920s, Gunter Grass and Norman Mailer went on to become grand men of letters. They witnessed the 20th century at close quarters. At the center of each writer's consciousness is the role of their respective countries in World War II and the legacy of violence and guilt that created the Cold War. Yet as stylists these two novelists appeared to internalize the great forces of their times: the appeal of totalitarianism and the cult of celebrity, the struggle for national definition and the psychology of sex. Mailer and Grass set out to create revolutions in the consciousness of their times, and now might be the moment to ask how the 20th century itself emerges from their work. What was that century? What would they write for its epitaph? Nobel Prize-Winner Gunter Grass's memoir "Peeling the Onion" takes him back to his wartime childhood and adolescence - it is a searing book that provides evidence on behalf of the self-accusing. Norman Mailer's latest novel, "The Castle in the Forest," is his take on Hitler's own youth. These two great writers have come full circle, to the same place and time, and their creativity puts the 20th century itself on trial - The New York Public Library Norman Mailer (1923 - 2007) was born to a Jewish family in Long Branch, New Jersey. He was brought up in Brooklyn, New York, graduated from Boys' High School and when he was only sixteen was admitted to Harvard University in 1939, where he studied aeronautical engineering. At the university, he became interested in writing and published his first story when he was 18. Mailer was drafted into the Army in World War II and served in the South Pacific. In 1948, just before enrolling in the Sorbonne in Paris, he published a book that made him world-famous: The Naked and the Dead, based on his personal experiences during World War II. It was hailed by many as one of the best American novels to come out of the war years and named one of the "100 best novels in English language" by the Modern Library. Other famous works include: The Presidential Papers (1963), An American Dream (1965), Why Are We in Vietnam? (1967), Armies of the Night (1968, awarded a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award), Miami and the Siege of Chicago (1968), Of a Fire on the Moon (1970), The Prisoner of Sex (1971), Marilyn (1973), The Fight (1975), The Executioner's Song (1979, awarded a Pulitzer Prize), Ancient Evenings (1983), Harlot's Ghost (1991), Oswald's Tale (1995), and The Castle in the Forest (2007). In 1968 he received a George Polk Award for his reporting in Harper's Magazine. Norman Mailer passed away on November 10, 2007, at the age of 84.
Length: 05:17


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