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The Caine Mutiny

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The novel that inspired the now-classic film The Caine Mutiny and the hit Broadway play The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial, Herman Wouk's boldly dramatic, brilliantly entertaining novel of life-and mutiny-on a Navy warship in the Pacific theater was immediately embraced, upon its original publication in 1951, as one of the first serious works of American fiction to grapple with the moral complexities and the human consequences of World War II. In the intervening half century, The Caine Mutiny has become a perennial favorite of readers young and old, has sold millions of copies throughout the world, and has achieved the status of a modern classic.

537 pages, Paperback

First published March 19, 1951

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About the author

Herman Wouk

227 books954 followers
Herman Wouk was a bestselling, Pulitzer Prize-winning Jewish American author with a number of notable novels to his credit, including The Caine Mutiny, The Winds of War, and War and Remembrance.

Herman Wouk was born in New York City into a Jewish family that had emigrated from Russia. After a childhood and adolescence in the Bronx and a high school diploma from Townsend Harris High School, he earned a B.A. from Columbia University in 1934, where he was a member of the Pi Lambda Phi fraternity and studied under philosopher Irwin Edman. Soon thereafter, he became a radio dramatist, working in David Freedman's "Joke Factory" and later with Fred Allen for five years and then, in 1941, for the United States government, writing radio spots to sell war bonds. He lived a fairly secular lifestyle in his early 20s before deciding to return to a more traditional Jewish way of life, modeled after that of his grandfather, in his mid-20s.

Wouk joined the United States Navy and served in the Pacific Theater, an experience he later characterized as educational; "I learned about machinery, I learned how men behaved under pressure, and I learned about Americans." Wouk served as an officer aboard two destroyer minesweepers (DMS), the USS Zane and USS Southard, becoming executive officer of the latter. He started writing a novel, Aurora Dawn, during off-duty hours aboard ship. Wouk sent a copy of the opening chapters to Irwin Edman who quoted a few pages verbatim to a New York editor. The result was a publisher's contract sent to Wouk's ship, then off the coast of Okinawa. The novel was published in 1947 and became a Book of the Month Club main selection. His second novel, City Boy, proved to be a commercial disappointment at the time of its initial publication in 1948.

While writing his next novel, Wouk read each chapter as it was completed to his wife, who remarked at one point that if they didn't like this one, he'd better take up another line of work (a line he would give to the character of the editor Jeannie Fry in his 1962 novel Youngblood Hawke). The novel, The Caine Mutiny (1951), went on to win the Pulitzer Prize. A huge best-seller, drawing from his wartime experiences aboard minesweepers during World War II, The Caine Mutiny was adapted by the author into a Broadway play called The Caine Mutiny Court Martial, and was later made into a film, with Humphrey Bogart portraying Lt. Commander Philip Francis Queeg, captain of the fictional USS Caine. Some Navy personnel complained at the time that Wouk had taken every twitch of every commanding officer in the Navy and put them all into one character, but Captain Queeg has endured as one of the great characters in American fiction.

He married Betty Sarah Brown in 1945, with whom he had three sons: Abraham, Nathanial, and Joseph. He became a fulltime writer in 1946 to support his growing family. His first-born son, Abraham Isaac Wouk, died in a tragic accident as a child; Wouk later dedicated War and Remembrance (1978) to him with the Biblical words, "He will destroy death forever."

In 1998, Wouk received the Guardian of Zion Award.

Herman Wouk died in his sleep in his home in Palm Springs, California, on May 17, 2019, at the age of 103, ten days before his 104th birthday.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,229 reviews
Profile Image for David Putnam.
Author 16 books1,512 followers
January 31, 2020
I first read The Caine Mutiny thirty or more years ago and absolutely loved it. This was before I caught the writing bug and started putting out my own novels. I look at books differently now more with an eye to the craft of writing. I thought I’d give The Caine Mutiny another whirl (after I’d read Youngblood Hawk, which was an absolute amazing book). The Caine Mutiny was still grand and I liked it although not quite as much as Youngblood. Wouk received the Pulitzer for The Caine Mutiny and I think it was due in part to the time of the release and the themes that made it prize worthy. Don’t get me wrong the writing was marvelous and Caine is probably a much more accessible book for readers in general. So as far as writing and character and story, I think Youngblood is better.
While reading Youngblood I found it interesting that the main character is an author living in New York in 1947 who also wins the Pulitzer Prize. This same author in the book spent time in the military, as did Wouk. The character in the story also wrote a military book. I have yet to read a biography on Wouk but I can easily imagine that The Caine Mutiny was based to some degree on his time spent in the military, and Youngblood was based on his life as an author. I will continue now reading through the rest of Wouk in the hopes that the rest of his work carries equal weight.
David Putnam author of the Bruno Johnson series.
Profile Image for Jeffrey Keeten.
Author 3 books248k followers
October 1, 2018
It is conceivable that most unusual and extraordinary circumstances may arise in which the relief from duty of a commanding officer by a subordinate becomes necessary, either by placing him under arrest or on the sick list; but such action shall never be taken without the approval of the Navy Department or other appropriate higher authority, except when reference to such higher authority is undoubtedly impracticable because of the delay involved or for other clearly obvious reason...

Herman Wouk

The action of this book occurs on a World War Two minesweeper ship and the reason why the actions of the ship and crew seem so realistic is because Herman Wouk actually served on two different minesweepers during the war. He wrote his first book Aurora Dawnand found out it was accepted while he was stationed at Okinawa. Wouk superimposes that event on the character Tom Keefer, the man who spends more time writing than he does worrying about the rules and regs imposed by the captain.

U.S.S. Hamilton minesweeper which was the basis for the U.S.S. Caine

The Caine Mutiny was Wouk's second book and hit the market like a bombshell. It was reprinted 14 times in 1951, the initial year of publication and then 7 additional times in the following year. The library copy that I read devotes a page showing the printings and how many books were printed each time. As a collector I love information like that and wish that publishers would provide that information in books being currently published. The book went on to win the Pulitzer Prize. I have been interested of late in reading some of the post World War Two literature that the reading public couldn't seem to get enough of back in the 1950s. I hope to eventually read Nicholas Monsarrat,James Jones, John Hersey, and Irwin Shawto name a few. If anyone has a post World War Two book that you feel I should definitely read please do not be shy.

Another interesting fact about Herman Wouk is that he is STILL ALIVE. It didn't even cross my mind that he could still be making motion on this planet. He is 97 years old.

I have not seen the movie inspired by the book, but by all accounts it is really well done. Humphrey Bogart dropped his asking price to secure the role of Captain Queeg. It was a role he was familiar with as a loner, unwilling to accept help from friends or suffer insults from enemies.

