One of the best things about looking back at your all-time favorite books is reliving the great feelings you had when you read them. And no matter how many new great books I read, I’ll always go back to my number one all-time favorite book, Youngblood Hawke by Herman Wouk. Last year, I was excited to learn that a couple of my blogging friends (Annika Perry’s Writing Blog and Pamela Wight at RoughWighting) had added it to their 2019 reading lists. How fun to see that people are still reading this book that first hit the scene in 1962!
Youngblood Hawke is the story of a young author from the coal mines of Kentucky who arrives in New York and becomes a hugely successful and prolific novelist. Publishers, agents, Broadway producers, filmmakers, real estate developers and, of course, women, all want a piece of this larger-than-life, good-natured and ambitious personality. Hawke’s goal all along is to make enough money so that he can really get down to business and write his most serious work, something he calls his American Comedy. There are lots of ups and downs and many detours. At 800 pages, it’s not exactly a fast read, but it’s lots of fun and well worth the commitment.
Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one who’s read Youngblood Hawke, but there are lots of fans out there. Check out these reviews and maybe you’ll add it to your list!
The average rating on Goodreads is 4.04
Amazon rates it at 4.5
This review from the LA Times says “’Youngblood Hawke’ Is No Turkey”
Are you tempted?
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19 thoughts on “Youngblood Hawke by Herman Wouk – still my favorite!”
It sounds like a good book, Barbara. Often the best books are longer as they contain lots of amazing detail.
I agree, Robbie. Having read some long ones lately, I realize more and more that the length is necessary for the detail and the plot. Thanks for reading and commenting!
Barbara, it is a incredible and memorable book .. so vivid I felt I’ve lived the life! Thank you so much for the recommendation and I’ve now had a couple of friends who have also read it and thoroughly engrossed in the novel! Happy Weekend .. Happy Reading! 😀
That’s great, Annika! I’m so happy you liked it and told your friends about Youngblood Hawke. I love books about writers and publishing – and it was such a fun read!
YES, thanks to you I read Youngblood Hawke last year – in February, actually, while on a winter vacation – and I devoured the book. Yes, it’s long so plenty of details, but it’s also long because so much happens to Youngblood! Wouk was/is a master at writing a saga of a person and the individuals around a character who change/affect their life. I suggest to my adult writing students that they read this book, but many are intimidated by its size and its copyright. But we writers and readers know that “time/age doesn’t matter.” A great story is a great story.
Hi Pam. Yes I agree with everything you say. I think people these days stay away from long books. We’ve all gotten used to the 275-300-page book and forget how great these longer books are. The Moonstone and Vanity Fair are other good examples. Reader patience with a story is important becuase that’s how real life develops. It’s not all thrillers (which I do like). Thanks so much for reading this (and Youngblood Hawke). Hope you have a great weekend! 🙂
I’m in the middle of The Secrets We Kept – so it will be a great weekend. 🙂
Lucky you – I will be working all weekend, but at least I’ll be around a lot of books. How ironic that when you work in a library, you can only watch other people read!
But you librarians help us readers so much! I teach a writing workshop once a month at my home because of a librarian – she sees my Friday creative writing students come to her library every week and wanted so much to join in that she asked me to give a private class that she and some friends could experience – so, they come once a month (today is one of those days) and we have a great time. Wish you could join us!
Oh that’s so nice, Pam. We had an official writers’ workshop, led by an author, last year at our library. And now, the students formed their own group and meet twice a month at our library to work on their writing. Hope your workshop went well and thanks for stopping by on a busy day!
The only book I’ve read by Wouk was The Winds of War. I remember I enjoyed it, but am not sure I’ve ever heard of Youngblood Hawke. I’m tempted to add it to my reading list, but considering how slowly I read I might not get to it for another decade. Still…
Well it’s always good to have some ideas of what to read, so maybe you will grab it when you have a week at the beach! Thanks for stopping by, Ally Bean 🙂
I am tempted! But 800 pages–yikes. And I usually think of Herman Wouk as too cerebral for my taste. Am I wrong?
Oh, but it’s so good! LIke I just told Jill, just pretend it’s 4 books in a series 😉 As for the cerebral, I’ve read a few of his books and I’d say Youngblood Hawke is more of an epic and entertaining soap opera than a deep thinking book. But it’s not a silly book either. He was a great writer (imo). Thanks for stopping by, Jacqui!
I’m definitely tempted! I know I’ve seen your posts about this book before, and I do need to read this. I’ve been a fan of other books of his, so my only excuse is always having too many books to read!
I know, Lisa. Every time I see a book on your blog that I want to read I think, when am I going to get to it! There are so many good books out there. And I can only go one at a time!
I’m kind of falling into Jacqui’s camp with the length…but I do like the premise.
You could pretend it’s 4 books in a series! 😉
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