A J Cronin was born in Cardross, Scotland, in 1896 and studied at the University of Glasgow. In 1916 he served as a surgeon sub-lieutenant in the Royal Navy Volunteers Reserve, and at the war's end he completed his medical studies and practiced in South Wales. He was later appointed to the Ministry of Mines, studying the medical problems of the mining industry. He later moved to London and built up a successful practice in the West End. In 1931 he published his first book, Hatter's Castle, which was compared with the work of Dickens, Hardy and Balzac, winning him critical acclaim. Six years later he published The Citadel which brought attention to the incompetence of medical practice and helped incite the establishment of the NHS. Cronin died in 1931.
Immensely successful, utterly ruthless
A.J. Cronin was perhaps the most successful novelist of the 1930s … probably as significant a figure as J.B. Priestley
*The English Historical Review*
One of the most popular authors in the English speaking world
*New York Times*