Guide Leon Uris: Life of a Best Seller (Jewish Life, History, and Culture)

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He transformed the image of Jews at a moment when transformation was in order. I was 10 or Lots and lots of sex!? And dayum, it was romantic and suspenseful, a real page-turner. Final verdict: Good for the Jews. The Adam Kirsch review of the Ira B.

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Nadel Biography of Leon Uris was informative. Reading that we were the people of the book s because we spent centuries without land or power, in and of itself, was insightful. The details about such an injured soul who developed a Western writing template as a formula for each of his books makes the Exodus phenomena ever more interesting.

Think of Uris not in the company of Bellow, Malamud et al, but as a prototype of the Jew as writer-entrepreneur, in a company that includes Herman Wouk, Irving Stone, Irving Shulman, Irving Wallace — writers who were in tune with Hollywood and whose books were written for film adaptation. Nadel gives usa view of Jewish writing as not only a popular art but also as a business, a very profitable business which was carried with a high degree of idealism and principle.

Uris was one of the pioneers of the mass market paperback. In that sense, Uris more resembles the studio moguls than he does his fellow writers, for whom in any case he had only contempt. The Uris-style writers, like the Hollywood producers, were in the edification business, with a clear sense of their audience as willing to pay a premium to be edified.

In that way Uris might not only be thought of as a novelist-businessman, but beyond that as a novelist-businessman-rabbi: the writer, wheeler-dealer, moralist. The khokhem of Aspen. A mover and a shaker. A brute with women. And a star, who walked the red carpet many a time with a beauty on his arm. He was all that, and if he wrote clumsy sentences along the way, that might have been all to the good: a part of the rugged writer-warrior and semper-fi ski-bum that he adopted as a story-teller. Clumsy sentences for clumsy readers. And yet he preached a timely gospel: the gospel of the tough Jew, from the Halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tel Aviv.

It was what the age demanded. It hardly comes as a shock that a novelist had social problems. As someone who was a budding Hebrew school student and just ten years old when Exodus debuted, I lapped it all up. It definitely helped as I started to learn about and comprehend what had happened in the concentration camps of Europe just twenty years before. I remember thinking Israel made a bad choice there.

I have since recanted. It also provided me with an introduction to Jewish History and the founding of the State of Israel. I was filled with a mixture of lies half truths and some truth and sent out into the world to spread the word. While I was waiting for a friend, I found Exodus on her coffee table and begin reading it. I realized that there was another truth out there and went to Harvard summer school where I took a course from a professor who had been an officer in the british army and hated both sides so he gave another truth.

Life of a Best Seller

I was very impressed by what I learned about Israel and was planing to go there and see for myself when I met my husband who was an Israeli graduate student at harvard. So Uris was a lousy writer, so what. The shelves of bookstores have always been filled with best sellers which, as often as not, were poorly written, soon forgotten, and remaindered quickly.

Is it something that will be studied in university courses on 20th century American literature? As for Uris and his personal problems, we need to realize that even great writers Philip Roth or Norman Mailer, for example have also had multiple divorces, acts of violence, etc.

Will I read more Uris novels, never again; will I read this biography, never. It motivated Jews around the world to help build Israel.

Leon Uris, macho man

I read Exodus on an airplane from Israel to the US. I had never seen the movie. The book changed my life. Mila 18 was equally profound in shaping who I am. Why even write such a useless article, like you have made some great discovery. Summer I arrived as an immigrant from the Netherlands in suburban Philadelphia and came to work for Thos. Very Soon I met Mr. William Uris and his wife who operated a very small cigarette and newspaper shop in the main part of the building and apperantly someone had told him a little about me as he shared that he too had spent time in a concentration camp of some sort in Europe and he showed me his tattoo number on his arm.

I think that he was able to escape. Although I was a Dutchman, had I spent all my life in the Dutch East Indies now called Indonesia and the last eight months of the Japanese Occupation ubtil their capitulation did I spend in a jail cell at age alone seperated from my mother and just about everyone else. This was in the Bantjeuj jail in Bandoeng and you can read more about it when you put that in your browser. A lady whom I did not know wrote something. I have never written anything about it;perhaps I should.

And so we had a lot to share but never really talked about it. He told me about his son and at some point he showed me and everyone else a very high stack of yellow pages which was the original script in handwriting of Exodus….

Leon Uris: Life of a Best Seller

Soon he also had a stack of the books themselves which he sold to interested parties and my copy includes a message from the writer and a shalom from Leon Uris. I am now 77 years old and still have the book. I am glad that Nadel came up with this critique. It has brought Leon and his oevre back in the limelight. His writing brings back a lot of wonderful memories as your response shows. For me at that age was it the first clear history and circumstances of Jews and Israel.

And how about Topaz…what a story and what a revelation how the French goverment was saturated with Soviet synmpathisers! Have fun and much success with Tablet!! It was Mohammed who named us People of the Book, meaning the Bible, that we were not idolaters, but believers in the one God. Exodus may have been a trashy book, and a lousy movie, but it Paul Newman certainly challennged the Der Stuermer image. Bottomline — the story is engaging and exciting to a young or inexperienced mind and the film was also, though a young person might become lost in the scenery.

I fell under the spell of both of them at They are the masses, and the masses, as we all know, ultimately control the argument. For many of us,though, being exposed to other narratives certainly rounded out our knowledge of this exciting period in Jewish history. Compare that to the many millions of Arab children who have grown up with only one narrative…one filled with extreme fabrications and hateful depictions of Jews and Israel.

