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Leon Uris

As the best-selling author of Exodus, Mila 18, QB VII, and Trinity, Leon Uris blazed a path to celebrity with books that readers could not put down. Uris's thirteen novels sold millions of copies, spent months on the best-seller lists, appeared in fifty languages, and have been adapted into equally popular movies and TV miniseries. Few other writers equaled Uris's fame in the mid-twentieth century. His success fueled the rise of mass-market paperbacks, movie tie-ins, and celebrity author tours. Beloved by the public, Uris was, not surprisingly, dismissed by literary critics. Until now, his own life-as full of drama as his fiction-has never been the subject of a book. In Leon Uris: Life of a Best Seller, Ira Nadel traces Uris from his disruptive youth to his life-changing experiences as a marine in World War II. These experiences, coupled with Uris's embrace of his Judaism and desire to write, led to his unprecedented success and the lavish excesses of a career as a best-selling author. Nadel reveals that Uris lived the adventures he described, including his war experiences in the Pacific (Battle Cry), life-threatening travels in Israel (Exodus), visit to Communist Poland (Mila 18), libel trial in Britain (QB VII), and dangerous sojourn in fractious Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic (Trinity). Nadel also demonstrates that Uris's talent for writing action-packed, yet thoroughly researched, novels meshed perfectly with the public's desire to revisit and understand the tumultuous events of recent history. This made him far more popular (and wealthy) than more literary authors, while paving the way for writers such as Irving Wallace and Tom Clancy.
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Table of Contents

Abbreviations Acknowledgments Prologue. "American Marine, Jewish Writer" Chapter 1. "The Truth Will Rise" Chapter 2. Eagle, Globe, and Anchor Chapter 3. Battle Cry at Larkspur Chapter 4. Hollywood Chapter 5. Exodus, or "The Book" Chapter 6. History and Resistance Chapter 7. Love and Litigation Chapter 8. "Short Titles, Long Books, Big Sales" Chapter 9. Ireland Chapter 10. Return Chapter 11. Russian Renewal Chapter 12. Redemption, or America Redux Epilogue Notes Index

Promotional Information

The dramatic story of a novelist whose life constantly provided his best material, this biography of the best-selling author of Exodus, Mila 18, QB VII & Trinity maps the literary landscape of mid-twentieth-century America, the mainstreaming of Jewish writing, and the rise of the celebrity author.

About the Author

IRA NADEL is Professor of English and Distinguished University Scholar at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and winner of the Medal for Canadian Biography. His books include Various Positions: A Life of Leonard Cohen, Double Act: A Life of Tom Stoppard, Ezra Pound: A Literary Life, and David Mamet: A Life in the Theatre, which was selected by the Times of London as one of the seven best books in theatre and film for 2008.


"Ira B. Nadel's Leon Uris: Life and Times of a Best Seller has a similar set of concerns to those that preoccupies Q. D. Leavis over eighty years ago in Fiction and the Reading Public: the relationship between literary "quality" and the best-seller... Nadel Explains that "Conflict - personal, social, political, and cultural - is the heart of Uris's writing", while wondering "How can one who wrote so ineptly still have such a wide and persistent audience?". Ultimately, Nedel does not resolve the dichotomy between best-selling success and the preconception of literary quality, but he has written a readable and informative study that reveals much more about its subject..." - William Baker, Times Literary Supplement

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