Bogart as Captain Queeg

The story is told through the eyes of Willie Keith. A man/boy who joins the Navy simply so he won't get drafted by the Army. His family is very wealthy and his life is really more concerned about a series of parties than about a war being fought in the Pacific. He plays piano and meets a girl named May Wynn, a nightclub singer from the wrong side of the tracks. She is breathtakingly beautiful with red hair, snappy with dialogue, and though his intention is to just have fun with her their relationship becomes...complicated. The problem is that she is descended from not only poor Italian immigrants, but also rather unattractive parents. Keith despite his best efforts can not see a meshing between his upper crust family and the family from the wrong side of the tracks.

Actress Donna Lee Hickey who played May Wynn in the movie.

The actress Donna Lee Hickey who played May Wynn in the movie actually kept the name after the movie and continued to perform under that moniker for the rest of her life. Keith goes through many painful realizations about his relationship with May. He breaks up with her. He then begs for her to come back. When he later in the story comes home to find her and is upset that she is with someone else May crystallizes it for him. "I don't have to listen to you get nasty. Just remember, my friend, you kicked me to the gutter. If somebody picked me up what do you care?" Of course, don't we expect people to pine for us, waiting on a meat hook for us for the rest of their lives?

Captain Queeg joins the ship and finds that the Captain preceding him has been rather lax with regulations. He imposes stricter guidelines which at first is a relief to Keith, but when he gets on the wrong side of Queeg his opinion of the man changes very quickly. After a series of mishaps caused by the Captain's decision making and the inability of the Captain to accept any responsibility for his mistakes the crew turns against him. As the Captain feels this shift his behavior becomes more erratic and soon even the officers start to turn against him.

The novelist Tom Keefer sums up Queeg. About a week after Queeg came aboard I realized he was a psychopath. The shirttail obsession, the little rolling balls, the inability to look you in the eye, the talking in secondhand phrases and slogans, the ice-cream mania, the seclusion--why, the man's a Freudian delight. He crawls with clues. But that doesn't matter. Some of my best friends are psychopaths. It could be argued that I'm one. The thing is, Queeg is an extreme case, bordering on the twilight zone between eccentricity and real psychosis. And because he's a coward, I think that being in a combat zone is beginning to drive him over the red line.

Where this book really shines is in probing the effects of extreme conditions on individuals and how they react under those conditions. I'm still amazed how Wouk deftly turns us against Captain Queeg and then as the plot advances starts to shift our opinions back the other direction. We see Willie Keith evolve from a love sick, immature, self-centered jerk into a real man. He owes the war. Without the war I'm not sure that Willie Keith would have ever become a man worth occupying space on the planet.

After the trial the officers who were so critical of Captain Queeg are they themselves tested and in some cases they are weighed and found to be wanting. Keith is tested and stands up to the pressure, but still comes away with more understanding of the mental fatigue that plagues anyone in authority. When the Caine is hit by a Japanese kamikaze plane the reality of the war hits him square between the eyes.

Kamikaze plane coming in

"Willie was used to the sight of dead people. He had seen a few relatives laid out in plush-lined boxes in the amber gloom of funeral chapels, with an organ mourning sweetly through loudspeakers and a heavy smell of flowers filling the air. No undertaker had intervened, however, to prettify the death of Horrible. The water washed away for a few seconds, and the lantern beam showed the sailor clearly, pinned down and crushed by the battered engine of the Jap plane, his face and his dungarees black with grease. The sight reminded Willie of the mashed squirrels he had often seen lying on the roads of Manhasset on autumn mornings. It was shocking to soak in, all in an instant, the fact that people are as soft and destructible as squirrels."

What really worked for me in this book was the change in perspective from the jocular style at the beginning of the novel to the wise eyes of the characters by the end of the novel. It was as if we were allowed to see the maturing of the writer as he was writing the novel. Highly recommended!
Profile Image for Matt.
918 reviews28.2k followers
October 10, 2018
“Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who’s gonna do it? You?...I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know – that Santiago’s death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives.”
- Jack Nicholson as Colonel Nathan Jessep, in A Few Good Men

“See, while I was studying law ‘n old Keefer here was writing his play for the Theatre Guild, and Willie here was on the playing fields of Princeton, all that time these birds we call regulars – these stuffy, stupid Prussians, in the Navy and the Army were manning guns. Course they weren’t doing it to save my mom from Hitler, they were doing it for dough, like everybody else does what they do. Question is, in the last analysis – last analysis – what do you do for dough? [Commander Queeg], for dough, was standing guard on this fat dumb and happy country of ours.”
- Barney Greenwald in Herman Wouk’s The Caine Mutiny

The Caine Mutiny is a turducken of a book. Its 537 pages are overstuffed with plots, subplots, and narrative excursions; with main characters, secondary characters, and cameos. Somewhere between the covers is a taut, 200-page legal thriller arising from the titular mutiny aboard the USS Caine, and the subsequent court-martial. I suspect some people will find the book bloated, and dislike or avoid it. Others, and I count myself among them, love it for that very reason. This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is Tolstoyean in its scope and ambitions. For those with the patience to settle in and let a story unfold at its own pace, it has many rewards.

This is first and foremost a war novel, and a classic to boot. But it’s not your typical war novel. There is hardly a battle worth mentioning; just a few shots fired, and a lone kamikaze. In its way, it is more representative than its more action-packed predecessors. Only a fraction of soldiers and sailors actually experienced the terrible contest of battle. Most served in support roles, away from the front lines. The old, decrepit destroyer-minesweeper USS Caine serves on the fringes of war. She seldom sweeps any mine. Most of the time, she is relegated to escort duty or target towing. The sailors aboard her, most of them civilians just a short time before, are trying to get by as best they can. Here, boredom, tedium, and low-grade discomfort rule. Their greatest enemy is never the Japanese; it is rather their new commander, the high-strung Philip Francis Queeg.

Queeg is Wouk’s greatest creation. A paranoid Ahab who seems, at first blush, to be tyrannical, despotic, unbalanced, mendacious, and a coward. The officers aboard the Caine, especially the resident novelist, Lt. Keefer (something of a stand-in for Wouk), think him mad. Queeg’s incompetence – poor ship-handling, blame distribution, jumpiness under fire – lend credence to this belief. Wouk never allows you to get too comfortable with this idea, though. For The Caine Mutiny is also a psychological study, and it is always framing and reframing the story, so that the reader is never quite sure what to conclude. Is Queeg, in fact, mentally ill? Or are his officers, in fact, mutinously disloyal? The dialectic continues really until the last page.