The Book that Changed Tony Windsor: Mila 18, by Leon Uris

Coutering such propaganda today has proven very difficult and, in my opinion, remains one of the main reasons why peace in the middle east still aludes us. Uris captured the whole concept of Arab resentment to a Jewish State in this story, and not just because of the loss of Arab land to Jews, but how it posed a threat to the loss of traditional Arab patriarch control of the family. From this concept has arisen the current Islamic terrorist battle cry of Jihad which the rest of the world has to contend with.

Uris certainly had his finger on the pulse of this antagonism and anticipated its consequences in this book. Until I read the book about 60 years ago, I was unaware of what was at stake, but was enlightened by it as to the nature of Muslim motivation for Jihad. Who cares one way or the other what Uris was like.

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And why would someone want to pontificate on it so much to write a book. Does this mean that the people who were paying you to lobby for the Oslo accords finally realized that game ended with Intifada Al-Aqsa? Nafisi argues and proves that modern women are not an accidental target of Islamism, they are seen as the main threat to what little dignity the Muslim underclass male has managed to retain.

I ghost wrote one of their early memoirs, in fact. Uris gave my generation of boys an heroic picture as a counterweight. It had to be exaggerated. It was fighting a whole discourse, as we say now. Norman Mailer was creating a Hemingway-esque persona for us we valued the same way. I got liddle Jew bones in my feet. Uris must be seen as part of that era. If not a master novelist, he was a master psychologist. How many writers really have an influence on the world? How many influence for good? In Uris' version, the boat is loaded with children who go on hunger strike and then threaten to commit suicide one an hour until the British relent -- which they do, allowing the ship to triumphantly sail to Haifa.

In reality, the Exodus was boarded by the British who tried to deport the immigrants to France. When France refused to take them, the British had to return them to Germany where they were forcibly disembarked. That story is dramatic enough in its own right and prompted an international press outcry that severely discredited the British and their blockade policy.

But it did not fit Uris' dramatic purpose. Many reviewers have commented on Uris's clunky prose and his stereotypical characters. He certainly has a talent for evoking a place -- as in this description of a small port in Cyprus: "Kyrenia was picturesque and remote and quaint to the point where it could not have been more picturesque or remote or quaint. The central love affair, between Ari and the American non-Jewish nurse Kitty Fremont, is curiously flat.

Kitty wants Ari to show his emotions and acknowledge his vulnerabilities. She wants him to need her. Finally, with one more tragic death, he does -- but only for a short time. Soon enough, he says, he will strap on his armor and return to the battle. Kitty says that's good enough for her.

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Despite its many faults, Exodus still packs an emotional wallop. A few times, I felt myself responding, just as I had when I first read it as a year-old. The sheer narrative thrust and energy leading to the climactic moments where Israel is reborn as a state moved me. We need to remember that story and not take the creation of Israel for granted and for that purpose, Exodus still has a role to play.

But in , Uris' narrative is insufficient. Now the challenge is to win the peace rather than to prevail in war. We need to find a way of living side-by-side with the descendants of those who fled the land in We are entitled to our founding myths and our national narrative -- but Uris does not serve us well in pointing a path to the future. US Edition U. News U.

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I was to dream of a prose which was flexible, and swift as American change is swift, confronting the inequalities and brutalities of our society forthrightly, but yet thrusting forth its images of hope, human fraternity, and individual self-realization. A prose which would make use of the richness of our speech, the idiomatic expression, and the rhetorical flourishes from past periods which are still alive among us. Despite my personal failures there must be possible a fiction which, leaving sociology and case histories to the scientists, can arrive at the truth about the human condition, here and now, with all the bright magic of the fairy tale.

The novel manages to be many things at once; this is one of its many strengths. In a radio interview, Bradbury explained it in the context of government censorship:. I wrote this book at a time when I was worried about the way things were going in this country four years ago. Too many people were afraid of their shadows; there was a threat of book burning. Many of the books were being taken off the shelves at that time. And of course, things have changed a lot in four years. Things are going back in a very healthy direction.

But at the time I wanted to do some sort of story where I could comment on what would happen to a country if we let ourselves go too far in this direction, where then all thinking stops, and the dragon swallows his tail, and we sort of vanish into a limbo and we destroy ourselves by this sort of action. When I was fifteen, he burnt the books in the streets of Berlin.

Then along the way I learned about the libraries in Alexandria burning five thousand years ago. That grieved my soul. And if it could happen in Alexandria, if it could happen in Berlin, maybe it could happen somewhere up ahead, and my heroes would be killed. Whatever it means, it remains an enduring classic.

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Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring None other than W. Tolkien has succeeded superbly, and what happened in the year of the Shire in the Third Age of Middle Earth is not only fascinating in A. No fiction I have read in the last five years has given me more joy than The Fellowship of the Ring. It is also generally agreed to be the best literary epic ever written, and has had untold influence on the genre ever since its publication. Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita Within four days of publication in the U. It is certainly a book about rape, though it does not invite us to accept rape. It is certainly a book about erotic obsession, though we are meant to pity the obsessed. It is certainly an enduring literary masterpiece. James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son That is, with these ten essays, as well as much of his other writing and speaking, he helped haul America into the second half of the twentieth century.

He also influenced a whole generation of American writers.