An American novelist and television writer, he is known for works such as The Last Frontier, Spartacus, and April Morning. He often wrote under the pen name of E. V. Cunningham.
He worked for the United States Office of War Information during World War II.
He began writing Spartacus while he was incarcerated.
He married Bette Cohen in 1937. He and Cohen subsequently had two children.
His novel Freedom Road was made into a movie starring Muhammad Ali.