Much of The Caine Mutiny a is Campbell-esque hero’s journey, except that in the world of destroyer-minesweepers, there aren’t really heroes. The main character, the man we follow most closely (Wouk employs an authoritarian, godlike third-person perspective) is young Lt. j.g. Willie Keith. In Wouk’s prologue, he portentously intones that the story to follow turns on Keith’s “personality as the massive door of a vault turns on a small jewel bearing.” Before we get to that point, however, we follow Willie through midshipmen school, to his posting on an admiral’s staff in Hawaii, and finally to his placement as communications officer on the Caine. We are also “treated” to his endless, consistently irritating relationship with lounge singer May Wynn. Of all the digressions Wouk takes, this is the hardest to bear. Yet, if it was taken away, I think it’d make for a lesser novel.

In The Winds of War and War and Remembrance, Wouk gave us War and Peace transplanted to World War II. Those two massive novels are unparalleled reading experiences. In them, Wouk attempts to swallow the world. He tries to balance the cosmic with the intimate; to weigh the sheer scale of a world war against the concerns, fears, hopes, and doubts of individuals.

Wouk does a similar thing here, though on a lesser scale. He enjoys positioning the tininess of the Caine’s role against the massive backdrop of the Pacific War. He comments on the inability of the Caine’s officers and men to understand their place in the grand scheme of things. Wouk points out that we readers have an advantage over his characters, in that they cannot see over the horizon. This proves an effective technique in giving you an understanding of what it might have been like to serve in the backwater of the greatest conflict to ever roil the earth.

Wouk served on a destroyer-minesweeper during World War II, and his evocation of the experience is almost tactile. You spend a lot of time on the old Caine, with her peeling paint, her rusted deck, rank with the smell of sweat and stack gas. Wouk nails the monotony, the rhythms, and the protocols of naval service. Most of Wouk’s characters are reservists or draftees, who don’t respect or understand the Navy’s processes. Threaded into the narrative is Wouk’s defense of the institution, even when it seems aggressively wrongheaded. It feels like the lessons that Willie learn throughout the novel are the ones that Wouk himself probably learned. (In an almost apologetic forward, Wouk stresses that this is a fictional work, lest one think that such a thing as mutiny could ever happen in the U.S. Navy).

The pivotal moment of The Caine Mutiny is a typhoon. At the height of the storm, the executive officer Maryk (a decent man; a fisherman; perhaps the most likeable character in a book that is short on truly likeable characters) decides to remove Queeg from command using Article 184. This act gives the novel its title; surprisingly, though, it does not come across as a climax. It almost seems buried, arriving somewhere in the middle of a relatively hefty tome.

As a writer, Wouk has been damned by faint praise. He won the Pulitzer, but critics today tend to compliment him by focusing on the level of his ambition, rather than the crafting of his prose, or the validity of his insights. Partially, this is a tonal critique. Wouk is generally pro-military and sees war as a sometimes necessary evil, positions that never fit with postwar, Vietnam-influenced classics like Catch 22.

In terms of style, he is not formally daring, I suppose. This isn’t Mailer. A certain strand of conservatism runs through this work (and also The Winds of War and War and Remembrance). He has wiped away the “general obscenity and blasphemy of shipboard talk” in order to avoid – in his words – annoying “some readers.” The existence of sex – and talk about sex – is acknowledged as a possibility, but never described in detail. The result can be a little jarring. A story of shipboard life that feels absolutely true and, at the same time, patently false.

With that said, I think Wouk deserves a lot more acclaim. As in, he might be the best war novelist of all time. He is the master of the epic. His characters are interesting and fully realized. It is telling that none of the people in The Caine Mutiny are all good or all bad. They all have dimension. Willie is our protagonist, but he is as callow and irritating as hell for much of the time. Wouk’s sense of place is spot on. He is a grand assembler of detail, so that the novel’s world envelops you, whether that’s the Caine’s wardroom or a dingy New York City lounge. The dialogue, especially the court-martial, is also quite sharp, good enough to be transplanted almost verbatim into the film version (featuring Humphrey Bogart’s towering performance as Queeg).

The Caine Mutiny is a masterpiece, a powerful study of command, of loyalty, and of duty, set on one of the most unlikely stages of all: the antique decks of a misfit ship sailing at the outer periphery of world-historical events.
Profile Image for Carol.
1,370 reviews2,135 followers
February 18, 2017
Excellent! My first Super Favorite of 2017.

THE CAINE MUTINY begins with character development of Willie Keith, his affluent family and worries over the possible consequences of having an immigrant girlfriend as he goes from being a spoiled, immature Princeton grad and amateur pianist to life in the U.S. Navy during WWII.

This brilliant classic work follows Willie aboard ship where we see how the men live, eat and occasionally sleep while performing their duties in an environment filled with daily (and nightly) chaos and disruption under the command of a nauseating, deceitful, paranoid and cowardly "crazy lunatic" Captain.

A truly captivating story with many 'I can't believe this!' moments and a dramatic highly effective ending I thought fit the bill.

(It is interesting to note that Wouk's own personal experiences aboard a destroyer-minesweeper in the pacific during WWII influenced parts of this novel.)

Update: February 16, 2017 - Watched the movie with Bogey playing the part of crazy Captain Queeg, and found it to be very similar to the book except for Willie Keith's girlfriend May who has a much more complicated personality in the novel making for a much more interesting ending. For me, overall, the written word was better than the visual expressing more feeling and a bit more detail.

Profile Image for Luffy.
867 reviews719 followers
December 16, 2020
What sets Herman Wouk apart from his successors is his understanding of both characterization and plotting. He is great at both. The Winds of War books, appearing more than 20 years from The Caine Mutiny, are equally brilliant. The man was a prodigy.

The Caine Mutiny, happens on an old rustbucket of a tow ship called the Caine. Thoughout the book, Wouk teases us, making us hungry for the moment when the crew of the ship blows its collective gasket. It was long in coming, but when it did, the courtroom scenes didn't disappoint.

