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The Caine Mutiny (1951)

by Herman Wouk

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,670463,688 (4.25)162
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.… (more)
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» See also 162 mentions

English (44)  Dutch (1)  All languages (45)
Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
Long and, unfortunately, repetitive. Particularly the trial, in which Wouk feels the need to repeat the descriptions of every incident that we've already seen. I think the book would have been more powerful had Wouk ended it right at the trial instead of after the trial and a long denouement. He seems to feel the need to hit us on the head with a moral.

But for all that, I still enjoyed the story. And I would have liked an even longer story, too. It's fun, and I think Wouk succeeds in conveying the characters and setting. I recently read McKenna's "The Sand Pebbles," also set on an American warship. This book, with its narrower view and ambitions, works much better.

> "Gentlemen, ten minutes before I called this meeting, I sent down for some ice cream and strawberries. Whittaker brought me the ice cream and said 'They ain't no mo' strawberries,' Has any of you gentlemen an explanation of the missing quart of strawberries?"

> "I want to tell you something, Willie. I feel more sympathy for Queeg than you ever will, unless you get a command. You can't understand command till you've had it. It's the loneliest, most oppressive job in the whole world. It's a nightmare, unless you're an ox. You're forever teetering along a tiny path of correct decisions and good luck that meanders through an infinite gloom of possible mistakes. At any moment you can commit a hundred manslaughters." ( )
  breic | Mar 1, 2020 |
Despite being everything I don't really like in a book (WWII novel, courtroom drama), this was unputdownable. Wouk draws a cast of entirely human people, flawed in their own way and also under the immense pressure of the war, and uses it to ask deep questions of when to respect the chain of command. The book is amazing for its ability to draw you into the story so you are rooting for the 'good guys' and then flip all of this on its head and make you question who was right and wrong after all. Heartbreaking, but excellent. ( )
  atreic | Feb 5, 2020 |
The Caine is an obsolete WW1-era minesweeper living out the rest of its days in the Pacific theatre of WW2. It's a ship of no hope, with filth and grime and rust and apathy everywhere. When Captain Queeg is assigned to the vessel, he attempts to impose proper naval discipline. But are his techniques justified, or is he somehow unfit for command?

This was a challenging case and Wouk did an excellent job bringing the characters to life. I'd recommend this if you like reading about the military or ships or WW2. It makes a good travel book because it rewards getting properly stuck in for extended periods. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Jun 6, 2019 |
A classic age turner ( )
  DonaldPowell | Feb 5, 2019 |
First book club edition?
  ajapt | Dec 30, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (19 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Wouk, Hermanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Marchetti, LouCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pariseau, KevinNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
This tale is for my wife,
with all my love.
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He was of medium height, somewhat chubby, and good looking, with curly red hair and an innocent, gay face, more remarkable for a humorous air about the eyes and large mouth than for any strength of chin or nobility of nose.
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The world became narrowed to a wobbling iron shell on a waste of foamy gray, and the business of the world was staring out at empty water or making red-ink insertions in the devil's own endless library of mildewed unintelligible volumes.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Please do not combine "The Caine Mutiny" (a novel) with "The Caine mutiny court-martial: A drama in two acts".
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