The Naked and the Dead is a 1948 novel by Norman Mailer. It was based on his limited experiences with the 112th Cavalry Regiment during the Philippines Campaign (1944–45) in World War II. It was later adapted into a film of the same name in 1958.
In 1998, the Modern Library ranked The Naked and the Dead 51st on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.
Set on an island in the South Pacific where the American Army under General Cummings is trying to drive out the Japanese, The Naked and the Dead focuses on a single reconnaissance platoon. The novel is split between alternating chapters depicting ongoing action on the island and retrospective chapters focusing on a particular character's personality and past. The Naked and the Dead contains several combat scenes and a great deal of description of Army protocol, as well as detailed descriptions of the many trials and agonies of the enlisted man. The novel deals with the difficulties of the campaign, the danger posed by the Japanese, the conflict between officers and regulars, each man's own internal conflicts and fears, and the aggression between squad members. Everyone, from the General down, has character...