The Armies of the Night (68.8) wins several awards: National Book Award in arts and letters (12 March); George Polk Memorial Award for magazine reporting (27 March); Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction (5 May). In addition, Miami and the Siege of Chicago (68.25) is a finalist for the National Book Award in the history and biography category.
On 1 May, Mailer announces his candidacy for mayor of New York (with journalist Jimmy Breslin as his running mate). He tells the media, “I will probably be in politics for the rest of my life. I mean it.” He comes in fourth in a field of five in the Democratic primary; Robert Wagner wins, only to lose to Independent Party candidate John Lindsay in the general election.
Awarded honorary Doctor of Letters by Rutgers University on 4 June. Also in June, running as an “insurgent” candidate for the Harvard Board of Overseers, he is defeated in an alumni election.
In July, he begins coverage of the Apollo 11 mission for Life, traveling to Texas, Alabama and Florida, and interviewing the astronauts and NASA officials.
In August, Running Against the Machine (69.80), a collection of documents and interviews concerning the mayoral campaign, and edited by Peter Manso, is published.
He separates from Beverly Bentley in late summer, and begins living with jazz singer Carol Stevens.