Remembered best for his National Book Award-winning historical novel From Here to Eternity, Jones is also known for his 1962 work The Thin Red Line, which is also based on his World War II experiences.
After joining the U.S. Army in the late 1930s, he served in World War II as a member of the 27th Infantry Regiment's 25th Infantry Division. Before achieving tremendous literary success with From Here to Eternity, Jones failed to find a publisher for a work titled They Shall Inherit the Laughter.
In the early 1950s, he helped establish the Handy Writers' Colony in Illinois.
He grew up in Robinson, Illinois, as the child of Ramon and Ada Jones. His marriage to actress Gloria Jones (who was a screen body-double for Marilyn Monroe) produced an author daughter named Kaylie Jones.
Jones' novel From Here to Eternity was adapted into a multi-Academy Award-winning 1953 film starring Frank Sinatra, Montgomery Clift, and Burt Lancaster. The book also inspired a 1979 miniseries starring Natalie Wood, Kim Basinger, and William Devane.