10 Best Books by Irving Wallace: A Comprehensive Guide

Irving Wallace was a prolific writer who produced numerous books over his lifetime. He is well-known for his captivating writing style and complex characters. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take a look at his life, writing style, and some of his most popular works that we believe should be on everyone’s reading list.

10 Best Books by Irving Wallace: A Comprehensive Guide

Who is Irving Wallace?

Irving Wallace was an American writer from Chicago, Illinois, born on March 19, 1916. He was the son of Russian Jewish immigrants who had fled to the United States to escape persecution. Growing up, Wallace was an avid reader and writer, and his love for literature and writing would eventually lead him to pursue a career in writing.

Wallace attended the University of California at Los Angeles, where he majored in journalism. After graduating, he moved to Hollywood to work as a screenwriter for MGM and RKO films. His work on The West Point Story led him to write his novel The Sins of Philip Fleming, which was highly acclaimed.

In 1959, he released his first novel, The Sins of Philip Fleming, which was a bestseller. He continued writing until his untimely death on June 29, 1990, from pancreatic cancer. Over the course of his career, he wrote 16 novels, 17 nonfiction books, and several screenplays.

A Brief Biography of Irving Wallace

Irving Wallace’s life was full of interesting experiences that influenced his writing. As a child, he grew up in poverty, which gave him a deep appreciation for the struggles of everyday people. His parents’ immigrant background also gave him a unique perspective on American society, which he incorporated into his writing.

After moving to Hollywood, Wallace became involved in the political and social issues of the time. He was a staunch supporter of civil rights and was involved in several political campaigns. He also traveled extensively, which gave him a broad understanding of different cultures and societies.

Wallace was married to Sylvia Kahn, a former Hollywood talent agent, for over 50 years. They had two children together, Amy and David, both of whom became writers themselves.

Irving Wallace’s Writing Style and Themes

Wallace’s writing style is known for its captivating nature, the intricacy of his plots, and complex themes. His books often dealt with controversial subjects, such as sex, politics, and crime, and he was not afraid to tackle difficult topics. His books were thoroughly researched, ensuring that his readers were receiving accurate and informative content as they read.

Another noteworthy aspect of Wallace’s writing style was his ability to create well-rounded characters that readers could relate to. He often wrote about ordinary people facing extraordinary circumstances, and his characters were always complex and multi-dimensional.

Overall, Irving Wallace was a talented writer who made a significant contribution to American literature. His books continue to be read and enjoyed by readers around the world, and his legacy as a writer will undoubtedly endure for many years to come.

The Early Works of Irving Wallace

Irving Wallace was a prolific writer who produced a number of thought-provoking works throughout his career. His early works include The Sins of Philip Fleming and The Fabulous Showman, both of which were released in the 1960s. These works challenged the literary conventions of their time by centering on taboo subjects such as bisexuality and the inner workings of the entertainment industry.

The Sins of Philip Fleming (1959)

The Sins of Philip Fleming

The Sins of Philip Fleming is a novel that explores the complexities of human sexuality. The story follows a wealthy man, Philip Fleming, whose world is rocked by the sudden revelation of his bisexuality. The book was hugely successful, captivating audiences and critics alike with its boldness and accuracy in tackling such a taboo subject. Wallace’s writing is both sensitive and insightful, providing readers with a nuanced understanding of the challenges faced by those who identify as bisexual.

Wallace’s depiction of Philip Fleming’s struggle with his sexuality is both honest and empathetic. He explores the character’s inner turmoil in a way that is both respectful and insightful. The novel is a powerful reminder of the importance of accepting and celebrating diversity in all its forms.

The Fabulous Showman (1960)

The Fabulous Showman : A Biography of P. T. Barnum

The Fabulous Showman is a biographical novel that tells the story of P.T. Barnum, the world-renowned circus owner. Wallace’s depiction of Barnum’s life is an unflinching and captivating account of a man who revolutionized entertainment and brought joy to millions.

Through his vivid descriptions of Barnum’s circus, Wallace transports readers to a world of wonder and excitement. The book is a celebration of the power of imagination and the importance of following one’s dreams. Wallace’s writing is both entertaining and informative, providing readers with a fascinating glimpse into the life of one of the most iconic figures in entertainment history.

Overall, Irving Wallace’s early works are a testament to his talent as a writer. Through his bold and daring storytelling, he challenged literary conventions and pushed the boundaries of what was considered acceptable in literature. His works continue to captivate readers today, inspiring them to think deeply about the complexities of the human experience.

Irving Wallace’s Bestselling Novels

Irving Wallace is a well-known American author who has written many books over the years. His works are known for their captivating storylines, well-developed characters, and excellent writing style. Some of his most popular books are The Chapman Report, The Prize, The Man, The Word, The Fan Club, The R Document, The Second Lady, and The Seventh Secret. These books cover a wide range of topics, from politics to crime, science, and sex.

