Remembering American author Herman Wouk, 1915 – 2019

American author Herman Wouk passed away on May 17, days before his 104th birthday.

Wouk (pronounced “woke”) was an award-winning American author of fiction, non-fiction and plays, and the author of my number one favorite book, Youngblood Hawke. He may be the most famous for The Caine Mutiny, which won the 1952 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, but many readers in my age group will also remember his popular historical novels, also about World War II, The Winds of War and War and Remembrance. The first book was made into the very popular 1983 television miniseries starring Robert Mitchum, Ali McGraw, Jan-Michael Vincent, John Houseman and Polly Bergen. Its sequel was released in 1988, with the return of Mitchum and Bergen and added others including Jane Seymour and Sharon Stone. You can check out the sequel’s full cast and crew here.

Another favorite, Marjorie Morningstar, was published in 1955. It’s the story of a nineteen-year-old Jewish girl from New York who dreams of becoming an actress. Warner Brothers made it into a movie in 1958, starring Natalie Wood and Gene Kelly.

Wouk had a long career. When he celebrated his 100th birthday in May 2015, he announced the January 2016 release of his autobiographical memoir, Sailor and Fiddler – Reflections of a 100-year-Old Author. He said it would be his last book, but his agent reported that he had been working on a new one at the time of his death.

Have you read any books by Herman Wouk? Click here for a full list. Do you have a favorite?

Want more Wouk? Check out these earlier posts on Book Club Mom:

Who’s That Author? Herman Wouk
Youngblood Hawke by Herman Wouk

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

(Click here to read Herman Wouk’s obituary from the May 17 issue of the New York Times.)

21 thoughts on “Remembering American author Herman Wouk, 1915 – 2019

  1. Oh no, I hadn’t realised Herman Wouk had passed away – what an extraordinary life and literary writer. Once again, thank you for your recommendation of your favourite book ‘Youngblood Hawke’ which made an indelible impression on me … and a book that the whole family is now reading.

    1. OMG, Annika – I’m so glad to renew the enthusiasm for Youngblood Hawke. I just loved that story. I especially liked it because it was about a writer and the publishing business. Long ago, but some things don’t change, despite self-publishing! Thanks for the visit 🙂

  2. I think I’ve read every Wouk book – which is pretty incredible. But he gave me lots of time over the years to read each one. My first experience with his work was Marjorie Morningstar, which I absolutely loved. For some reason (I was in my early 20s I think) I just fell into this book. Next was Winds of War etc. The Caine Mutiny was my least favorite. Probably because it didn’t have enough ‘love’ or romance in it. Early this year I finally read Youngblood Hawke and again, fell in love with Wouk’s writing.Thanks for posting this delightful post about a most amazing author.

    1. Hi Pam! I haven’t read The Caine Mutiny – for some reason it has never appealed to me, but I think I will try. I also loved MM – what a great one! I’m glad you enjoyed Youngblood Hawke – I love that it’s a book about a writer, don’t you? Thanks for reading and commenting – I’ll be over to your blog today – I have to go to work soon, but I see you’ve posted!

      1. Youngblood Hawke is an amazing book with a lot of interesting themes to it. And as a writer, of course I’m so inspired by Youngblood’s dedication to his writing – setting a timer in the middle of the night so he can wake up and get in his word count. WOW. ;-0

      2. I know – that was a work ethic like no other. I felt his character was just driven to write stories – like they were already in him. It did burn him out, though. If I ever become a famous novelist, I don’t think I could do it that way!

      1. Wait….isn’t that a companion book to w and r? I think I read that too. They were so popular in the 80s

  3. Thank you for bringing Wouk’s passing to our attention! Somehow in all the cacophony that passes for news these days I had missed it. What a life! I haven’t read Youngblood Hawke, but I’m thinking I need to now!

  4. So lovely to read this. He really was a talented writer. The mini-series (both War books) made a very permanent impression on me — so powerful and well done. Based on your recommendation, I’m going to make it my business to read both Youngblood Hawke and Marjorie Morningstar. I’ve also had The Hope and The Glory on my TBR list for years, and will need to get to these. Amazing that he was still writing at his age!

    1. Hi Lisa – you are so right. Beware – Youngblood Hawke is very long, but IMO so worth it! I have never read The Caine Mutiiny – I think I will try that. I would like to re-read The Winds of War – I’m not sure I read the second one. Thanks for stopping by. Let me know if you read YBH or MM! 🙂

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