"Leon Uris, the high school dropout who became a brand-name novelist with his best-selling "Exodus," the 1958 historical pageant about the founding of modern Israel, died on Saturday at his home on Shelter Island, N.Y. He was 78."
"The cause was renal failure, his former wife, the photographer Jill Uris, said yesterday."
"Mr. Uris's fiction, about a dozen novels, was painstakingly researched and compulsively readable, and it mattered little to millions of fans that some critics found it wanting in characterization or literary grace. Preparing to write "Exodus," for example, he read nearly 300 books, underwent a physical-training program in preparation for about 12,000 miles of travel within Israel and interviewed more than 1,200 people." (from The New York Times)