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The Executioner's Song

Narrated by: Maxwell Hamilton
Length: 42 hrs and 37 mins
Categories: Non-fiction, True Crime
4.5 out of 5 stars (16 ratings)

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Summary

Norman Mailer's Pulitzer Prize-winning and unforgettable classic about convicted killer Gary Gilmore now in audio. 

Arguably the greatest book from America's most heroically ambitious writer, The Executioner's Song follows the short, blighted life of Gary Gilmore who became famous after he robbed two men in 1976 and killed them in cold blood. After being tried and convicted, he immediately insisted on being executed for his crime. To do so, he fought a system that seemed intent on keeping him alive long after it had sentenced him to death. And that fight for the right to die is what made him famous.  

Mailer tells not only Gilmore's story, but those of the men and women caught in the web of his life and drawn into his procession toward the firing squad. All with implacable authority, steely compassion, and a restraint that evokes the parched landscape and stern theology of Gilmore's Utah. The Executioner's Song is a trip down the wrong side of the tracks to the deepest source of American loneliness and violence. It is a towering achievement-impossible to put down, impossible to forget.

©1980 Norman Mailer (P)2018 Hachette Audio

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

...an amazing work....

...having, sadly, been living next door to a sociopathic narcissist for 20 years, i was once again able to advance my own understanding of complicated personality disorders....while being taken on an amazing journey in literature. unlike my neighbor, or should i say through the knowledge gained from being targeted by her warped mind, i was able to feel gary's potential and humor and pain...while still holding on to the believe that no one has the right to cause havoc in other peoples lives without facing justice....and so, all one can do when encountering these people is to stay away....sad....

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    5 out of 5 stars

Entertaining to the end

Firstly if you are listening on speakers make sure there are no children or anyone of a delicate disposition around!

It is very good, very interesting. There is no spoiler here but at the end there is a most bizarre disclaimer about it being fiction and similarity to any living person to any of the characters portrayed is purely co-incidental - what?! Presumably the publisher got cold feet and decided they had better put that in to try and cover themselves at the end!

That said as you listen you wonder how some of the events and dialogue has been sourced, especially prior to Gilmore's arrest when he is out free?

But highly enjoyable and thoroughly recommended.

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    4 out of 5 stars

OK but very long

I thought some of the dialogue was repetitive and made the book unnecessarily long.

Good story and well written by Mailer.

1 person found this helpful

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  • laniferous
  • 28-07-18

WAITED YRS FOR AUDIOBOOK, TERRIBLE NARRATION!

I have *zero* idea what audible was thinking producing and/or buying this reading. Is the man cold reading? Is he a robot??!! Bizarre pauses and inflection, it's outrageous that I waited literally years for audible to have this title, and now I'm returning it after a few hours. The only other book I've returned to audible was ANOTHER horrendous Norman mailer reading. .....and it's not cause I don't like the story, I read them both before listening to the audio. Welp, here is another subpar offering ill be returning. PATHETIC. You have many average or poor narrations, audible. That's unacceptable. Do better!

47 people found this helpful

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  • Kelli Stone
  • 28-08-18

Helpful Hint for Those Suffering Thru This Narr

In complete transparency, I haven't yet finished this book I'm about half way through it. The story is riveting. The book is so well written. Unfortunately the narrator is almost impossible to listen to. Other reviewers have captured my thoughts about him so I won't repeat them here. Here's some good news though. If you're using the Audible app, you can increase the narration speed up to 1.25 and it's better. It eliminates the ill placed - I guess intended to be - dramatic pauses and even helps a bit with the odd voice inflections. Doesn't do a thing for the mispronunciations though. I guess Scott Brick or some of the other masters weren't available for this Pulitzer Prize winner.....???? Sooooooo disappointed after waiting on this book for so long.

27 people found this helpful

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  • W Perry Hall
  • 21-05-18

Pulitzer-winner spoiled by numskulled narration

I'm not going to waste my time or yours with another rant about yet another case of an audiobook publisher's clear disregard for the greatness of a book--such as THE EXECUTIONER'S SONG--in refusing to hire a narrator who would rate even a decent job in the reading.

