An American Dream Expanded/Timeline of Events, 1962–1966

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An American Dream Expanded Bibliography Letters Timeline Word Count Comparison Credits  
Year Date Event
1962 January30 NM’s first volume of poems, Deaths for the Ladies (and Other Disasters), is published by Putnam’s.
Late March NM divorces his second wife, Adele Morales, in Juarez, Mexico.
April NM marries Lady Jean Campbell and they move into his apartment at 142 Columbia Heights in Brooklyn.
Mid-August NM submits the first (of 14) columns, titled “The Big Bite,” for publication in the November Esquire.
August 18 NM’s third daughter, Kate, born to Jean Campbell.
September 22 NM debates William F. Buckley, Jr. on “The Role of the Right Wing” before an audience of 4,000 in Chicago.
September 25 NM covers the heavyweight prizefight between Floyd Patterson and Sonny Liston in Chicago.
October-November Cuban Missile Crisis. The Soviet Union removes missile sites from Cuba after the U.S. threatens a military attack.
Late fall NM separates from Jean Campbell.
December NM publishes the first of six columns of reflections on Martin Buber’s Tales of the Hasidim in Commentary.
December 20 “An Open Letter to JFK from Norman Mailer” appears in the Village Voice.
1963 January-February Playboy publishes in two parts the NM-Buckley debate.
February “Ten Thousand Words a Minute,” NM’s account of the first Patterson-Liston fight, is published in Esquire.
March NM meets Beverly Bentley.
March 24 NM speaks on existentialism and psychoanalysis at Harvard.
May 31 NM presents “An Existential Evening” at Carnegie Hall, discussing the FBI, President Kennedy and Communism with the audience.
Summer “The First Presidential Paper,” NM’s essay on heroes and leaders, is published in Dissent.
July-August NM and Beverly drive cross-country and back, stopping in Arkansas, Las Vegas (where they see Liston defeat Patterson for the second time), San Francisco and Georgia.
August 28 Martin Luther King, Jr. delivers his “I Have a Dream” speech at the Washington Monument during the Civil Rights March on the Capital.
Late Summer Scott Meredith becomes NM’s literary agent and helps broker the sale of an unwritten novel to Dial Press and Dell Books. NM proposes and Esquire editor Harold Hayes agrees to the serial publication of this novel in the magazine, January through August 1964.
September 29 NM’s review of Victor Lasky’s J.F.K.: The Man and the Myth appears in Book Week (N.Y. Herald Tribune).
Mid-October NM turns in the first of eight installments of the novel to Esquire.
November 8 Putnam’s publishes The Presidential Papers, a collection of assorted prose focused on J.F.K.
Mid-November The December Esquire containing NM’s final “Big Bite” column is published. NM announces in it that he will write a novel called An American Dream, in eight installments, beginning in the January 1964 issue.
November 22 President Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas. Vice President Johnson is sworn in as President.
November 27 NM begins working on the third installment.
Mid-December The January issue of Esquire containing the first installment appears.
November 16 After obtaining a Mexican divorce from Jean Campbell, NM marries Beverly Bentley in New York.
December 26 NM contributes to a New York Review of Books symposium on J.F.K.
1964 Mid-January The fourth installment of the novel is completed.
Late January NM debates William F. Buckley, Jr. in New York on a taped television program.
January 29 American premiere of “Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb”.
February 3 The Beatles arrive in America.
February 11 The fifth installment is completed.
February 25 NM is in the audience in Miami when Muhammad Ali defeats Sonny Liston for the heavyweight championship.
March 17 Beverly gives birth to Michael Burks Mailer, NM’s first son, at about the same time that he completes the sixth installment.
April 20 The seventh installment is completed.
Late May Warner Brothers buys an option on the film rights to An American Dream.
Early June The final long installment of the novel is completed. The Mailers go to Provincetown where NM will revise the Esquire version for book publication.
July 2 President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act against discrimination.
Mid-July NM break off work on the revision to the novel to cover the Republican Convention in San Francisco. His account, “In the Red Light,” appears in the November Esquire.
August 7 The U.S. Congress passes the Tonk Gulf Resolution in authorizing the President to use military force in Vietnam.
September The Free Speech movement begins at the University of California at Berkeley.
October 12 An advertisement for An American Dream in book form appears in Publishers’ Weekly and gives a January 1965 publication date.
November 3 Johnson elected President.
December 20 Working on the Dial Press galleys, NM completes a second revision of the novel.
1965 Early January NM testifies on behalf of William Burroughs’s novel, Naked Lunch, at its Boston obscenity trial.
January 27 NM writes to his Japanese translator that Warner Brothers has purchased the film rights to the novel. It sells for $200,000.
February 21 Malcolm X is assassinated.
March U.S. troops arrive in force in Vietnam, escalating the War.
March 14 Tom Wolfe’s negative review of the novel appears in Book Week (Washington Post).
March 15 Official publication date of An American Dream by Dial Press.
March 19 “The Big Comeback of Norman Mailer,” a positive review by John W. Aldridge, appears in Life. NM pays to reprint the heart of the review in the spring number of Partisan Review to “accompany” Elizabeth Hardwick’s negative review.
March 27 The novel rises to number four on the bestseller list of the Chicago Daily News.
April 1 NM travels to Alaska for a four-day visit, speaking at the University of Alaska. He uses his impressions for his 1967 novel, Why Are We in Vietnam?
April 11 The novel rises to number eight on the bestseller list of the New York Times Book Review.
April 20 NM arrives in London to promote the British edition of An American Dream, published by Andre Deutsch on 26 April.
May 21 NM speaks out against the Vietnam War at the Berkeley campus of the University of California.
July 15 NM speaks at a Harvard teach-in against the Vietnam War.
Late July NM travels to Puerto Rico for the Jose Torres-Tom McNeeley prizefight and meets with Muhammad Ali.
August 6 Voting Right Act of 1965 signed into law by President Johnson.
August 11 Race riots break out in Watts, Los Angeles.
Fall NM contributes to a Partisan Review symposium, “On Vietnam.”
September 24 Brock Brower’s biographical article on NM appears in Life.
September 29 National Endowment for the Arts signed into law by President Johnson.
Late December NM addresses the Modern Language Association meeting in Chicago on the American novel. His talk is published in the March 1966 issue of Commentary.
1966 March The Dell paperback edition of An American Dream is published.
March 10 NM’s second son, Stephen McLeod Mailer, is born to Beverly.
June NM purchases a house at 565 Commercial Street in Provincetown.
August The first stage version of NM’s 1955 novel, The Deer Park, with Beverly Bentley as Lulu Meyers, is presented at Act IV, a Provincetown theater.
August 26 The film version of An American Dream premiers.
August 28 NM’s review of Mark Lane’s Rush to Judgment, an analysis of the Warren Commission Report on J.F.K.’s assassination, appears in Book Week (Washington Post).
August 29 Dial Press publishes Cannibals and Christians, NM’s third volume of collected prose and poetry.
October 29 National Organization for Women established.