A Mysterious Country: The Grace and Fragility of American Democracy
Arcade, January 2023. Hardcover. New. Item #290416
Published on the centenary of Norman Mailer's birth, a timely and urgent call to preserve our democracy
From his bestselling first novel, The Naked and the Dead, to his last work, American democracy was a lifelong project for Norman Mailer. It was his grand theme. Nearly all of his books touched on the pros and cons, the strengths and weaknesses, the grace (to use his word) and fragility of the American experiment as well as the threats to it--from autocratic leaders and a complacent citizenry, from violent protest and radical conservative assaults on it, from "soft fascism" and the ills of racism and poverty. In the sharp and impassioned language of a political Cassandra and with the eye of a novelist and journalist, he explored the underlying psychological, social, and economic causes of the country's fragile polity and offered urgent prescriptions for its reinvigoration. A Mysterious Country is a carefully selected collection of Mailer's most incisive--and sometimes remarkably prophetic--commentary on American democracy and what must be done to safeguard it. The anthology draws on both published and unpublished sources, from Mailer's great works of narrative nonfiction and novels as well as essays, interviews, letters, speeches, and talk show appearances. It includes pungent remarks on every president from FDR through George W. Bush, as well as correspondence with several. Throughout, what shines through is Mailer's passion for our democratic project--as well as the freedom that comes with it--and a keen awareness of its potential for failure, its virtues, and what is required of us to keep it intact.