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Gerson used the following ten pseudonyms in addition to his own name: Anne Marie Burgess; Michael Burgess; Samuel Edwards; Nicholas Gorham; Paul Lewis; Leon Phillips; Donald Clayton Porter; Dana Fuller Ross; Philip Vail; and Carter A. Vaughan.
He was the son of Sam Gerson, who directed the Shubert theaters in Chicago. Gerson attended the University of Chicago, and served as the campus correspondent for the Chicago Herald-Examiner. Following graduation, he became a reporter at the paper. He later joined Chicago-based WGN as a publicity writer, subsequently becoming its talent director and main scriptwriter. After his World War II military experience in Army intelligence, he began writing TV scripts before beginning his career as an author in 1950. He and his wife Marilyn had a son and three daughters.
Gerson's primary focus was on historical novels, mostly stand-alone, with American history receiving considerable attention. Of note, he wrote a number of historical novels about colonial America and also the United States in its formative years.
Gerson also wrote a large number of biographies and biographical novels. These included several on U.S. presidents, such as Andrew Jackson, James Polk, and Theodore Roosevelt. Many of his biographic works also focused on notable women in history such as Empress Theodora of the Byzantine Empire; William the Conqueror's formidable wife, Matilda of Flanders; and Pocahantas.
During the latter stages of his career, Gerson wrote two series of American historical novels having characters that continued through the series. Using the pen name Dana Fuller Ross, the first was the popular twenty-four book Wagons West series that began in 1978 and is currently being republished. The first four books in this series describe the initial wagon train to Oregon beginning in 1837. Beginning in 1979, Gerson initiated a second series called White Indian using the pen name of Donald Clayton Porter. Set in the late 1600s, it portrays the life of Renno, a child of settlers, who was raised by the Seneca to become a senior warrior.
A brief listing follows of Gerson's books selected from the listed references below, along with the pen name used shown in parentheses. A more complete list of Gerson's works can be found in a comprehensive web-based book list such as Bookfinder.com.
Examples of Standalone Novels of Colonial America and the early United States:
Examples of biographies and biographical novels:
The first eight books in the Wagons West series:
The first eight books in the White Indian series: