The Executioner's Song by Norman Mailer

The Executioner's Song
1056 pages; Baker & Taylor
I remember that my mind and emotions were thrown all over the room the first time I read this book, and I still feel haunted whenever I think of it. I became so emotionally caught up in the story of Gary Gilmore, who was convicted of murder in the 1970s and sentenced to death. Mailer gives you the story of the guy from moment to moment. Gilmore knew that he'd done a horrendous deed, but he felt that the judicial system was not living up to what it espouses. He forbade his lawyers to appeal and forced the state of Utah to execute him. He basically said, "Why don't you say what you're going to do and do it?" I felt this great fluctuation between loving his principles and hating the man.
— Josh Brolin