The mispronunciations in this audiobook are staggering. The last straws, ironically for me, came 23 hours in with SEVERAL references to the blowhard self-promoter Geraldo Rivera--using a hard G as with the word "gist" or "joke," as in Jeraldo Rivera, instead of the silent G for Geraldo. Unbelievable!

The ignorance of the narrator and the audiobook's director of the correct pronunciation of such simple words is stupefying. What a shame!

Writing a real review of the book's substance would, to my mind, countenance this type of callousness toward, and insult to the intelligence of, other Audible customers and me.

45 people found this helpful

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  • VanLivingScooterUser
  • 12-07-18

Great book, weak performance

The reader doesn’t know how to pronounce many words, including famous names of people and places. Stress is put on words at random and not in keeping with the meaning of the sentence they are in. It’s almost like listening to a robot read, though he does a consistent job with voicing the various characters who are quoted.

24 people found this helpful

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  • Bill
  • 09-08-18

Good Listen

Don't know why there was so much hate in the reviews of the narrator. Yes, it could have been edited better, but I think he did a great job.

10 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for Ann
  • Ann
  • 23-12-18

An extraordinary book

This is an unabridged audiobook of Mailer's book which won a Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction in the late '70's. It's written in the style of New Journalism and is a very long and detailed account of events surrounding the execution of Gary Gilmore by firing squad in Utah. For those of us who remember this era and are familiar with the voice Mailer had given these Western speakers, the young California narrator does a reasonably good job. Local names and places such as Kanab are sometimes mispronounced. This is not a book for the squeamish.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • night owl
  • 04-06-18

Still 5 Stars

I still have to give this five stars despite the imperfect narration. This outstanding book is more than worth ones time and a credit. It may not be for everyone. It touches real life like no other story.The unconditional love of Gary's family is unbelievable. The narrator doesn't convey th e charm and charisma Gilmore must of had, but there aren't many Tommy Lee Jones out there. I don't go along wit the system not giving Gary a chance.He never gave himself a chance. His alcoholism played a part in him not getting away with things and not working well for long when give the opportunity. I'm blown away by Nicoles honesty. Besides her promiscuity , She comes across as not too bright and a bit lazy.Of course these are a result of sexual abuse and depression. I found myself really liking her and caring about her. All the other characters are real people I became attached. I'm not sure if this this is an anti death penalty book.I don't think it's meant to be. If so it didn't work with me. I think the death penalty is unfairly and over used. However Gary Gilmore had it coming. Also there are things worse than death.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Kelly
  • 28-02-19

Mispronounced names drive me a bit crazy.

I read this one as part of my personal challenge to read all of the Pulitzer prize winners. Although it was good I cannot say that I loved it, and did not like it nearly as much as I liked Capote's [book:In Cold Blood|168642]. This one is obviously very well researched, and I appreciated that it has a very real and accurate feel. Unfortunately I thought it was much too long. If it were cut by 1/3 it would still be 600+ pages and in my opinion would be far stronger. At times I just wanted to hit fast forward.

When a person is hired to read an audiobook one of the first things they should do is learn to pronounce words and names in the book. Mr. Hamilton mispronounced both the name of the angel Moroni -- a very important name in the Mormon faith, and the name of Geraldo Rivera! Over and over and over again. Ugh!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Al Horrigan
  • 08-02-19

There When It Happened

I moved to Park City, Utah just as this was going on and over time got to know a few of the characters and regularly watched many of the TV reporters mentioned. The story was really good the narrator is not so good but a previous reviewer suggested listening at 1.25 speed and that did in fact help. What was difficult for someone who knew the places and some of the people was how the narrator butchered the pronunciation of several of the characters and locations. Like the name Dick Giauque it’s pronounced Jewk and the narrator’s mispronunciations was like chalk on a blackboard.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Fala Roosevelt
  • 18-07-18

Maxwell Hamilton mispronounces multiple words

query; corollary; piqued

And I'm only halfway through. But it's too good a story to pass up. And I have a long drive ahead of me.

uneducated narrator; shoddy editing.

7 people found this helpful