Norman Mailer was one of those writers that took literature by storm and then went and did the same in the field of journalism, taking it to literary heights. He was there in the 60s when everything happened. He was there with Tom Wolfe and Truman Capote when they all began experimenting a strange mix of literature in journalism, or journalism in literature.
Everybody knows Mailer as the author of The Naked and the Dead (1948) about his experience as a sargeant in the Philippines during WWII. Everybody knows he won, not one, but two Pulitzer Prizes and everybody knows he was a militant activist all throughout his life. He raised his voice against the Vietnam War back in the 60s and in the 80s he was bold enough to say that the Soviet Union was not the Cold War monster everybody thought but a weakening Third World country whose only power was the power of fear.
I, on my part, would like, today, one day after his demise, remember him for his great journalism, a New Journalism (as was baptised by Tom Wolfe) that we now call Literary Journalism. This new journalism that he used in Armies of the Night (1968) and in The Executioner's Song (1979), the first about the Vietnam War, the second about an execution in Utah, is naturally based on in-depth reporting, but it reads like a novel to an extent that we, the readers, no longer can separate fact from fiction. It is real events portrayed under the light of literature.
Mailer deserves his statute, one he won during his long life of controversy, and the one he will get post-mortem. I honour him for the journalist he was. RIP.