Published in 1951 the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel "The Caine Mutiny" is about an average young man during World War II. He joins the Navy as an officer to avoid the draft and ends up on a destroyer and minesweeper in the Pacific. The main character, Willie Keith was a graduate of Princeton who was floating around … [Read more...] about The Caine Mutiny
In 1915 Herman Wouk was born in the Bronx. He was the second of three children for Abraham Isaac Wouk and Esther. The couple were Jewish immigrants from Belarus. When he was thirteen his grandfather came to live with them. The man gave him his education in Judaism. As a young boy, Herman did not want to study the Talmud, but his father insisted, so he learned it and later as a young adult lived a secular life for a while. Throughout his life and career religion played an important part. When asked what his most important influences he has always replied that is was his grandfather and the Navy.
By the age of nineteen Herman had earned his B. A. from the Columbia University. There he was the editor of the university's humor magazine. He also spent time writing humor for the radio including Fred Allen. In 1941 he wrote for the government selling war bonds.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Herman joined the Navy. He was in the Pacific Theater during World War II. He served as an officer of two different minesweepers and won some battle stars while participating in eight invasions. He used the information from these experiences to write "The Caine Mutiny" published in 1951. It won a Pulitzer Prize.
In 1955 Herman wrote, "Marjorie Morningstar" which was made into a movie. He also wrote "Slattery's Hurricane" which became a screenplay and "This is My God; The Jewish Way of Life" as a religious primer. During the sixties, he wrote, "Youngblood Hawke" based on a Thomas Wolfe like character and "Don't Stop the Carnival," a story about a man who moves to the Caribbean during his mid-life crisis.
Then in the seventies, he wrote two epic novels, "The Winds of War," and "War and Remembrance." He spent the eighties, nineties and early two thousands, writing about Judaism, Israel, and Jewish people. He has also dabbled in science. Especially the tension between science and religion and how to balance them. In 2012 he wrote "The Lawgiver" about a Hollywood writer writing a script about Moses.
Herman met Betty Sarah Brown in California while the ship he was on was being repaired in 1944. They married in 1945 after the war, and she converted to Judaism. They settled in New York, and he supported them with his writing. Their first son drowned in a pool at five years old. Their other two children became writers.
In their later years they settled in Palm Springs, California. That is where his wife and agent, Sarah died in 2011. He credited her as the driving force behind his career. His books have been translated into twenty-seven different languages. In 1995 he was honored by the Library of Congress by a large group of novelists, historians, publishers and critics for his eightieth birthday. In January of 2016 his latest and he says, his last book was released. It is an autobiographical memoir, "Sailor and Fiddler: Reflections of a 100 Year Old Author".