The book revolves around Willie Kieth, who is the only character whose private life is shown. If he is the main character, he is marginally so. His friends are Steve Maryk, and Tom Keefer, and his antagonist is Commander Queeg. I had a lot of fun reading this book. The verisimilitude laces and binds the mechanism of life in the Navy, during WW2. What an experience. A fully deserved Pulitzer Prize.
Profile Image for Tuco Markham.
48 reviews2 followers
August 13, 2011
My favorite Pulitzer Prize winning fiction novel. Why?? It is set in World War II and it just tells a story, no deep intellectual meaning, no homosexual subtext, no infidelity, no sex, no profanity for profanity's sake, etc. etc. Just a good story and in the end you don't know who you want to "root" for.
Profile Image for Brad.
Author 2 books1,687 followers
September 22, 2008
Top Ten Reasons to Give The Caine Mutiny a Chance

10. Wouk's clear, compelling, Pulitzer Prize winning prose.

9. The boredom of military service, even in wartime, has never been so interesting.

8. The USS Caine DMS feels like home -- no matter who's in command.

7. The ineluctable build of Queeg's collapse.

6. Willie's slow and certain becoming.

5. Keefer's behaviour insuring that no side is "right."

4. The best novelized military trial ever written.

3. The complexity of Wouk's characters, even when they only appear in a small portion of the book.

2. The painfully true love affair of Willie and May

1. Marbles, strawberries, and yellow stains.
Profile Image for Chrissie.
2,735 reviews1,469 followers
November 2, 2018
I am quite amazed that I like this as much as I did. I liked it a lot

The setting is a destroyer mine sweeper, the USS Caine, during the Second World War. It is dilapidated; it is old. You do not visit different places; you are practically always out on the sea and you are stuck on one lousy boat. The jargon is nautical, and I am no expert in that. The characters are the crew-- but each man goes by their rank, and they change rank, their first name, their last name and their nicknames. Surprisingly enough, this is confusing only at the beginning! There is one woman, of course not one of the crew! She is the love interest, at home in New York City. And a mother.

The book is very much a character study. This is why the book hit home for me. This is why all the difficulties that could have arisen fall away. The names, the jargon, the cramped quarters and life stuck on just one boat are not problems because the characters and their milieu become so real. You watch boys turn into men. You observe how some grow in stature and mature. You observe how those in authority dish out commands very differently. All are changed by the experiences they share. At the same time, each character retains that which makes them unique. What makes one able to shoulder responsibility while another one folds? We observe how each man copes with danger, fear and stress. The reactions are myriad. I leave the book feeling that each character is drawn consistently. Each has become real to me. None are cardboard figures. This is why I liked the book as much as I did.

The book looks at the need for authority and obedience in the navy, particularly in a war situation. How does one, how should one deal with a subordinate who thinks, who has a mind of his own and comes up with creative solutions? Some men are quite simply not born to lead. During the Second World War finding an adequate number of good captains was difficult; you had no choice but to make do with what you had.

Life on the boat is drawn extremely well. The jargon is not explained, because it wouldn’t be. As you proceed you learn. You have seen how the word is used, and you come to understand and never does the telling loose its feel of authenticity.

I spoke of a love thread. This too is very well done. Realistically.

There are no simple answers provided. You observe and think and draw your own conclusions.

It is important to note that the book was published in 1951. It is of course making a statement about the military.

Kevin Pariseau reads the audiobook absolutely wonderfully. His intonations perfectly personify the characters. In a conversation he consistently and skillfully switches between characters. You hear who is speaking. You hear the characters’ emotional state as events unfold. There is a storm. There is a fire. Not only are the events dramatically and accurately written, but they are also perfectly read by Pariseau. There is not a doubt in my mind that the audiobook narration should be given anything but five stars. The narration could not be better.

The story has action, and it has humor and it will get you thinking.
Profile Image for Mike (the Paladin).
3,145 reviews1,813 followers
August 15, 2016
In many ways this is a difficult book, at least to categorize and/or rate. It was also a difficult read for me at times, by turns absorbing, slightly boring, almost exciting, very infuriating, frustrating and thought provoking.

I suppose most will know at least the outline of the story here as it's not only a novel, but a play and a movie. I'll still try to avoid spoilers here for those who haven't run across it in any form. Let me say that the book doesn't fall easily into one category. It's a story of men in war, but not just WWII. There are also internal wars, class wars and conscious wars. My reaction to each of the participants here were my own. I could not bring myself to dislike Queeg while I strongly disliked most of the Jr. Officers.

The book is quite likely better than my 3 star rating may suggest, however I did find my mind wandering (especially when we were with a certain young ne'er-do-well trying to get his love life straight). The class warfare here has some interesting implications and bears greatly on the book's climax and conclusion. I do recommend it and suggest you decide for yourself.
Profile Image for Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ....
1,882 reviews45 followers
July 14, 2018
Herman Wouk is a master storyteller. I read his works The Winds of War and War and Remembrance in the first few months after their release and they have consistently stayed on my favorite books ever read list. But for some reason I hadn't read anything else by him. I think perhaps I was afraid that they wouldn't live up to the standard. But this book is brilliant. The characters are rich, flawed, unique and real. The plot is well-paced, finely written. Wouk's ability to tell the story of war is so good. As a reader I can hear the bombs drop, I can feel the sting of salt water sloshing through the door during a gale, I can taste the food. He paints the picture so vividly. He draws with words and it is a lovely experience.
Profile Image for Sara.
Author 1 book487 followers
June 5, 2019
I think you could say The Caine Mutiny is a coming of age story. Willie Keith is young, green and naive when he is assigned to the U.S.S. Caine straight out of officer’s training. By the end of the book, he is a man and he has learned a lot about what being a man entails, including that life is seldom black and white.

Waok created one of the clearest, most memorable characters in American fiction in Captain Queeg. He is a despicable, weak, insecure bully, and he deserves the hatred and lack of respect that he gets from his crew, but does that make the mutiny correct and unavoidable? Like Willie, my view of the events changes over the course of the novel, and I find that Queeg is not the only despicable, cowardly man on this ship.

I could have done without the side love story. I found it less believable or even understandable than the shipboard tale. Somehow it also did not fit quite perfectly with the impression I had of who Willie was. But it was a minor part of the book and did not detract from the realism of life aboard the Caine and the emotional strain and everyday details of a wartime navy.

At the end of this novel, we have a more mature and balanced Willie Keith, and by the end of this novel, I had a more balanced and mature view of the events that led up to the mutiny. One thing that a good leader has is the respect and support of his men, and when there is no respect or confidence in the leader, there is chaos. Chaos makes for mistakes, and they are seldom all made by just one person.

