Mailer is like America. Loud and colorful, diverse, sometimes brilliant, often the victim of his own self regard, believer in an exceptionalism mostly glimpsed in the mirror, and willing to die trying or for the right cause. As he said about his own country: “The thing that distresses me about America is that for all the country’s done, I don’t think it’s done one quarter of what it should. I believe it was destined, by history, if you will, to be the greatest country that ever existed. I don’t think it’s come near it.”