Tough Guy: The Life of Norman Mailer


Product Details

$28.00  $26.04
Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Publish Date
6.36 X 9.49 X 1.17 inches | 1.33 pounds

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About the Author

Richard Bradford is Research Professor in English at Ulster University and Visiting Professor at the University of Avignon, France. He has published over thirty widely acclaimed books, including biographies of Philip Larkin, Alan Sillitoe, Kingsley Amis, George Orwell and a controversial portraiture of Patricia Highsmith. Bradford has written for The Spectator and The Sunday Times and has appeared on the Channel 4 series In Their Own Words: British Novelists.


"Bradford offers a solid sense that Mailer could be unpleasant." --Publishers Weekly

"British academic Bradford seems to thrive [...] when sniping, deriding perceived flaws of style and soul." --Kirkus Reviews

"absorbing [...] Bradford draws from myriad sources to craft an indelible portrait of the artist as a fascinating, never-boring man." --Booklist

"... the book's very existence attests to a more complicated reality. It would be naïve to suppose that the renewed attention on Mailer has nothing to do with the scandals attached to his name. It would also be naïve to pretend that he was not a great American writer." --The New Yorker

"... if this lively biography ends up being a damning speech for the prosecution, well, pugilistic old Norman is simply receiving a dose of his own medicine. You can imagine Mailer's ghost becoming suitably energised to rise from his sulphurous grave to box Bradford's lights out." --The Times

"compulsively readable...[a] solid multifaceted critique of Mailer" --The National Review

"... there are some interesting asides and neat apercus." --The SundayTelegraph

"Tough Guy: The Life of Norman Mailer brings the life of an epic personality down to earth for a modern-day re-evaluation. Author Richard Bradford writes of Mailer's storied life in a fair and objective manner, leaving the reader to judge Mailer's words and actions [...] Bradford's book is as fascinating and awe-inspiring as his subject" --City Book Review

"the story itself is so gripping (even jaw-dropping)" --Readers Digest

"the book [does a] careful investigation into the subtle, emotional aspects of power between men." --New Statesman

"Tough Guy adequately charts the controversies, the scandals, the successes, and the failures - in literature and in life - of its complicated subject" --The Washington Independent Review of Books

"A good illustration of the risks of elevating Mailer to sainthood is found in a new biography. Richard Bradford's Tough Guy: The Life of Norman Mailer is a slender volume that tends to summarize huge amounts of information in single pages... Bradford's hasty approach ... has the advantage of plainly and clearly stating Mailer's profound limitations...he has a gift for making Mailer look and sound preposterous -- and rightly so." - Washington Examiner

"Bradford's book has all the personal info you want to know..." - Truthdig

"'Tough Guy' is well-written and lurid, its subject a cautionary tale... [it] will hold your attention." - Pittsburg Post-Gazette

"[H]e has a penchant that's incredibly refreshing in the 21st century because it's so rare: he sometimes allows himself to dislike his subjects. This makes Tough Guy a bracing reading experience... his analyses are also superb... Norman Mailer would certainly have sued Richard Bradford over this book, and that should stand as its strongest recommendation." - Open Letters Review

"queasily compelling ... a colourful and bracing read ... memorably scathing" -The Business Post Ireland

"Tough Guy makes a sturdy case for Mailer as, if not a great guy, the author of era-defining books and a cultural force worth reckoning with... Veteran biographer Bradford reliably illuminates how Mailer's work reflected his life at the time... Bradford is unsparing in his criticism of Mailer." - Shelf Awareness