I thoroughly enjoyed this unique view of World War II. I am reading all the Pulitzer Prize winners, and I have found the committee doesn’t always get it right. Some of their choices are questionable, but this is not one of them; this book deserves the recognition. It reads as well today, and has the same kind of relevance, as it did in the 1950s. The war is over, but you could find a Willie Keith, Tom Keefer, Steve Meryk, or Captain Queeg still out there in plenty, and if you are very lucky, a Greenwald to argue your case.
Profile Image for Sue K H.
355 reviews64 followers
March 10, 2021
The Caine Mutiny is a novel that most definitely deserves its Pulitzer Prize.   There aren't many novels that have all the goods; well-drawn characters, a driving narrative, twists and turns, two-sided moral dilemmas, and great dialogue. You would think Wouk was checking things off, but no formula could create this masterpiece. It's about so much more than a dreadfully paranoid and vindictive captain, or a disloyal crew.  It's really about the coming of age of various sailors as they understand what it is to have courage under crisis in a WWII environment.   I loved every bit of this book.  Now I must see the film.
Profile Image for Natylie Baldwin.
Author 5 books36 followers
January 23, 2014
It wasn't until I got about 2/3 of the way through that I realized this was a 5-star book.

The book has its flaws: there is some extraneous material in the first half that could have been cut down, there are a few instances of an awkward secondary character point of view, and there is a generous sprinkling of those pesky adverbs that everyone seems to equate with literary leprosy these days.

But the events immediately preceding the mutiny, the actual mutiny itself and the subsequent court martial is where the story really shines, attempting to untangle the messy issues of honor, cowardice and what constitutes the conveyance of truth in human interactions and their motivations.

Ultimately, it is another officer, smug and self-righteous, who is revealed to be more worthy of the reader's abhorrence than Captain Queeg who, despite his tyranny and paranoia, elicits sympathy. He is clearly a damaged man who is in over his head and seems to truly believe his delusions. Admittedly, this view is enhanced by Humphrey Bogart's brilliant performance in the film, which is what prompted me to read the novel in the first place.

Although Willie Keith, who provides the lens through which we see most of the story, matures into a respectable character that can understand Queeg better in hindsight, his ultimate conclusion about the captain and the mutiny don't seem to square with how the events were actually portrayed. Steve Maryck, the officer who relieved Queeg of command to save the ship made a conscientious decision under the circumstances and was the most honorable of all of the officers who displayed varying degrees of the flaws of humans, magnified under great stress. Up to that point, he had been the most willing to give Queeg the benefit of the doubt and showed no signs of being power hungry. Therefore, Keith's conclusion about the incident was understandably complicated but also rather confusing.

Keith's hot and cold romance with girlfriend, May Wynn, is a compelling sub-plot that explores many of the same themes as the main plot but in a different context.

If you enjoyed the film but are interested in a more complex and in-depth treatment of the story and its characters or if you haven't seen the film and are interested in a great coming of age story set in the back drop of World War II, I highly recommend this book.

Profile Image for Dennis.
14 reviews3 followers
August 23, 2017
This is my favorite read so far this year. Its got everything . Sea story, war story, love story and court room drama. The movie leaves out so much. This is one of the great novels to come out of world war 2 and a worthy winner of the Pulitzer Prize. I could kick myself for not reading this sooner in my life.
Profile Image for Jeff Miller.
1,110 reviews169 followers
June 20, 2013
Wow just wow.

First time I have read this one, although have seen the movie oh so many times. This review assumes you have seen the movie, if not don't read ahead.

The film version is brilliant and certainly captures some aspects of the book. The film and the book both have the sucker-punch involving involving the speech by the lawyer Greenwald after most of the book deals with the crew and the infamous Captain Queeg.

The novel though has a different narrative through the eyes of "Willie" Keith. An affluent young man with no real goals who enters the Navy as a midshipman mostly to avoid the Army. A spoiled and rather selfish young man. Much of the narrative also involves his girlfriend someone he knows his Mother would not approve of and he is also willing to string her along. So there are aspects of this story of "Willie" becoming a man and accepting responsibility. But this is done in such an organic way that is totally natural to the plot and the story that unfolds.

Humphrey Bogart's portrayal of Captain Queeg was so pitch-perfect it is hard to separate the actor from the character in the book. Bogart after reading this novel specifically wanted to play Queeg. Queeg's eccentricities and the crews reactions to him are a major part of the book and as a reader you get so frustrated with the Captain's actions.

One thing that is much more evident in the novel over the movie is Lieutenant Thomas Keefer role in the events and his true character. It is rather interesting to have an author make the real rather-dispicable character (Keefer) in the book a novelist. Events after the trial really show this and there are some great scenes involving this towards the end of the book.

The scene involving Greenwald the defense lawyer in the party after the acquittal is really the moral center of the book. But there is also a deeper lesson to be learned here. How do we treat people we don't like? How much do we appreciate those who give their lives in service?

After 20 years in the Navy there were certainly no Queeg like captains. Although I served under one LT who we called behind his back "the memo monster". A man who would not directly talk to somebody in a desk directly behind him, but would write a memo to him instead. There was pretty much a mutinous atmosphere for the small crew I worked with who worked for him. The fact that other officers had a similar disdain for him did not help. I wonder now how much our disdain and animosity acted as a feedback loop for him. Sure he had obvious faults, but like the crew in this book towards Queeg there were no efforts to help. Sarcasm and mockery were the only tools.

It really is so easy to fall into this trap. To dehumanize. To place ourselves above others in whatever aspects we can find to be superior in. To talk behind their back, but to never pray for them behind there back.

What I most loved about this book it that while it is such an intriguing story, there is so much depth to it. I also quite enjoyed the ending and how the author left some mystery, but mystery with hope.

It is interesting to note that the author Herman Wouk is now 98 and that he served on the same class of vessel as in the novel during WWII.
Profile Image for George K..
2,364 reviews292 followers
August 17, 2021
"Ανταρσία στο Κέην", εκδόσεις Bell.

Πρώτη επαφή με το έργο του Χέρμαν Γουκ και δεν μπορώ παρά να δηλώσω εξαιρετικά ικανοποιημένος, τόσο από την ιστορία και τη γενικότερη ατμόσφαιρα, όσο κυρίως από τη γραφή και τους χαρακτήρες. Το βιβλίο το βρήκα πριν κάμποσα χρόνια σε παλαιοβιβλιοπωλείο και μέχρι τώρα έπιανε σκόνη στη βιβλιοθήκη μου, αλλά αποφάσισα να το πάρω μαζί μου στις διακοπές και να το διαβάσω επιτέλους, ώστε μετά να δω και την ταινία που βασίζεται σ' αυτό. Η αλήθεια είναι ότι, ελέω των εξαιρετικών κριτικών και της φήμης που έχει σαν βιβλίο, είχα αρκετά υψηλές προσδοκίες πριν το πιάσω στα χέρια μου, και τελικά το βρήκα ακόμα καλύτερο απ' όσο περίμενα!

