> Skip to content
  • Published: 15 July 2017
  • ISBN: 9780399591754
  • Imprint: Random House US Group
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 208
  • RRP: $36.99

Why Are We in Vietnam?

A Novel



A gripping coming-of age story set during a hunting trip in the Alaskan wilderness from one of America’s most incisive writers.

“It is impossible to walk away from this novel without being sharply reminded of the fact that Norman Mailer is a writer of extraordinary ability.”—Chicago Tribune

Featuring a new foreword by Mailer scholar Maggie McKinley

Published nearly twenty years after Norman Mailer’s fiction debut, The Naked and the Dead, this acclaimed novel further solidified the author’s stature as one of the most important figures in contemporary American literature. Ranald “D. J.” Jethroe, Texas’s most precocious teenager, recounts a brutal hunting trip he took to Alaska—in a story of fathers and sons, myth and masculinity, character and corruption. Both entertaining and profound, Why Are We in Vietnam? is an exceptional, timeless work awaiting discovery by a new generation of readers.

Praise for Why Are We in Vietnam?

“A book of great integrity. All the old qualities are here: Mailer’s remarkable feeling for the sensory event, the detail, ‘the way it was,’ his power and energy.”—The New York Review of Books

“A tour de force, a treatise on human nature.”—The Dallas Morning News

“A brilliant piece of writing.”—Newsweek

“Original, courageous, and provocative.”—The New York Times

  • Published: 15 July 2017
  • ISBN: 9780399591754
  • Imprint: Random House US Group
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 208
  • RRP: $36.99

About the author

Norman Mailer

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 has been hailed as 'the best war novel to emerge from the United States' (Anthony Burgess).

He has subsequently published both fiction and non-fiction and his books include 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 has won twice during his writing career.

Norman Mailer was born in 1923 and went to Harvard when he was sixteen. He majored in engineering, but it was while he was at university that he became interested in writing; he published his first story when he was eighteen. After graduating he served during the war in the Philippines with the Twelfth Armoured Cavalry regiment from Texas; those were the years that formed The Naked and the Dead (1948). His other books include Barbary Shore (1951), The Deer Park (1955), Advertisements for Myself (1959), Deaths for the Ladies, a volume of poetry (1962), The Presidential Papers (1963), An American Dream (1964), Why Are We in Vietnam? (1967), The Armies of the Night (1968), Miami and the Siege of Chicago (1968), A Fire on the Moon (1970), The Prisoner of Sex (1971), Marilyn (1973), Some Honourable Men (1976), Genius and Lust - A Journey Through the Writings of Henry Miller (1976), A Transit to Narcissus (1978), The Executioner's Song (1979) and Tough Guys Don't Dance (1983). The Deer Park has been adapted into a play and was successfully profuced off Broadway. He also directed four films.

In 1955 Norman Mailer co-founded the Village Voice, and he was the editor of Dissent from 1952 until 1963. For his part in demonstrations against the war in Vietnam he was gaoled in 1967. He was President of PEN (US chapter) from 1984 to 1986 and was winner of the National Book Award for Arts and Letters in 1969 and of the Pulitzer Prize twice, once in 1969 and again in 1980.

Norman Mailer was married six times and had nine children. He died in November 2007.

Also by Norman Mailer

See all