An American Dream

An American Dream

by Norman Mailer


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In this wild battering ram of a novel, which was originally published to vast controversy in 1965, Norman Mailer creates a character who might be a fictional precursor of the philosopher-killer he would later profile in The Executioner’s Song. As Stephen Rojack, a decorated war hero and former congressman who murders his wife in a fashionable New York City high-rise, runs amok through the city in which he was once a privileged citizen, Mailer peels away the layers of our social norms to reveal a world of pure appetite and relentless cruelty. One part Nietzsche, one part de Sade, and one part Charlie Parker, An American Dream grabs the reader by the throat and refuses to let go.
Praise for An American Dream
“Perhaps the only serious New York novel since The Great Gatsby.”—Joan Didion, National Review
“A devil’s encyclopedia of our secret visions and desires . . . the expression of a devastatingly alive and original creative mind.”Life
“A work of fierce concentration . . . perfectly, and often brilliantly, realistic [with] a pattern of remarkable imaginative coherence and intensity.”Harper’s
“At once violent, educated, and cool . . . This is our history as Hawthorne might have written it.”Commentary
Praise for Norman Mailer
“[Norman Mailer] loomed over American letters longer and larger than any other writer of his generation.”The New York Times
“A writer of the greatest and most reckless talent.”The New Yorker
“Mailer is indispensable, an American treasure.”The Washington Post
“A devastatingly alive and original creative mind.”Life
“Mailer is fierce, courageous, and reckless and nearly everything he writes has sections of headlong brilliance.”The New York Review of Books
“The largest mind and imagination [in modern] American literature . . . Unlike just about every American writer since Henry James, Mailer has managed to grow and become richer in wisdom with each new book.”Chicago Tribune
“Mailer is a master of his craft. His language carries you through the story like a leaf on a stream.”The Cincinnati Post

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780812986136
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/17/2015
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 446,999
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Born in 1923 in Long Branch, New Jersey, and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Norman Mailer was one of the most influential writers of the second half of the twentieth century and a leading public intellectual for nearly sixty years. He is the author of more than thirty books. The Castle in the Forest, his last novel, was his eleventh New York Times bestseller. His first novel, The Naked and the Dead, has never gone out of print. His 1968 nonfiction narrative, The Armies of the Night, won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. He won a second Pulitzer for The Executioner’s Song and is the only person to have won Pulitzers in both fiction and nonfiction. Five of his books were nominated for National Book Awards, and he won a lifetime achievement award from the National Book Foundation in 2005. Mr. Mailer died in 2007 in New York City.


Provincetown, Massachusetts, and New York, New York

Date of Birth:

January 31, 1923

Date of Death:

November 10, 2007

Place of Birth:

Long Branch, New Jersey


B.S., Harvard University, 1943; Sorbonne, Paris, 1947-48

Read an Excerpt

I MET Jack Kennedy in November, 1946. We were both war heroes, and both of us had just been elected to Congress. We went out one night on a double date and it turned out to be a fair evening for me. I seduced a girl who would have been bored by a diamond as big as the Ritz.

Excerpted from "An American Dream"
by .
Copyright © 2015 Norman Mailer.
Excerpted by permission of Random House Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"A writer of the greatest and most reckless talents."
The New Yorker

"A devastatingly alive and original creative mind."

"A work of fierce concentration. . . . Perfectly, and often brilliantly, realistic [with] . . . a pattern of remarkable imaginative coherence and intensity."

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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An American Dream 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
dhtrimble More than 1 year ago
While reading this book, I felt many difference feelings and emotions mingle and then, in some cases drop me again. The author was obsessed with the sences, especially smells. His discriptions were very clear and in some cases shocking. I was not expecting the story that unfolded before me. Our book club is reading this novel for our monthly selection and many of us were quite shocked, especially in the beginning. Some of my personal reactions were swings of mood, unlike any other book that I've experienced. I did not necessarily enjoy the book, but I have to say because of the writer's skill at discription, I was not dissapointed in the intellectual quality of the read. The Character development was perfect, the plot seemed to ebb and flow in my imagination. Sometimes engrossing me and other times boring me to death. I can say I am glad I read this selection, because of the mixture of feelings the author managed to pull from me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
i first picked up this book after reading a Jim Morrison biography in which he declared An American Dream & Norman Mailer a major influence. It shows throughout this book. From the first chapter you actually feel yourself & your mind going 110 m.p.h. The book does a wonderful balancing act (if it can be called that) between the linear story & the insane (or not so) things going on in our main character's head. I personally felt a close bond with this book because of recurring dreams i have of being 'sweated down' by the cops at a station somewhere. I honestly couldn't put it down. There's also great underlying telepathy/deja vu themes throughout, & you'll find yourself flipping to earlier chapters to check it out. Possibly my most favorite thriller novel. (Also, for Doors fans, notice the title of the last chapter?...'cobra on my left leopard on my right'...)
Guest More than 1 year ago
Imagine identifying with a cold-blooded killer. I mean really feeling something for the guy. Mailer pulls it off. You'll find yourself rooting for the main character, wanting to see him get away with it. The pathos hits you from a most discreet and surprising angle. A must for any person who appreciates excellent writing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When a gun culture pursues happiness...