Maugham's breakthrough novel was the semi-autobiographical OF HUMAN BONDAGE
(1915), which is usually considered his outstanding achievement. It made him the
most popular author of his time. During World War I he was a volunteer ambulance driver, one of the so called Literary Ambulance Drivers of the day. In 1928 he purchased Mauresque (a word meaning 'of Moorish
style'), a villa on the Riviera in the south of France overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. In the early part of 1938 Maugham Travels in India, meeting Sri Ramana Maharshi, who he later used as a model for the holy man in his novel The Razor's Edge. As the
the Nazi military juggernaut thrust across the border into France, Maugham, like thousands of others, was forced to become a refugee, albeit, a fairly well off refugee. Under the auspices of his American publisher Nelson Doubleday, he settled in the United States for the duration of the war, first in South Carolina then in Hollywood, California. With the end of hostilities he returned to Mauresque and it remained his home till the end of his days.