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Fun, creepy fact: A few years after Mailer died, I went to a workshop at his house and somehow spent the week sleeping in the old man’s bed. Well, not in exactly. I couldn’t bring myself to get under the covers. But still, even after sleeping on top of his bed, my most personal, visceral experience with Mailer remains the first time I read The Armies of the Night, his groundbreaking account of the March on the Pentagon. It’s Mailer at the peak of his powers: capturing a moment by making himself the star and helping to create a genre in the process, a chutzpah colossus with the chops to back it up.





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