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Norman Mailer, Nina Wiener, J. Michael Lennon
Norman Mailer. JFK. Superman Comes to the Supermarket
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A time for greatness
An inside look into John F. Kennedy’s 1960 campaign for America
With his Hollywood good looks, boundless enthusiasm, and mesmeric media presence, John F. Kennedy was destined to capture the imaginations of the more than 70 million Americans who watched the nation’s first televised presidential debate. Just days after beating out Richard Nixon by the narrowest margin in history, Kennedy himself said, “It was the TV more than anything else that turned the tide.”
But one man begged to differ: writer Norman Mailer, who bragged that his pro-Kennedy treatise, “Superman Comes to the Supermarket,” had “won the election for Kennedy.” The article, published in Esquire magazine just weeks before polls opened, redefined political reporting with Mailer’s frank, first-person voice identifying Kennedy as the “existential hero” who could awaken the nation from its postwar slumber and conformist Eisenhower years. Both Kennedy and New Journalism had arrived.
Now, TASCHEN reimagines and interprets this no-holds-barred portrait of Kennedy on his path to the White House, publishing Mailer’s essay in book form alongside 300 photographs that bring the campaign and the candidate’s family to life. These images were captured by some of the great photojournalists of the day—including Cornell Capa, Henri Dauman, Jacques Lowe, Lawrence Schiller, Paul Schutzer, Stanley Tretick, Hank Walker, and Garry Winogrand—providing a fascinating look at the man who declared the ’60s “a time for greatness.”
Norman Mailer (1923–2007) was one of the 20th century’s greatest and most influential writers, as well as one of America’s most renowned and controversial literary figures. The best-selling author of a dozen novels and 20 works of nonfiction, he also wrote stage plays, screenplays, television miniseries, hundreds of essays, two books of poetry, and a collection of short stories. A two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, he lived in Brooklyn, New York, and Provincetown, Massachusetts.
Nina Wiener is Managing Editor at TASCHEN, where she edits the publisher’s literary series—including works by James Baldwin, Norman Mailer, Gay Talese, and Tom Wolfe – and oversees collaborations with artists and organizations including The New York Times, NASA, Walton Ford, and Peter Beard.
J. Michael Lennon is Emeritus Professor of English at Wilkes University and the late Norman Mailer’s archivist and authorized biographer. He is the author of the authorized biography Norman Mailer: A Double Life and editor of Selected Letters of Norman Mailer.