Πρόκειται για ένα ιδιαίτερα καλογραμμένο και οξυδερκές μυθιστόρημα, για μια πολύ ενδιαφέρουσα και ξεχωριστή ιστορία που διαδραματίζεται κατά τον Β' Παγκόσμιο Πόλεμο. Ειλικρινά σας λέω, δεν υπήρξε ούτε μια σελίδα, ούτε καν μια παράγραφος που να με κάνει να βαρεθώ ή να χάσω το ενδιαφέρον μου, ο συγγραφέας χάρη στη γραφή του και το βάθος στην πλοκή και τους χαρακτήρες του κατάφερε να με κρατήσει στην τσίτα από την πρώτη μέχρι κυριολεκτικά την τελευταία σελίδα. Και όταν έφτασα στο τέλος, πραγματικά στεναχωρήθηκα, γιατί τελείωσε μια τόσο ωραία ιστορία, γιατί δεν θα ξανασυναντήσω όλους αυτούς τους χαρακτήρες.

Βέβαια, οφείλω να πω ότι πρόκειται για ένα βραδυφλεγές πολεμικό δράμα, θέλει τον χρόνο του, θέλει υπομονή, δεν είναι μια πολεμική περιπέτεια γεμάτη εκρήξεις, κυνηγητά και τέτοια, σίγουρα έχει αρκετό μπλα μπλα (που εγώ, φυσικά, το απόλαυσα). Ο συγγραφέας σκαρφίστηκε ένα συγκεκριμένο σενάριο για να θίξει ορισμένα σημαντικά ζητήματα σχετικά με τον πόλεμο, το Ναυτικό και τον τρόπο λειτουργίας του, και πιστεύω ότι τα κατάφερε με απόλυτη επιτυχία. Η γραφή είναι πάρα πολύ καλή, άκρως λογοτεχνική και άξια βραβείων (δεν είναι τυχαίο ότι το βιβλίο κέρδισε το Πούλιτζερ πεζογραφίας), με γλαφυρές περιγραφές, ζωντανούς διαλόγους και οξυδερκείς παρατηρήσεις και σκέψεις.

Είναι οπωσδήποτε ένα από τα καλύτερα μυθιστορήματα που έχω διαβάσει σχετικά με τον Β' Παγκόσμιο Πόλεμο, αλλά εδώ που τα λέμε και ένα από τα καλύτερα μυθιστορήματα ανεξαρτήτως είδους και θεματολογίας. Στη συλλογή μου έχω το δίτομο "Οι άνεμοι του πολέμου" και το τρίτομο "Πόλεμος και αναμνήσεις", που φαίνονται ακόμα πιο δυνατά (αν αυτό είναι δυνατό), ενώ ψάχνω και το δίτομο "Marjorie Morningstar". Ωραία όλα αυτά, είναι πολυσέλιδα μυθιστορήματα που είμαι σίγουρος ότι θα μου χαρίσουν κάμποσες ώρες αναγνωστικής απόλαυσης, αλλά μακάρι να μεταφράζονταν και άλλα βιβλία του, όπως για παράδειγμα το "Don't Stop the Carnival" ή το "Youngblood Hawke" (ή οποιοδήποτε άλλο). Πολύ καλός συγγραφέας.
Profile Image for Sarah.
731 reviews73 followers
May 12, 2016
4.5 rounded up this time. I was wondering when I started this how you can possibly get 500+ pages/26+ listening hours out of a mutiny. It seems like that's an event rather than a lengthy story. It turns out that it's not entirely about the mutiny. That's sort of a moment in time where the character's fates intertwine, otherwise it's a story about what it's like to be on a ship in the Navy in war time.

The book starts out with young, naïve, slight spoiled Willie Keith getting drafted into the Army during WWII. He runs off to enroll in the Navy to become an officer. He comes out of training an Ensign, which was the moment when I realized he couldn't possibly be leading the damn mutiny, so why was he the main character? At the time that he went into training, he was a decent pianist who made a living making up puns in ridiculous little cringe-worthy ditties. This is where he meets the beautiful and highly desirable Mae. He sees her on the sly because Mom wouldn't approve of this vulgar, coarse, poor, Italian woman.

Wouk does a truly beautiful job of developing Willie's character and showing us the ways that he grows over the course of the story. After we're pretty firmly comfortable with Willie's character, he starts showing us interactions that are happening between other people on board. He does this so effectively that I actually did burst out laughing a few times because the interactions were just so natural.

Since Willie is not the main person involved in the mutiny, it also allows us to see what he thinks of the mutiny afterwards, and what he thinks of the Navy. What his hindsight is and what he thinks of the Navy in general at the end of the story.

It's a very human story and a fascinating story of WWII. And I just have to use one of my favorite lines here. Upon meeting his completely naked Captain (not Queeg) "Willie felt an urge to salute, to bow, in some way to express reverence for supreme authority. But he remembered a regulation about not saluting a superior when he was uncovered. And he had never seen a more uncovered superior than his commanding officer." How awkward.
Profile Image for Kurt.
563 reviews54 followers
November 18, 2017
One hallmark of a great author, in my opinion, is the ability to realistically depict a character who is mentally unstable. From my limited reading, the best example I remember is the schizophrenic neighbor in Richard Yates' Revolutionary Road. Anyone who has not read that book should -- if for no other reason than to marvel at the author's skill.

Author Herman Wouk also makes a spectacular show of the same skill in his depiction of the disturbed Philip Queeg, Captain of the U.S.S. Caine, in his Pulitzer prize winning novel The Caine Mutiny.

A few years ago I caught a portion of the old movie of the same name on TV. It starred Humphrey Bogart as Capt. Queeg. I remember being highly impressed with Bogart's performance and the tension and suspense that the scene involving the "strawberry incident" elicited. I was only able to watch about 15-20 minutes of the movie, but it left an indelible mark on my psyche to the effect that, years later, while reading the book I consistently read Capt. Queeg's lines in the voice of Humphrey Bogart. It was a great treat that added to my enjoyment of the novel.

The best part of the this book is the court martial of the "mutineers" near the end. I love court room dramas when they are well scripted, well thought out, and well delivered. This one was one of the best.

I'm not sure why I'm not giving this 5 stars. I really loved it and can't think of any way to criticize it other than the fact that in some places it didn't keep my attention quite as well as I would prefer. Perhaps some of the seafaring lingo and terminology may have been a tad cumbersome for me also. But this really is a great book.

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Just a side note: Whenever I decide to read a book I always do a little research on the author. I was fascinated to learn that Herman Wouk is still alive at the age of 102. His most recent novel, The Lawgiver was published in 2012 when he was 97. And just two years ago at the age of 100 his memoir Sailor and Fiddler: Reflections of a 100-Year Old Author was published.
Profile Image for Wayne Barrett.
Author 3 books107 followers
October 3, 2018

Brilliant work. Being an old Navy man myself and having spent 3 years on a Guided Missile Cruiser (USS Jouett CG-29) I was really able to relate to the details of the life of a sailor at sea, including the experience of sailing through a typhoon.

