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Richard Condon (Richard Thomas Condon) Biography

(1915–96), (Richard Thomas Condon), The Manchurian Candidate, Mile High, The Vertical Smile, Winter Kills

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Cockfield Suffolk to Frances Cornford (née Darwin) Biography

American writer of science fiction, born in New York City. He worked as a publicist in the film industry from 1936 to 1957. His extravagant fantasies on the American Dream varied in form from the spy thriller to political satire and science fiction. His vision was both comic and dark. In his best-known novel, The Manchurian Candidate (1959), a demagogic American senator, resembling Joseph McCarthy, is revealed as the agent of a Russian conspiracy against the government. Condon's satirical analysis of power and politics continued with Mile High (1969), in which Prohibition is created by the Mafia to protect their business interests; The Vertical Smile (1971); Winter Kills (1974), in which the ultimate killer of a Kennedy-like president is his own father; and Death of a Politician (1978), a savage destruction of a corrupt politician very similar to Richard Nixon. An Infinity of Mirrors (1964) explored the nightmare of Nazi Germany; Any God Will Do (1966) was a virtuoso depiction of insanity; The Ecstacy Business (1967) demolished Hollywood; and the Prizzi trilogy—Prizzi's Honor (1982), Prizzi's Family (1986), and Prizzi's Glory (1988)—mocked the American obsession with organized crime. Emperor of America (1990) and The Final Addiction (1991) are among his later novels.

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