The historical novel is neither strictly history nor strictly novel. The best writers in this genre, of which Uris was certainly one, are skilled enough to blur the lines between fiction and history. If all one knows about the founding of Israel or life in Ireland under English occupation is what one has read in Uris’s Exodus or Trinity, then one has only a rudimentary understanding of the subject, and that understanding is likely to be biased by the author’s own prejudices.
It is a testament to Uris’s power as a writer and thoroughness as a researcher that he was able to present his works in such a convincing light as to persuade his readers that they have gained a useful knowledge of the subject at hand. Literary critics, whose job it is to dissect works of fiction, point out Uris’s complete lack of objectivity. For example, Uris spoke on behalf of Jewish interests around the world, raising money for Jewish causes during his career, and his portrayals of Jewish soldiers and settlers in works such as Exodus must be accepted as the products of a man who was a devout Zionist. This observation, however, is not really criticism as much as truth. Uris was a Jew, and he sympathized with the plight of European Jews especially, and his novels reflect this.
Uris was a great storyteller, if somewhat overly melodramatic at times. He did not graduate from high school, and he earned his writer’s reputation on the job....
(The entire section is 1782 words.)
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