Norman Kingsley Mailer, the author of more than 40 books, encompassing fiction, journalism, poetry, essays, and interview collections, was a prolific and brilliant writer, but he is nearly as well known for his charisma and instigative prodding, his mayoral candidacy and threatened presidential run, his love of boxing, his insatiable promiscuity, and his penchant for settling scores with a firm head-butt. These competing facets of his personality—at once his greatest asset and his hopeless Achilles heel—created fantastic and inspired friction in all aspects of his life.