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The Mouse That Roared
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The Mouse That Roared (The Mouse That Roared #1)

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  1,009 ratings  ·  101 reviews
1956 hushed world political pandemonium when tiny Duchy of Grand Fenwick pretty young ruler Gloriana XII sends handsome Tully Bascomb to New York with twenty-odd bowmen. The Expeditionary Force quietly takes the doomsday quadium bomb, bird-lover inventor Dr Kokintz, General Snippett, and four cops. 1959 film. Serial in Saturday Evening Post when US feared Russian invasion.
Paperback, 280 pages
Published January 10th 2003 by Da Capo Press (first published February 1955)
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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas AdamsGood Omens by Terry PratchettLamb by Christopher MooreMe Talk Pretty One Day by David SedarisThe Princess Bride by William Goldman
Best Humorous Books
420th out of 2,496 books — 4,865 voters
Lolita by Vladimir NabokovThe Return of the King by J.R.R. TolkienThe Magician's Nephew by C.S. LewisCat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee WilliamsThe Quiet American by Graham Greene
Best Books of 1955
13th out of 52 books — 38 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,585)
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Henry Avila
The tiny English speaking Duchy of Grand Fenwick, located in the Alps, may not seem very important. Just three miles wide and five long.But to the proud inhabitants,all 6,000 of them, it's still paradise on Earth. Founded in 1370 by an English knight Roger Fenwick(Sir Roger if you valued your life in his presence!). Trouble begins when their only export Pinot wine is threatened by a copycat from California( I understand a very inferior product).Grand Duchess Gloriana XII, direct descendant of R ...more
This book is hilarious. Unfortunately it's also out of print, and so difficult to track down. Luckily I managed to find a copy in a local used book store, and I read it very quickly.

I first heard of the movie version of this book many years ago when I was still in high school, and a friend told me about this movie where a small nation invades America and wins, even though they only had spears and things, because nobody took them seriously. I thought it sounded funny, but she didn't know the name
Nick Hannon
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
When I was a kid, my dad had mentioned a book called The Mouse That Roared and for some reason, his description of the premise – a tiny nation captures a nuclear bomb that makes it the most powerful country on Earth – stuck with me. He must have mentioned this thirty years ago, but a few weeks ago I found myself Googling for it and finding it long out of print. I looked on Amazon and people wanted $130 for it. Sometimes, though, it pays to go local. I found it at The Strand for $9. Well, definit ...more
An Odd1
"Victory sometimes carries more responsibilities than gains" p 185, raises serious issues, survival of human race over nation. Idealistic, optimistic, sweet tale, more naive than silly. Medieval morals vanquish diplomacy "exactly the right words with which to promise everything and guarantee nothing" p 255. The woods "loveliness of early summer .. rich blossoms .. cathedral columns .. spreading oaks .. squirrels chattering" reminds mere mortals of nature "link with posterity" p 217-219.

In 1956,
Stanley Phillips
The reason why I included “The Mouse that Roared” in my list is simply that, not every book has to be a bestselling novel to have a place within your library. In fact, numerous genres should be on the shelf to make one more rounded.

As for “The Mouse that Roared”, there should be a place on a shelf. Written back in the mid-fifties its importance is that the tale is a satire look back at the cold war.

