An American novelist, playwright, and Olympic water polo player.
In 1904, Beach was a member of the American water polo team which won the silver medal in the 1904 Summer Olympics in St. Louis.
After five years of unsuccessful prospecting, he turned to writing. His second novel The Spoilers (1906) was based on a true story of corrupt government officials stealing gold mines from prospectors, which he witnessed while he was prospecting in Nome, Alaska. The Spoilers became one of the best selling novels of 1906.
His adventure novels, influenced by Jack London, were immensely popular throughout the early 1900s. Beach was lionized as the "Victor Hugo of the North," but others found his novels formulaic and predictable. Critics described them as cut from the "he-man school" of literature. Historian Stephen Haycox has said that many of Beach's works are "mercifully forgotten today."