Leon Uris: Life of a Best Seller by Ira B Nadel - review by Jonathan Mirsky

Jonathan Mirsky

Sales of the Century

Leon Uris: Life of a Best Seller


University of Texas Press 352pp £18.99 order from our bookshop

Instantly famous in 1958 after the publication of his novel Exodus, and for years afterwards one of the bestselling celebrity authors in print, Leon Uris was in person awful. He was egomaniacal but insecure, bullying, misogynistic, an unfaithful husband, an inconstant (at best) father, venomously envious of many other writers, a celebrant of violence practised by those he admired – Jews, Marines and the IRA – and a relentless hater of Arabs and any individual, especially his wives and children, who defied his unbending will.

Ira B Nadel, a professor of English at the University of British Columbia and a biographer, notably of the singer Leonard Cohen, is a hunter-down of inconsequential facts about Uris, such as what hotels he stayed in and the calibre of the pistol with which one of his

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