The novel itself is a quick read. Some might say the entire plot is silly…how could any author m
I should give it 2 and a half stars. I didn't find it all that funny but it was well written. I'm just a very hard sell for humor.
Wayne S.
When I was in high school, I was never involved in drama, but I did attend all the plays, and one year either the junior or senior class did a drama adapted for the stage in 1963 by Christopher Sergel from The Mouse That Roared, a 1955 satirical novel by Irish-American writer Leonard Wibberley. The imaginary Duchy of Grand Fenwick is a tiny European country, three miles by five miles, supposedly located in the Alps between Switzerland and France, ruled by the 22 year old Duchess Gloriana XII. It ...more
Michael Lindy
Although this book was of fairly good quality, most of the things that come to my mind regarding it are criticisms. Though Wibberley's social commentary was genius, I felt that his delivery often missed the mark, and regrettably wonder how much more enjoyable the book would have been in the hands of a superior comic. Furthermore, I felt as if Wibberly couldn't decide if whether or not he even wanted this book to be funny. For example, after a rather humorous debate in which a political prisoner ...more
Michael Austin
Like many insufferable teenage geeks, I saw the Peter Sellers movie on TV and thought that that was as good as reading the book. But it wasn’t. The movie was comic genius, but the book is excellent satire, which is not the same thing.
The Mouse that Roared tells the story of the knights of the Grand Duchy of Fenwick, who (around the time of the Marshall Plan) set out to attack the United States, lose the war, and “be rehabilitated beyond our wildest dreams.” They send a small pack of longbowmen
Gail Amendt
I first read this cold war era political satire when I was in junior high, and remember enjoying it very much. I wanted to re-read it to see if a more mature and politically informed perspective would diminish its appeal. I'm happy to say that I think I enjoyed it more this time around.

A tiny European nation, the Duchy of Grand Fenwick, measuring three miles by five miles, finds itself in dire financial trouble when a U.S. winery starts selling an inferior copy of Pinot Grand Fenwick, the nati
The Mouse That Roared is one of the funniest books I have read in a long time. The Duchy of Grand Fenwick is a European country three miles wide and five miles long. It has been independent since its founding by Roger Fenwick in 1370, and has never changed its military. Its warriors even now are fourteenth century longbowmen.The conflict of this farcical novel begins when the country faces an economic crisis. The Council of Freedom, the parliament of the country, meets with the Duchess of Grand ...more
This book is wonderfully ridiculous - a satire of this finest kind. "The Mouse" in this story is the tiny country of The Grand Duchy of Fenwick - an Alpine country five miles long and 3 miles wide near the borders of France and Switzerland. Their entire economy, based on the successful export of their world-famous wine Pinot Grand Fenwick, is brought to its knees after American vintners in San Rafael, California begins bottling a competitive wine they call Pinot Grand Enwick.

