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Pulitzer Book Club Inclusion Guide


"Executioner's Song" by Norman Mailer



• First rainbow flag
• Johnsons establish BET
• Sioux refuse Black Hills reparation
• Make-A-Wish created • Census adds Asian American



Mailer was a leader in the New Journalism movement which embraces realism, deep exploration and participatory journalism. Prolific Mailer was a biographer, political reporter, and writer of non-fiction and fiction.


Featured Reader Wanted!

Featured Reader

– Share your key take-away about inclusion in this book in a sentence or two.
– Write a paragraph or two (up to 250 words) to describe your thoughts on exclusion/inclusion in the book, why you related or did not connect with the book, and why you think reading, inclusion and dialog about inclusion matter.
– Identify the name and website address of a cause you support with an inclusive mission.


Bio of Gary Gilmore, murderer who wants own execution


Horrific, graphically-rendered murders of Benny Bushnell, working a motel night shift, and Max Jensen, a cooperative gas station attendant, committed for $400 used truck payment.


A work of “Fiction” because Mailer called the book “A True Life Novel.” The book reads like a biography rather than a novel and is based entirely on fact; not an invented rework or fill-in of historical events.


Ridiculously long at 1136 pages/42 hours, including yucky explicit correspondence.


Reform. Address societal issues that cause crime, wrongful conviction, imprisonment, recidivism, and death row including, poverty, systemic racism, public education, housing, lack of support for single parents, employment opportunities, substance abuse, guns, mental illness and access to mental health counseling, and the experience of living among people who commit crimes.


Focus is on a white career criminal, his girlfriend/perhaps worst mother ever, relatives, the media, and the death penalty appeal process.


: Pizza party. You can invite only a few people but not the person you really love. Imagine you are going to be executed the next day.


“Let’s do it.”
-Gary Gilmore’s last words which inspired the creator of Nike’s famous slogan.


Somewhere depraved and depressing.


How can you, families of prisoners, and society make a difference in the causes of crime and the experience of prisoners?
Gilmore left prison with essentially no life or career skills after long stints (19 of Gary’s 35 years) in reform school and prison. Between release from prison and his murder arrest, Gary avoids charges for assault and car theft and was not caught for theft of guns (which included his murder weapon). Who is to blame for his crimes?
What type of interaction have you had with a person you know has spent time in jail or prison?
Gary pushes Nicole into an unsuccessful suicide pact while he is awaiting the death penalty. How do/should prisons address potential suicides and preventing drugs from entering a prison?
Where’s the line between fiction and non-fiction?


1982 You’re going to Utah, but not the good parts. Spend your time in trailer parks, motels, gas stations, used car lots, shoe repair stores, liquor stores, pawn shops, and, of course, prisons. movie
2000 American Masters Film; “Mailer on Mailer”


1982 TV movie
2000 American Masters Film; “Mailer on Mailer”


1998 “The Time of Our Time” Mailer’s career anthology

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