Norman Mailer was one of the most famous writers of his generation. People who have never read a word that he wrote know who he was because of his fame as a novelist or journalist, or his notoriety because of his womanising, his rivalries with other writers, his appearances on television, his political outspokenness and his prominence as a leading intellectual of his era. A provocative chronicler of the second half of the twentieth century, both as a journalist and a novelist, works such as The Naked and the Deadand The Executioner's Songvividly define a moment in American history. J. Michael Lennon was authorised by Mailer to write his biography, and as such has had access to family and friends, and to unpublished documents and letters. Norman Mailer: A Double Lifereflects Mailer's dual identities: journalist and activist, devoted family man and notorious philanderer, intellectual and fighter, writer and public figure, Jew and atheist. Whether you admired him or loathed him, he was remarkable and unique. His was an astonishing life.