The Armies of the Night, a report on the antiwar March on the Pentagon in 1967. His political analysis is sharp and penetrating on both sides, Republican and Democratic, with a firm understanding of the various realities on the ground, over which he heaps his weird brand of huff and puff metaphysics. It's entertaining and often enlightening. To understand the '60s, which is probably impossible anyway, you should read a lot of books, not just this one, but this should be one of them. So much of the period is neatly compressed into it—hippies, cops, and radical politics, which are just the starting points for digressions. Mailer's middle-aged hipster is one of the better vantages for understanding certain crucial aspects, such as the enduring irrational love for all things Kennedy, the track of the civil rights movement, then giving way to the antiwar movement, both increasingly radicalized, and above all the appalling levels of violence. The collapse in all order for those days in Chicago is shocking to read about now. Mailer documents it well, depending on the reports of others as well as his own experiences. He does so through the haze of a white man's middle-aged anxiety, which works as often as it does not. His reluctance to wade in and take a beating is vivid and well-founded, but comes off a little rationalizing, insular, and ultimately tiresome. In retrospect, it highlights white privilege by showing the reality of a choice others don't have. Today, still, most white people do not often have to face such dilemmas. But these existential questions—notably, do I take a police beating, and even die, for the sake of a principled show of resistance to authority—amount, as much as anything, to the '60s in precis. Obviously, in July 2016, we know they are still sadly very much in effect.
In case it's not at the library.