I grew a little impatient in the beginning, but my journey with Willy Keith, the spoiled, soft, Princeton boy really took hold of me and immersed me into the story as I saw him make his way through the ranks of officers aboard the USS Caine. Even the romantic interludes with his girl, Mae, was not enough to dissuade me from getting into it. This was one of those stories where I found myself so angry and dumbfounded, mostly at the skipper of the Caine, Captain Queeg, that I never wanted to quit listening.

The scenes involving Queeg and his crew, the turmoil during a typhoon which led to the mutiny, and the ensuing court martial was one of the most enthralling pieces I've read in a while. I'm going to have to look for this one in print and try it again some time. I would also be proud to have it in my library. This one deserved the Pulitzer and I would recommend it to anyone.
Profile Image for Donna.
3,901 reviews20 followers
May 3, 2018
This is a classic and it won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1952. I picked this up in an Audible sale only because it was highly rated on GR. I wasn't sure if I'd like it, but I trusted the ratings and I'm glad I did. I ended up enjoying this one for so many reasons.

The author kept me hooked with a great plot. He built the suspense that led to the inevitable event of mutiny. There were also wonderful characters that were well defined. I loved the emotional depth and how detailed the relationships were. But the one thing that I appreciated the most, is that this wasn't just a book written by guy in the Navy. He not only used his experiences and lessons learned while in the Navy, but he put them into a well written story. This had an authentic feel and he seemed to nail human nature. So 4 stars.
Profile Image for Jan Rice.
522 reviews444 followers
July 27, 2017
A few days ago Trump's behavior led me to start thinking about The Caine Mutiny, instead, say, of 1984 and other dystopian novels (or Mein Kampf). My thoughts turned in that direction beginning with the tweet-storm against his attorney general, his early supporter. I read the book as a teenager. I remember the suspense and being pulled along by the plot. Tonight I watched the movie. That's a short-cut. The movie doesn't have a tenth of all the detail, but reading some friends' reviews helped. Trump would never do that weaselly asking-for-help bit, and the A Few Good Men bit at the end doesn't apply either. (Nor, for the record, did I buy it in the movie tonight.) Trump, in contrast to the fictional Queeg, is doing a creepy will-to-power thing. The aspect with resonance for me is his losing it while in command of the ship of state and the decisions and sequelae unfolding in response. And how the perception of his condition is refracted while 'turning, turning in the widening gyre;' how his status is impacted by the power of his position, and by his ongoing deflection of blame.

The New Yorker Daily Cartoon for July 26, 2017
Profile Image for Taija.
352 reviews8 followers
August 6, 2017
1952 Pulitzer Prize Winner.

1001 stars! Oh my word, this book! No matter what I say, I will not give this book, nor the author the due credit they deserve!

This is why I began my Pulitzer Prize reading challenge - to read books that impact me on every conceivable level, in a good way! Last night, after I finished reading the chapter titled 'The Mutiny,' I closed my book, rolled over, and began to pray out of anguish. FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT REAL!!!!!!!! And today, today! I was so nervous reading the court-martial chapters that my stomach hurt and I had to take breathing breaks to calm my pulse. That's good writing folks!

This is one of those books that will stay with me for a long, long, long time. This book played with my emotions, and had me stuck between a rock and hard place with the topic of rebellion (or in this case, mutiny). In every respect, I thought the three men who relieved the crazy cook captain of his duties were in the right: Captain Queeg was insane. But then, when the Jewish lawyer, Greenwald, drunkenly delivered his toast, his speech had me questioning every decision the crew made - maybe they were actually wrong...

Lawyer Greenwald sticks the hard truth to these sailors from his perspective, the perspective of a Jewish man who had relatives who were slaughtered in the concentration camps. Who was working to protect his family? Why, Captain Queeg himself, the very man they committed mutiny against! Greenwald tells the men who committed the mutiny were guilty, then insults the biggest coward of them all (yes, the biggest coward was Tom Keefer, the man who hid behind words, books, and manipulated others into committing mutiny so his own hands could remain clean. He was the real guilty party, and he should have been tried). The irony that Greenwald splashed yellow wine on Keefer's face is not lost on the reader.

And then there's the protagonist, Willie Keith. I love me a good romance in a story, and his romance with May Wynn was exactly what this book needed. The romance wasn't gag worthy (Wouk was too brilliant of an author for that, and his story was well rounded), but was perfect enough to satisfy the romantic in me. Willie is very much a respected war hero in my eyes - even if he's not real.

Love, love, love this book.
Profile Image for booklady.
2,231 reviews65 followers
January 3, 2009
An all time favorite book of mine anyway, The Caine Mutiny holds even more personal significance for me because I saw the play performed in London over twenty years ago when I was still dating my husband. Charlton Heston starred as the enigmatic Queeg and I just learned that this production is written up on Wikipedia. Although sometimes maligned for not being reliable, in this case Bear and I can attest to the reliability of at least that much of the article.*

The Caine Mutiny is a fascinating look at our humble human attempts at justice. As always, we can can write theoretical treatises, laws and rules for utopian societies, but it's in their practical application we see our own inability to design, ensure or deliver justice despite all our efforts. Caine is also a story about truth, loyalty, class, group politics, and -- of course -- naval life.

Herman Wouk wrote the the play adaptation and it is also good. I can't remember exactly when I first read it or how times I've read it since. Most highly recommended!

*It was at that performance one of our future family jokes originated. During one of the quietest moments of the play yours truly was so enthralled by the near presence of her screen idol (from "Ben Hur", "The Ten Commandments", "El Cid", etc.) she was completely unaware of her noisy rustling of candy wrappers. Eventually her very kind date and fiancé leaned over and discreetly whispered in her ear that if she didn't stop making so much racket Charlton was going to turn around and glare at her!

Profile Image for Czarny Pies.
2,485 reviews1 follower
March 20, 2015
This novel is the great American classic of the Post War Years describing the trials that an American K must go through in order to "enter the law" or to conform to the expectations of mainstream society. Despite being a devout Jew, Herman Wouk decides to make his hero Joseph K a classic American Wasp. Willis (Willie) Seward Keith must learn to abandon his irresponsible youth, learn how to choose companions wisely, accept responsibility and provide leadership. As Willie spends most of the war serving in the US Navy fighting the Japanese in World War II, the opportunities for Willie to pass through these trials offer themselves in abundant fashion and Willie after numerous missteps ultimately succeeds brilliantly.

