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This is a Pulitzer Prize-winning account of murderer Gary Gilmore's desire to die. In the summer of 1976 Gilmore robbed two men and then shot them in cold blood. No one had been executed in America for ten years but Gilmore, rather than have his sentence commuted to life imprisonment, wanted to die, and his ensuing battle with the authorities for the right to do so made him a worldwide celebrity and ensured that his execution turned into a gruesome media event.
Norman Mailer was born in New Jersey in January 1923 and after graduating from Harvard, served in the US army from 1944-1946. His first novel, The Naked and the Dead, was published to immediate critical acclaim in 1948 - and was hailed by Anthony Burgess as 'the best war novel to emerge from the United States'. He went on to publish both fiction and non-fiction, his books including Barbary Shore (1951), Advertisements for Myself (1959), The Presidential Papers (1963), An American Dream (1964), Armies of the Night (1968), Ancient Evenings (1983), and Tough Guys Don't Dance (1983). The Executioner's Song, first published in 1979, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1980 - an award which Mailer won twice during his writing career. Norman Mailer died in November 2007.