Why this book?
I first read The Executioner’s Song in my early twenties, and scenes from it still linger in my memory. Though Mailer takes fictional liberties, the narrative closely follows the true story of Gary Gilmore, a murderer and thief who met his end by firing squad in Utah State Prison. We (as a society) are often quick to judge and categorize “criminals,” though the line between people who’ve served time and those who haven’t is much fainter than most believe. Gilmore commits heinous crimes and he’s still human. Monsters aren’t born, they’re made, and this book does a great job exposing that creation story.
The Executioner's Song
Why should I read it?
5 authors picked The Executioner's Song as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.
What is this book about?
WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY ANDREW O'HAGAN
In the summer of 1976 Gary Gilmore robbed two men. Then he shot them in cold blood. For those murders Gilmore was sent to languish on Death Row - and could confidently expect his sentence to be commuted to life imprisonment. In America, no one had been executed for ten years.
But Gary Gilmore wanted to die, and his ensuing battle with the authorities for the right to do so made him into a world-wide celebrity - and ensured that his execution turned into the most gruesome media event of the decade.