Willie does not play an active role in the actual Caine Mutiny. Rather he observes it from close by and draws all the correct conclusions about intriguing, dishonesty and the eccentric nature of justice as meted out by our legal system. Willie as a young midshipman finds himself posted to the U.S.S. Caine a ship captained by a mediocrity who has risen to his command due to the rapid turnover of commanding offices that always occurs during wars. Queeg appears to those serving under him to be incompetent for the position he holds and worse possibly crazy. Thus when the ship is caught in a severe storm, the second in command seizes control of the ship which he proceeds to guide safely through the tempest. Unfortunately, in so doing the second-in-command has committed a clear act of mutiny given that there is no way to prove that had Queeg stayed in command that the ship would have gone down in the storm. The second-in-command is acquitted of the charge of mutiny only because of a brilliant cross-examination by his lawyer which exposes Queeg's erratic personality. Although not convicted, the second-in-command is not exonerated and his career as a naval officer is finished. Willie has seen first hand the dangers of stepping out of line in a society that is determined to enforce its rules.

The Caine Mutiny is a book that does a fabulous job of showing how Americans saw themselves and their society between the end of WWII in 1945 and their decision to enter the ground war in Viet Nam in 1965. The Caine Mutiny fell out of favour during the Viet Nam as its reverential treatment of the US military quickly become unacceptable to America's book reading public as the Viet Nam war turned into a dreadful quagmire. Nonetheless the Caine Mutiny should never be allowed to be totally forgotten as it expressed the Zeitgeist of America during the 1950s as few other books did. Today we are reading primarily the Beat Generation authors (Kerouac, Burroughs, Ginzberg, etc.) who were decidedly a marginal group in their time.

Many people would feel that watching the Caine Mutiny movie starring Humphrey Bogart is an acceptable alternative to reading this overly long novel. I do not quite agree. However, it is an option worth considering.
Profile Image for Olivia.
709 reviews119 followers
December 31, 2019
The Caine Mutiny's size is intimidating, but Herman Wouk's prose makes this such a terrific and actually quite easy read.

Wouk's writing and the way he composes sentences is outstanding, and I even had to stop every now and then to write down a particularly spectacular paragraph.

Wouk does a beautiful job of developing all characters, and he made me chuckle more than once. Everything just flows naturally. The dialogue, the story, the background - I loved reading this, and despite its length never dreaded to pick it up.

I even enjoyed the romance, in fact at times, that's the aspect I enjoyed the most.

Now, I'll have to watch the film.
Profile Image for George P..
373 reviews57 followers
June 15, 2019
I really enjoyed this story that had such a realistic depiction of life in the navy on a World War 2 Pacific theater ship (which the author had experienced firsthand. The protagonist of this novel is a recent Princeton grad who does a lot of growing up in a few years. Wouk gave nuanced portrayals of many of the characters, including of course Captain Queeg. Somehow it reminded me of Lonesome Dove - I suppose because both are long rambling tales of men working together through difficult circumstances.
Profile Image for Anne  (Booklady) Molinarolo.
620 reviews178 followers
August 7, 2017
Long before Jack Nicholson hurled the words, "You Can't Handle The Truth!" at Tom Cruise in
A Few Good Men, there was Herman Wouk's 1952 Pulitzer Prize Winning Caine Mutiny. Wouk also wrote the Broadway Play of The Caine Mutiny.

Article 184

It is conceivable that most unusual and extraordinary circumstances may arise in which the relief from duty of a commanding officer by a subordinate becomes necessary, either by placing him under arrest or on the sick list; but such action shall never be taken without the approval of the Navy Department or other appropriate higher authority, except when reference to such higher authority is undoubtedly impracticable because of the delay involved or for other clearly obvious reason...

 photo 12894667_ori_zpslkvovsff.jpg

Still not convinced that the Captain of The Caine is Mentally Unstable?

 photo 3d334af902338eb15c3c19b8769534e6_zpsa1tlmhs8.jpg

Captain Phillip Queeg cracked at the General Court Marshall. If only had the crew accepted the neurotic, OCD, Napoleonic Commander. True, the Minesweeper lacked discipline and was probably crewed by the Navy's screw ups, but Captain Queeg was a functioning psychotic personality, until he he was crippled by his own delusions of grandeur and the fact he'd made no mistakes (he thought) in his naval career.

The 1955 movie is an excellent adaptation of Herman Wouk's novel and Humphrey Bogart is wonderful as Queeg.

The Caine Mutiny photo CaineMutiny.jpg

The novel has much more depth. The characters are fleshed out and Queeg's Officers are not likeable, with the exception of Lt. Steve Maryk whose only loyalty was to his ship and the Navy. Keefer, "the novelist", was a grand manipulator who not only came out of the "Mutiny" unscathed (or did he?) but screwed his fellow mates. Then there is Mr. Keith. He is a spoiled mama's boy who thinks he's better than everyone else, including his girlfriend, May Wynn.

And I wondered why his character was heavily featured throughout the novel. He did get Book I devoted to him. But when I read the three chapters of the novel's last Book, I understood. The story of the Caine begins and ends with Willie Keith.

The "Strawberry" Incident and the subsequent investigation is both compelling and my favorite part of the novel.

 photo The-Caine-Mutiny-011_zps0frz8ai9.jpg
Profile Image for Andy.
1,373 reviews464 followers
September 6, 2015
The book is much more than the movie. This is a brilliant satire about war, bureaucracy, the American Dream, etc. There is wisdom about living a full life, honor, courage, love, teamwork, etc. The prose felt very fresh and readable. At first, I didn't understand what all the background about the new officers was for, but it makes sense at the end.

Favorite quote: “The Navy is a master plan designed by geniuses for execution by idiots. If you are not an idiot, but find yourself in the Navy, you can only operate well by pretending to be one. All the shortcuts and economies and common-sense changes that your native intelligence suggests to you are mistakes. Learn to quash them. Constantly ask yourself, "How would I do this if I were a fool?" Throttle down your mind to a crawl. Then you will never go wrong.”
Profile Image for Bob.
578 reviews19 followers
January 8, 2016
Herman Wouk’s writing is so vividly detailed it’s like turning the pages of a photo album rather than pages of words. Using words Wouk paints us a picture of an island battle. Where you can hear the sounds of battle and see men fighting and dying. While a short distance away war ships are at anchor, sailors are swimming, and officers are in the ward room eating steak and ice cream. Wouk keeps this level of detail and description going page after page from the beginning to the end.

This book rightly deserves every award and accolade it’s ever received by both literary experts and the general reader. As for this reader I think it’s brilliant.
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