First published in the USA in 1958, Leon Uris’ Exodus became a global best-seller, despite being panned by many critics as being poorly-written. It is impossible to over-state the impact that Exodus had on millions of Jews and non-Jews worldwide. The novel informed the consciousness of a generation of American Jews of Israel, and represented the Americanisation of Zionism.
Less well-known is the powerful impact of Exodus on a very different huge Jewish community: Soviet Jewry. It is commonplace to claim that Israel’s lightning victory in the 1967 Six Day War spurred the struggle of Soviet Jewry to reach Israel. While the victory certainly unleashed a surge of Jewish pride in the Soviet Union, the first real seeds of the exodus of Soviet Jews came when they read Exodus.