1968. The Vietnam War was raging. President Lyndon Johnson, facing a challenge in his own Democratic Party from the maverick antiwar candidate Eugene McCarthy, announced that he would not seek a second term. In April, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated and riots broke out in inner cities throughout America. Bobby Kennedy was killed after winning the California primary in June. In August, Republicans met in Miami, picking the little-loved Richard Nixon as their candidate, while in September, Democrats in Chicago backed the ineffectual vice president, Hubert Humphrey. TVs across the country showed antiwar protesters filling the streets of Chicago and the police running amok, beating and arresting demonstrators and delegates alike.
In Miami and the Siege of Chicago, Norman Mailer, America’s most protean and provocative writer, brings a novelist’s eye to bear on the events of 1968, a decisive year in modern American politics, from which today’s bitterly divided country arose.