Sol Yurick, author of the highly-acclaimed book “The Warriors”, died on Saturday from complications relating to lung cancer. He was 87.
Yurick, who worked for the New York Department of Welfare before finding success as an author, drew from his real-life experiences when he found himself inspired to write. Working for the welfare department was enough to give him material for many books, but he condensed his experiences into a novel, “The Warriors”, and later touched on the vast differences between the impoverished people he came into contact with every day and those he’d grown up with.
“Some of the children of these families were what was then called juvenile delinquents,” Yurick wrote in an introduction to “The Warriors.” “Many of them belonged to fighting gangs. Some of these gangs numbered in the hundreds; they were veritable armies. This social phenomenon was viewed, on the one hand, as the invasion of the barbarians, only this time they came from the inside rather than from the outside.”
Often considered too “radical” for New York’s literary intelligentsia, Yurick was rejected by 27 publishers before one decided to take a chance on “The Warriors”. When it was made into a film some 15 years later, it became an instant cult-classic and resonated with an entire generation, particularly those accustomed to big cities.
Yurick also authored “The Bag” and “Fertig”, which were largely based on his life experiences as well, and wrote short stories.