Leon Uris (writer)
(Leon Marcus Uris)
b. 1924 – d. 2003
US Marines 1942-1946
(Field Radio Operator, Guadalcanal, Tarawa)
During his senior year of high school in 1942, Leon dropped out of school to enlist in the United States Marine Corps. His MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) was that of field radio operator. Following a period stationed in New Zealand, Uris served in combat on Guadalcanal and Tarawa as a radio operator, all experiences that would play a key role in his subsequent career. Later on, he became sick with malaria and was transferred back to the United States, to serve out the remainder of the war. Leon was finally discharged in 1946.
Drawing on his experiences in Guadalcanal and Tarawa he began a prolific career as a writer covering topics inspired by war and it’s atrocities. His first work, Battle Cry, a novel depicting the toughness and courage of U.S. Marines in the Pacific. He then went to write the movie, which was extremely popular with the American public. In 1955, Uris wrote The Angry Hills, dealing with the British campaign in Greece during World War II and based on the diary of an uncle of his who had been a member of the Palestine Brigade.
In 1956 Uris covered the Arab-Israeli fighting as a war correspondent. Two years later appeared Exodus, published by Doubleday & Company. The idea for the book evolved out of a conversation with the author and Malcolm Stuart, his agent.
Exodus, a novel chronicling Palestine from the 19th century through it’s transition into the state of Israel post WWII, became an international publishing phenomenon, the biggest bestseller in the United States since Gone with the Wind.
He wrote three more novels based on his wartime experiences:
- Mila 18, about a Warsaw wartime ghetto
- Armageddon: A Novel of Berlin which reveals the detailed work by British and American intelligence services in planning for the occupation and pacification of post WWII Germany.
- QBVII about a Polish doctor in a German concentration camp.