Sol Yurick was born in 1925 in New York. The son of Jewish immigrants, Yurick grew up in a politically active working-class household. He enlisted in the Army during the Second World War, then studied literature before taking a job in New York City's welfare department, where he became familiar with the children of welfare families, many of whom belonged to youth gangs. This experience formed the basis for The Warriors, his first and best-known novel. He was a lifelong social activist and lived his whole life in New York; he died in Brooklyn in 2013.