10 books like The Time of Our Time

By Norman Mailer,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The Time of Our Time. Shepherd is a community of 6,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The Executioner's Song

By Norman Mailer,

Book cover of The Executioner's Song

Mailer’s novels from the 1960s-2007 are notoriously challenging, and I’ve seen readers wanting to see what Mailer is about sometimes make the mistake of starting with one of his more difficult, convoluted novels—Ancient Evenings or Harlot’s Ghost, for example. But The Executioner’s Song is thought by many critics to be not only his best novel (winning his second Pulitzer Prize), but his most readable, despite its length. It recounts the story and ultimate execution in January of 1977 of Gary Gilmore, who murdered two men during his release from prison on parole. But what Mailer does is work outward from that basic fact to go beyond the media circus that surrounded the case and the execution to try to understand Gilmore, his girlfriend Nicole, and the whole American setting—particularly the American West—that defined their lives. 

Joan Didion’s wonderful review in the NYTBR said Mailer had written a book…

The Executioner's Song

By Norman Mailer,

Why should I read it?

6 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.


The Fight

By Norman Mailer,

Book cover of The Fight

One of the best sports books ever written? Judge for yourself, but I think it is certainly among the best. Even if you don’t like boxing or martial arts, you’ll enjoy this eminently readable book about “the rumble in the jungle” in Zaire between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman, two heroic athletes in conflict. Although there are moments of self-deprecating humor and Mailer’s usual philosophical concerns, Mailer focuses squarely on the two athletes, their training camps and trainers, the people around them, and the experience of being in Africa. And then of course there is the fight itself, described in vivid and inventive detail that I found is as riveting to other readers as it is to me. The philosophical/metaphysical concerns here are part and parcel of those Mailer developed through his sixty years as a writer, but they are introduced in an easily digestible style and seem to me…

The Fight

By Norman Mailer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Fight as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From one of the major innovators of New Journalism, Norman Mailer's The Fight is the real-life story of a clash between two of the world's greatest boxers, both in and out of the ring, published in Penguin Modern Classics.

Norman Mailer's The Fight focuses on the 1974 World Heavyweight Boxing Championship in Kinshasa, Zaire. Muhammad Ali met George Foreman in the ring. Foreman's genius employed silence, serenity and cunning. He had never been defeated. His hands were his instrument, and 'he kept them in his pockets the way a hunter lays his rifle back into its velvet case'. Together the…


The Naked and the Dead

By Norman Mailer,

Book cover of The Naked and the Dead

This book reaches deep inside the histories and personalities of a squad of American soldiers. It meticulously displays the differences between the men themselves while painting an unflinching picture of their reactions to combat and the virtual suicidal mission they are tasked with. The war in the Pacific as monumental conflict is brought to a cellular level. Simultaneously, different strata of class systems in the U.S. are explored through dramatizations of the men’s lives before the war. If you’re at all like me, it’s impossible not to find yourself among the squad members. 

The Naked and the Dead

By Norman Mailer,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Naked and the Dead as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


The Big Empty

By Norman Mailer, John Buffalo Mailer,

Book cover of The Big Empty: Dialogues on Politics, Sex, God, Boxing, Morality, Myth, Poker and Bad Conscience in America

Mailer published three nonfiction books near the end of his life to lay out his final take on issues he’d been pursuing his entire writing life and as a highly visible, often notorious, public intellectual: On God, Why Are We at War?—echoing his 1967 novel Why Are We in Vietnam?—and The Big Empty. I chose The Big Empty because the reader comes to understand where Mailer lands finally on so many issues he covered during his decades of political and societal journalism, with a special focus on democracy in America, its potential and its abiding threats.

The book is structured as a series of dialogues with his youngest son, John Buffalo Mailer, who in his introduction argues that such a dialogue with his father represents a necessary conversation among generations. Their topics include, among other pressing intergenerational concerns, the American presidency, endless war, American 21st-century politics,…

The Big Empty

By Norman Mailer, John Buffalo Mailer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Big Empty as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Questions are posed, writes Norman Mailer, "in the hope they will open into richer insights, which in turn will bring forth sharper questions. " In this series of conversations, John Buffalo Mailer, 27, poses a series of questions to his father, challenging the reflections and insights of the man who has dominated and defined much of American letters for the past sixty years. Their wide-ranging discussions take place over the course of a year, beginning in July 2004. Set against the backdrop of George W. Bush's re-election campaign and the war in Iraq, each considers what it means to live…

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

By Anita Loos,

Book cover of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

This novel is hilarious. When I first read it, I was jealous that I hadn't written itwhich is a silly feeling to have about a book that came out in the 1920s, I admit. It's a diary written by a blonde showgirl named Lorelei Lee, who uses her feminine wiles to get wealth from the gentlemen callers who want to "educate" her. Loralei isn't very smartthe diary is riddled with misspellings and confused assumptionsbut she has a kind of innocence and practicality that keeps you rooting for her throughout. With her friend Dorothy, a brunette, she arranges it so that everything always works out in her favor, which usually includes lots and lots of diamond jewelry. 

