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.
Billed as a true life novel, The Executioner’s Song won the 1980 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
‘A deeply unsettling account of a particular ordeal that suggests larger questions: the moralities of power’s ends and means, the character of revolutionary fanaticism and the indecipherable humanity that flickers within it…by turns evocative, wise and crisscrossed by fury.’ New York Times Book Review
‘A great writer: in the utterly enthralling story of Gary Gilmore’s life and crimes Norman Mailer takes one as deeply into the criminal mind as it is possible to get.’ Alan Sillitoe
‘A harrowing narrative, worthy of a novel by Graham Greene or John le Carre… [It] possesses the indelible power of a survivor’s testimony’ New York Times