Wolff was born and raised in Chicago in a Jewish family, the son of Abe Wolff, a traveling salesman, and Bessie Billow, a Russian emigrant. He graduated from Northwestern University, then served as a second lieutenant in the United States Army Air Forces during World War II.
After the war he started a correspondence school, the Lincoln School of Practical Nursing, in Chicago. In 1953, he and his family moved to Los Angeles, where he transplanted the business and cultivated his interests in golf and jazz. Wolff wrote four books over the next dozen years. Low Level Mission (1957) described World War II's Operation Tidal Wave against the Ploiești oil fields in Romania, by the US Army Air Forces. In Flanders Field: The 1917 Campaign (1958), an account of the World War I offensive in 1917, otherwise known as the Third Battle of Ypres, or Passchendaele. Wolff also wrote the Francis Parkman Prize-winning book Little Brown Brother (1961), originally subtitled How the United States Purchased and Pacified the Philippine Islands at the Century's Turn, then wrote a final book, Lockout: The Story of the Homestead Strike of 1892 (1965), about the eponymous steel strike at Homestead, Pennsylvania.
He died in Los Angeles in 1991.
- California, Death Index, 1940-1997
- Cook County, Illinois, Birth Certificates Index, 1871-1922
- U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947
- 1940 United States Federal Census
- U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007
- "Leon Wolff". University of Chicago Press. https://www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/author/W/L/au28496424.html.
- "Little Brown Brother: How the United States Purchased and Pacified the Philippines". https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/484016.Little_Brown_Brother.
- Kramer, Paul A. (December 8, 2005). "Introduction: Decolonizing the History of the Philippine–American War". Little Brown Brother: How the United States Purchased and Pacified the Philippine Islands at the Century's Turn (Francis Parkman Prize ed.). pp. ix–xviii. ISBN 1-58288-209-6. http://www.paulkrameronline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/wolffintro.pdf. Retrieved 2019-09-26.
- "Lockout". https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/leon-wolff-3/lockout-3/.
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