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

By Anita Loos,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Gentlemen Prefer Blondes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes: The Intimate Diary of a Professional Lady (1925) is a novel by Anita Loos. Adapted from a series of stories written for Harper's Bazaar, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes was an astounding success for Loos, who had mired for over a decade as a screenwriter in Hollywood and New York. An immediate bestseller, the novel earned praise from leading writers and critics of its time, and has been adapted several times for theater and film. Recognized as a defining text of the Jazz Age, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is an absolute classic dubbed "the great American novel" by Edith Wharton.…

Masters of Starlight

By David Fahey, Linda Rich,

Book cover of Masters of Starlight: Photographers in Hollywood

We call them 'movies' as a nickname for 'moving pictures,' and the immense importance of the 'pictures' part of that phrase is underscored by this lavish and gorgeous book celebrating the work of Hollywood's classic glamour photographers. In brief lives and portfolios of the likes of George Hurrell, Peter Stackpole, Phil Stern, Sid Avery, and Ruth Orkin, we see hundreds of photos of such icons as Marilyn Monroe, John Wayne, James Dean, Judy Garland, Marlon Brando, and Shirley MacLaine on the set and off, posed for sumptuous portraits or grabbing coffee and a smoke between takes, in iconic images and remarkable candids. David Fahey and Linda Rich, important photographers themselves, are ideal guides to this gallery, pointing out aspects of the photographers' technique and craft without losing sight of the remarkable subjects of these memorable shots.

Masters of Starlight

By David Fahey, Linda Rich,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Masters of Starlight as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Brings together the work of 44 Hollywood photographers.

The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe

By J. Randy Taraborrelli,

Book cover of The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe

There have been many books written about Marilyn Monroe, and I have paid tribute to her in my own celebrity book but I feel that The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe best explains the complex life of the ultimate sex symbol. Author J. Randy Taraborrelli's biography reveals that Marilyn, whose grandmother and mother were both committed to mental asylums, lived with the fear of possible impending madness.

I was also interested in details of Marilyn's relationship with the Kennedys—Bobby, Jack, and Pat Lawford Kennedy. These could have played a big part in her death.

The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe

By J. Randy Taraborrelli,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Joe DiMaggio

By Richard Ben Cramer,

Book cover of Joe DiMaggio: The Hero's Life

Both for sheer inspiration and for studying the craft of biography, I read this book at least five times while researching and writing Spitter. Absorbing, controversial, and courageous, this book offers a deeply disturbing look into the rise and fall of the most famous baseball icon of the twentieth century—and ‘the loneliest hero we ever had.” DiMaggio is rendered so vividly you almost want to look away. The book taught me the supreme importance of building the character, starting on page one, and of sustaining and expanding central and supplementary themes, chapter by chapter. It is also, simply put, a romping good read. If Spitter lives up to even one-tenth of this book’s brilliance, I would die a happy biographer.

Joe DiMaggio

By Richard Ben Cramer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Joe DiMaggio as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A groundbreaking, breathtaking biography of one of the Century's great icons, the late Joe Dimaggio, from the acclaimed Pulitzer Prize winning author of the bestseller WHAT IT TAKES. Few celebrities have captivated the sport's world for as long, or with such depth, as Joe DiMaggio. Here, for the first time, is the definitive story of his life, as told by the award-winning journalist Richard Ben Cramer. In Cramer's hands, DiMaggio's complicated life, from the first game with the Yankees in the 1930's, his marriage to Marilyn Monroe and his rise to hero status, becomes a story of the media, the…

Conversations with Wilder

By Cameron Crowe,

Book cover of Conversations with Wilder

Some Like It Hot, The Apartment, Double Indemnity, Sunset Boulevard… Billy Wilder is my favourite filmmaker. I like the elegance of his storytelling and his bittersweet wit. In Wilder’s final years, Cameron Crowe conducted a series of interviews with the writer-director. From fleeing Nazi Germany to his admiration for Ernest Lubitsch, from the trials of working with Marilyn Monroe or Raymond Chandler to the joys of collaborating with Barbara Stanwyck, Jack Lemmon, and Charles Laughton, from his successes to his failures and on to the secret of what makes a good writing partner, Wilder needs little prodding to tell movie-making tales from Berlin to Paris to Hollywood.

Conversations with Wilder

By Cameron Crowe,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Conversations with Wilder as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


JFK and the Unspeakable

By James W. Douglass,

Book cover of JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters

Written in a deeply personal, even spiritual manner that incorporates a vast amount of research, this book moved Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to visit the assassination site in Dallas for the first time more than four decades after the tragedy. Douglass particularly investigates Lee Harvey Oswald’s involvement with American intelligence agencies and writes in a highly readable style that appeals to both average readers and researchers. He provides perspective on not just how Kennedy was killed, but why, as well as why the assassination is important to continue to research to this day.

JFK and the Unspeakable

By James W. Douglass,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked JFK and the Unspeakable as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The acclaimed book Oliver Stone called "the best account I have read of this tragedy and its significance," JFK and the Unspeakable details not just how the conspiracy to assassinate President John F. Kennedy was carried out, but WHY it was done...and why it still matters today.

At the height of the Cold War, JFK risked committing the greatest crime in human history: starting a nuclear war. Horrified by the specter of nuclear annihilation, Kennedy gradually turned away from his long-held Cold Warrior beliefs and toward a policy of lasting peace. But to the military and intelligence agencies in the…

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Interested in Marilyn Monroe, the Cold War, and Watergate?

6,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Marilyn Monroe, the Cold War, and Watergate.

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