Leon Uris Analysis

Other literary forms

(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

Leon Uris (YEWR-ihs) is known primarily for his novels, but he wrote for films as well. He wrote the screenplay adaptation of his first novel, Battle Cry, in 1955, and he wrote the screenplay for the 1957 American Western classic Gunfight at the OK Corral. He also wrote the script for the short documentary film Israel, which was released in 1959.


(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

Perhaps Leon Uris’s greatest achievement was the novel for which he is most remembered, Exodus. Published in 1958, Exodus was an international sensation. It was translated into more than fifty languages, and millions of copies were sold. Hailed as Uris’s best work, it was on the New York Times best-seller list for more than a year, staying at number one for five months. Inside the Soviet Union, where it was forbidden reading, smuggled copies of the 599-page paperback edition of Exodus were translated and then typed by hand because citizens were not allowed access to copy machines or duplicating equipment. The 1960 film adaptation of Exodus, directed by Otto Preminger and starring Paul Newman, was a blockbuster success.


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Cain, Kathleen Shine. Leon Uris: A Critical Companion. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1998. Explores the plots, themes, and characters of Uris’s work.

Downey, Sharon D., and Richard A. Kallan. “Semi-Aesthetic Detachment: The Fusing of Fictional and External Worlds in the Situational Literature of Leon Uris.” Communication Monographs, September, 1982. Shows how Uris uses history in his first eight novels.

Furman, Andrew. “A New ‘Other’ Emerges in American Jewish Literature: Philip Roth’s Israel Fiction.” Contemporary Literature 36 (Winter, 1995). Discusses Exodus in the context of Philip Roth’s fiction set in Israel, such as The Counterlife (1986) and Operation Shylock (1993).

Gonshak, Henry. “‘Rambowitz’ Versus ‘Schlemiel’ in Leon Uris’s Exodus.” Journal of American Culture 22 (Spring, 1999). Compares the ways in which Uris depicts Jewish people in his novel.

Manganaro, Elise Salem. “Voicing the Arab: Multivocality and Ideology in Leon Uris’ The Haj.” MELUS 15, no. 4 (Winter, 1988). Treats Uris’s Arab characters as “ugly” misrepresentations.

Weissbrod, Rachel. “Exodus as Zionist Melodrama.” Israel Studies 4 (Spring, 1999). An in-depth analysis of Exodus.