The Chapman Report (1960)

The Chapman Report

The Chapman Report is a novel that explores the sexual habits of Americans. The story centers around a sex survey of 2000 women and was notable for its revealing and informative content. It was highly praised for its detailed discussion of sexuality and the impact it had on American culture. The book was groundbreaking in its time and helped to open up discussions about sex and sexuality in America.

In addition to its discussions about sex, The Chapman Report also delves into the lives of the women who participated in the survey. It provides a glimpse into their personal lives and the challenges they face in a society that often judges them based on their sexual behavior. The book is a powerful commentary on the sexual mores of American society and the impact they have on individuals.

The Prize (1962)

The Prize

The Prize is a political thriller set against the backdrop of the Nobel Prize award ceremony. The story centers around a group of winners and the global intrigue that ensues in the wake of their recognition. The novel was popular among readers for its engrossing storyline and fascinating characters.

The Prize is not just a thriller, but also a commentary on the political landscape of the time. It touches on issues such as the Cold War, the arms race, and the struggle for power between nations. The book provides a glimpse into the inner workings of the political world and the lengths to which people will go to gain power.

The Man (1964)

The Man

The Man is a biographical fiction novel that focuses on the life of a U.S. president, Thomas Jefferson. The story is an account of Jefferson’s life from childhood through his political years, highlighting his contribution to the nation’s growth and development. The book was highly regarded for its accurate portrayal of the president’s life and the country’s historical significance.

The Man is not just a biography, but also a commentary on the challenges faced by early American leaders. It touches on issues such as slavery, the struggle for independence, and the role of government in society. The book provides a fascinating look into the life of one of America’s most influential leaders and the challenges he faced in shaping the nation.

The Word (1972)

The Word

The Word is a novel that explores the idea of world peace through religious means. It follows the story of a linguistics professor who discovers the true meaning of the Biblical word “Behold.” He quickly becomes a cult figure, and his teachings spark a religious movement aimed at creating world peace. The book was highly praised for its thoughtful examination of faith and its impact on world affairs.

In addition to its discussions about faith, The Word also touches on issues such as war, peace, and the role of religion in society. It provides a thought-provoking commentary on the power of faith and its ability to bring people together.

The Fan Club (1974)

The Fan Club

The Fan Club is a thriller about a group of men who abduct a famous actress and hold her captive. The story is a harrowing account of the actress’s struggle for survival while her captors obsess over her. The book was notable for its well-developed characters and intense, suspenseful storytelling.

The Fan Club is not just a thriller, but also a commentary on the cult of celebrity in America. It touches on issues such as the objectification of women, the power of fame, and the lengths to which people will go to achieve it. The book provides a chilling look into the dark side of celebrity culture and the dangers it poses to those in the public eye.

The R Document (1976)

The R Document

The R Document is a conspiracy thriller about a government agency’s attempt to suppress an incriminating document about a former president. The story is an epic tale of political intrigue, filled with twists and turns that will keep readers engaged until the very end.

The R Document is not just a thriller, but also a commentary on the abuse of power in government. It touches on issues such as corruption, cover-ups, and the lengths to which people will go to protect their interests. The book provides a fascinating look into the world of politics and the dangers of unchecked power.

The Second Lady (1980)

The Second Lady

The Second Lady is a political thriller about an assassination attempt on the first female vice president of the United States. The novel was notable for its strong female lead character and its excellent depiction of political intrigue.

The Second Lady is not just a thriller, but also a commentary on the struggle for gender equality in America. It touches on issues such as sexism, discrimination, and the challenges faced by women in positions of power. The book provides a powerful message about the importance of gender equality and the need for women to have a voice in government.

The Seventh Secret (1986)

The Seventh Secret

The Seventh Secret is a historical mystery thriller about the disappearance of Adolf Hitler’s diary. The novel takes readers on a journey through time, from World War II Germany to modern-day America, unraveling a story of intrigue and betrayal along the way. The plotline was engrossing, and the characters were well-developed, making the book an excellent read.

The Seventh Secret is not just a mystery, but also a commentary on the legacy of the Nazi regime. It touches on issues such as the Holocaust, the dangers of fascism, and the importance of remembering history. The book provides a fascinating look into the aftermath of World War II and the impact it had on the world.

Overall, Irving Wallace’s contribution to American literature is undeniable. His books are a must-read for anyone interested in exploring issues of sex, politics, history, and religion. With his captivating novels and outstanding writing style, Irving Wallace will continue to be remembered as one of America’s greatest authors.


What is the defining characteristic of Irving Wallace’s work?

Wallace’s novels often take on the shape of long-form research journalism, which makes sense given that he started his career writing for numerous magazines. He was known for his intense research, filling his narratives with a combination of facts and commentary on current events.

When did Irving Wallace publish his first novel?

Wallace published his first piece of fiction – The Sins of Philip Fleming – in 1959. Prior to this, he had written a non-fiction piece titled The Fabulous Originals in 1955.

How old was Irving Wallace when he died?

In 1990, Wallace died at the age of 74.

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