After being laughed
Sierra Abrams

Grand Fenwick is a little known country near France, a small duchy that has flourished for centuries because of their popular wine company. Recently, however, the wine business has failed to bring in enough money to live on.  There are those who wish to dilute the wine, and others who are against this notion. Both parties continue to argue over the outcome until a grand scheme is devised: small, itty bitty Grand Fenwick will declare war on the U.S. - attack, l
Erik Graff
Mar 28, 2009 Erik Graff rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Wibberly fans
Recommended to Erik by: Einar Graff
Shelves: literature
I saw the 1959 movie with Dad and liked it so much that I picked up the paperback and read it during a typically boring day of my parents visiting Lajla and Christian, his mother and her husband. This was a normal circumstance. Until fifth grade the family had lived in unincorporated Kane County, wellover an hour's drive to the city in those days before expressways. Then the grandparents decided to move from one to another house in Park Ridge, immediately NW of Chicago. They made their old house ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Christopher Roth
Having only dimly remembered seeing the movie long long ago, and having never read anything by Wibberley other than Encounter near Venus, a strange H.G. Wells ripoff-I-mean-tribute, for children (now an out-of-print rarity), which haunted me after I read it in grade school, I was surprised at how genuinely witty it is. I may pick up some of the other "Mouse" novels if I come across them.
What a delightful and humorous novel, and a somewhat sly commentary on political and economic practices. It is set in the political and economic climate of the 1950s, and revolves around the plight of the fictional country of Grand Fenwick. Caught in unfair competitive practices in the wine industry, Grand Fenwick finally determines to declare war on the U.S., fully expecting to lose. Their hope is that, as with other countries (e.g., Japan) that have lost to the U.S. in wartime, Grand Fenwick w ...more
Jan 31, 2014 Art rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: owned
What a terrific book! It has all the understated humour that I associate with British writing, but some North American brashness as well. If I were still in the classroom, I might consider reading it to a grade 7 or 8 class, with an accompanying unit on medieval life, military conventions and a bit on basic court life of the 14th century. If I could get archers and people from the Society for Creative Anachronisms involved, all the better!
This book was fantastic. It reminds me a lot of The Princess Bride in style, and the fact that it is about a tiny made up European country. Wibberley had me hooked after the first chapter. I can't count the number of times that he made laugh with his descriptions even though they all basically had the same punchline, the Duchy of Grand Fenwick is tiny and about five centuries behind the rest of the world but their people are proud. It is very appropriate that towards the end of the book one of t ...more
This must've been Mel Brooks' inspiration for The Producers. It goes by pretty quickly and won't weigh you down. It was rendered as a movie around 1960 but I never heard it complimented by anyone who didn't work for the movie's producer.
"Props" to Baroukh for getting me to read this. It was a worthwhile experience, but everyone is all, "This book made me laugh till I stopped" or some seeming hyperbole about how funny it was --- I didn't think it was that amusing. It was definitely a good, enjoyable book, and therefore contained some whimsy and fancy, but I guess the "rip-roaringest" sections were lost on me. If a book is going to make me laugh, it's gonna have to talk about giant lizards on cocaine playing checkers inside a guy ...more
Required school reading (sec ll). I loved it much more than the student who had to read it. The movie stared Peter Sellers, I guess I was able to imagine him as I read the book.:)
Alexa Wight
I liked this book, but I wasn't crazy about it. I like a lot of fiction romance novels and writers such as Nicholas Sparks and John Green, so this book was a little different than my usual reading. I studied US History two years ago, so I understand the Cold War but not in great detail. The parody was really funny in the book, but I didn't like some of the strange, old-sounding syntax. Also, the book feels like the story is being told by an elder to a younger generation as a history tale compare ...more
Chris Gager
I THINK I might have read this way back when. I recall the film a lot better - Peter Sellers in multiple roles again. Date read would be a guess...
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The Mouse That Roared is exactly what I needed to break me out of my reading funk. It's a side-splittingly funny, brilliant satire that manages to be incredibly apt, despite its 1955 publication date. It brought to mind The Pushcart War because it shares that deadpan humor, but The Mouse That Roared deals with war and nuclear proliferation in addition to capitalism and small business. And somehow, it does all that with a deft hand and careful balance.

I will say that the ending was fairly predict
This was a great book. It started out as just humorus, which isn't bad, but then it developed into something more. After Grand Fenwick had achieved the Q bomb, it gathered a political aspect that was first formed during the cold war but still holds true today.

I found it politically interesting in today's setting as the League of Little Nations might be comprised of a completely different set of nations, not all neccessarily quailified by their size, but rather by the international pecking order
This is a satire about a little tiny fictional country in the Alps that declares war on the United States and isn't taken seriously. They invade New York with long bows and maces and the rest is "history." It is also a commentary on the nuclear age and the idea of having more and better nuclear weapons in order to "keep the peace." There are some very humorous parts to the story, such as the invading army leaving the borders of their country in 14th Centry fighting gear and then changing into st ...more
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As Patrick O'Connor:
Black Tiger series
Thomas Jefferson series

As Leonard Holton:
He fathered seven children, one by Hazel Holton, hence alias.
More bio at
Father Joseph Bredder Mystery series
May be ano
More about Leonard Wibberley...
The Mouse on the Moon The Mouse on Wall Street The Mouse That Saved the West Beware of the Mouse John Treegate's Musket

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“The crime which is done now is that war has made a tool and slave of science, and man's knowledge, painfully and laboriously compiled, is made the instrument of man's destruction.” 3 likes
“(F)or it was the belief of the duchy that no nation can be governed well unless there is a majority which can impose its will upon a minority. A complete balance of pros and antis could produce nothing but deadlock.” 1 likes
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