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Armies of the Night: History as a Novel, the Novel as History, The

mailer book variety partly

a novel by Norman Mailer, published in 1968. The novel is Mailer's on-the-spot report of the huge 1967 march on the Pentagon proclaiming against the Vietnam War, which plays off political protest against private satire and comedy. In exploring the relation of fiction to history, he employs a mode of fictionalized journalism known as the ‘new journalism’. The novel has a strictly defined sense of place and time, and the effects which register on the participant-protagonist occur within the given historical facts. The occasional use of other names for the narrator suggests a variety of behaviour—the Ruminant, the Beast, the Existentialist, the Historian, the Novelist, the General, the Protagonist. This improvisation of identities is partly a stylistic device for variety, and partly Mailer's accommodation to the pluralism of American society. The power of the book lies in his analytical writing—his observations of the behaviour of the soldiers, the demonstrators, and his own. The book won a Pulitzer Prize in 1969.

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