An American fiction writer, journalist, and political commentator, he is particularly known for his 1983 novel Winter's Tale. His other works include A Soldier of the Great War; Freddy and Fredericka; and In Sunlight and In Shadow.
He served in the British Merchant Navy, the Israeli Infantry, and the Israeli Air Force.
He was awarded the National Jewish Book Award.
He married Lisa (Kennedy) Helprin; they became parents to two daughters.
He was the foreign policy adviser and speechwriter for Bob Dole.