Books: The Weekend Revolution

THE ARMIES OF THE NIGHT by Norman Mailer. 288 pages. New American Library. $5.95.

Early in this book, the author reports that Poet Robert Lowell remarked to him: "Norman, I really think you are the best journalist in America." Mailer refused to take it as a compliment. "Well, Cal," he replied, "there are days when I think of myself as being the best writer in America."

Lowell was offering up the current intellectuals' line on Mailer, and Norman was mouthing the perennial Mailer line on himself ("Me Mailer. Me champ"). But The Armies of the Night suggests that Lowell is wrong, and that...