Robert Crichton (1925-1993) was a novelist and magazine writer. Born in New Mexico, Crichton spent most of his life in New York after serving in the Army during World War II in the Battle of the Bulge and graduating from Harvard in 1951. Crichton’s first book, The Great Impostor (1960), told the true story of Fred Demara, an impostor who successfully assumed scores of guises including that of a Trappist monk, Texas prison warden and surgeon in the Royal Canadian Navy. The bestselling book was adapted into a 1961 movie starring Tony Curtis. A follow-up, The Rascal and the Road, was a memoir about Crichton’s adventures with Demara.
Crichton’s first novel was The Secret of Santa Vittoria (1966). Set in an Italian hilltown during World War II, The Secret of Santa Vittoria was the rollicking tale of the town’s attempts to hide a million bottles of wine from German occupiers. It occupied the New York Times bestseller list for 50 weeks, became an international bestseller, and was adapted into a Golden Globe-winning film starring Anthony Quinn. Crichton’s second novel, The Camerons, was published in 1972. This sweeping family saga, focusing on a 19th century Scottish family’s struggle to rise above the grinding poverty of the coal miner’s life, was based upon Robert Crichton’s own Scottish forebears. The Camerons was on the New York Times bestseller list for over five months, and became a BBC miniseries.
At the time of his death in 1993, Robert Crichton was at work on a memoir of his time in the army which he had tentatively, and with characteristic self-deprecation, entitled Memoirs of a Bad Soldier.
Robert Crichton’s father, Kyle Crichton, was a writer and editor at Collier's magazine and author of novels and biographies, including a biography of the Marx Brothers. Kyle Crichton also wrote a column for The New Masses, a Marxist weekly, under the name Robert Forsythe. Robert Crichton’s wife, Judy Crichton, was an Emmy Award-winning documentary writer, director and producer, and author of America 1900: The Turning Point.
Sign up to receive information about new books, author events, and special offers.
In the last days of World War II, German forces are sent to occupy the Italian hill town, Santa Vittoria, and claim its great treasure: one million bottles of...
On her 16th birthday, Maggie Drum sets out from the grimy streets of her Scottish coalmining town to find a man of pride, independence and spirit fit enough to...