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The Armies of the Night
by Norman Mailer

Field-Tested by Todd Dills

in Parkersburg, West Virginia

…In which an oh-so-wonderfully- arrogant Norman Mailer writes about himself in the third person; in which Mailer, hopped up on straight bourbon and with coffee mug in-hand, leads a crowd of anti-war protesters into a cathartic frenzy; in which Mailer is arrested during the 1968 march on the Pentagon...need I say more? I read this book mostly in the passenger seat of a minivan while en route to South Carolina after a show in Parkersburg, West Virginia, where the punk-rock kids took over the Knights of Columbus hall, turning it into a veritable den of iniquity. Suffice it to say, I was so entranced by Mailer’s dead-on appraisal of ‘the state of things’ (the New Left then, and well, parallels to the present can’t help but be ever-prescient) that my navigational skills flew out the window. The minivan driver mistakenly took I-64, and we ended up two hours east of anywhere we needed to be. So gas up and go!

Todd Dills is the author of the novel, Sons of the Rapture, and editor of the literary broadsheet and online magazine THE2NDHAND. He lives in Birmingham, Alabama.

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