“Writing, basically breaks down to relationships between people and that is what you write about.” – Leon Uris
I first read Uris in junior high, getting
a beaten up copy of his World War II novel Battle
Cry when my mother found it at a garage sale and brought it home to our
South Dakota farm. I really loved that
book and the next time we went to Sioux Falls (which was nearly 80 miles away),
I asked Mom to go find another garage sale to see if he had written anything
As luck would have it, she found a copy of Exodus. Since then I have read every book Uris has written, many actually purchased in bookshops.
Born in Baltimore in August 1924, Uris started reading at age 3, writing by 4 and writing creatively by age 8. But it wasn’t until after he came out of World War II (he enlisted at age 17 and spent 4 years in the service) that he started his career, first writing for newspapers and then doing short stories before writing Battle Cry in 1951. Known for his historical fiction and his deep research, he wrote 20 novels and many nonfiction works. Also a screenwriter, he adapted three of his books – Battle Cry, Exodus and The Haj – into successful movies.
Uris wrote continuously for 50 years until he was struck down by kidney failure in 2003. He said he was proud that what he wrote in 1950 was just as much read as that written 40 years later. “You can try to reach an audience, but you just write what comes out of you and hope that it is accepted,” he said. “You do not – and should not – write specifically to a generation.”
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