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MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors (M*A*S*H, #1)
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MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors (M*A*S*H #1)

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  2,927 ratings  ·  287 reviews
Before the movie, this is the novel that gave life to Hawkeye Pierce, Trapper John, Hot Lips Houlihan, Frank Burns, Radar O'Reilly, and the rest of the gang that made the 4077th MASH like no other place in Korea or on earth. The doctors who worked in the Mobile Army Surgical Hospitals (MASH) during the Korean War were well trained but, like most soldiers sent to fight a wa ...more
Paperback, 219 pages
Published March 19th 1997 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published 1968)
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The Notebook by Nicholas SparksThe Princess Bride by William GoldmanThe Devil Wears Prada by Lauren WeisbergerThe Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. TolkienStardust by Neil Gaiman
The MOVIE was BETTER than the BOOK
145th out of 802 books — 8,294 voters
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I Only Watched the Movie!
437th out of 853 books — 4,787 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Kemper
Treasure of the Rubbermaids 7: The Forever War

The on-going discoveries of priceless books and comics found in a stack of Rubbermaid containers previously stored and forgotten at my parent’s house and untouched for almost 20 years. Thanks to my father dumping them back on me, I now spend my spare time unearthing lost treasures from their plastic depths.

I picture Dr. Richard Hornberger sometimes turning on the television and catching the movie or TV version of MASH and shaking his head in wonderm
...more
Evan
Richard Hooker is a guy after my own heart. He was a surgeon and not a very talented writer, but he came up with the idea for a story that is so good and rife with comic possibilities that it became both a classic film and an equally classic long-running TV show, and I hope to God the man capitalized greatly from it.

As preface, you must know that I'm a great fan of M*A*S*H in both its film and TV show incarnations, and own both the 20th-Century Fox Four-Star Edition DVD of the film and the entir
...more
Ryan
Richard Hooker's novel about staying sane in insane conditions by using insanity as an escape is brilliantly done. For anyone familiar with either the film or television series based on the book, it will provide a different perspective on the characters that you love and think you know so well. It is a very quick read that seems as fresh on the 100th go through as it did on the first. I recommend it highly.
Andrew
This was one of those totally random choices that in actual fact I was surprised at and really enjoyed.
The book is from the Cassell series of military titles, a mixture of fiction and fact. This book was the basis on which the film and subsequent TV series were based on. It is a fascinating look in to the world of a MASH unit during the Korean war. The highs, the lows and the sheer tedium and how these dedicated and gifted people dealt with it - from crashing golf tournaments to drugging clergy
...more
Brad
M A S H is a fine book.

It's mildly funny, mildly political, mildly anti-war, and Richard Hooker (aka Dr. H. Richard Hornberger) does just enough to keep us mildly entertained. But he's not the most compelling writer in the world. M A S H is worth a look on a gloomy weekend, or for purposes of nostalgia, but it would be completely forgettable if not for the superior works of art that followed in its wake.

M A S H follows Trapper John, Hawkeye and Duke -- the protagonists from Robert Altman's super
...more
Adam
Apr 11, 2008 Adam rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people interested in medicine, millitary, humour
The best and most startling book I've read in years. I had missed the TV show before, because of young age, but maybe it turned out good for me. Cause the read was nothing short of breathtaking. For me is quite straight descent from Heller's "Catch 22", but I do not see it as a drawback, it definitely deserves a great share of praise on it's own.

You'll find here awfully great characters, very brisk style and great sense of humour. Aside from this, it is really heart-and-mind gripping picture of
...more
Amy Lynn
Not the TV show, not the movie but the book. Like most things I read, it's dark and funny. If you liked the movie, you'll like the book. Expect Elliott Gould's twisted Hawkeye rather than Alan Alda's Hamlet-esque tortured thinker. Plus Spearchucker Jones, Frank, Hot Lips, an explanation for Radar's nickname and a football game that even I'd go to.
While this book is set in Korea, it's really more about the Vietnam War and does delve into some darker aspects of the Wars of the 20th century.
Allan
I vaguely remember seeing MASH on tv when I was a kid, but remember very little about it, so was able to enjoy this book without constantly comparing it to its adaptation.

Following primarily the 18 month tour of duty in Korea of Hawkeye and Trapper John, the novel was both a light hearted look at the escapades both men got up to to pass the time at their post, particularly when casualties weren't forthcoming, but also was explicit in its acknowledgement of the professional job that both men car
...more
James
Mar 02, 2008 James rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Mature adolescents and adults
A strong book that conveys an anti-war message without being preachy, using characters that are quite flawed but doing the best they can in a grueling situation. Some of the interactions are dated and come across as sexist today, but that's where our culture was then. I believe this novel belongs on the same shelf with Catch-22, Slaughterhouse Five, and others in the same class.
J.M.
Got this for Christmas and have been wanting to read it for a while now. I'll admit I didn't enjoy the movie, "MASH," but I grew up watching the television show and still love it very much. The book reads very much like the movie and I don't think I would've liked it if I didn't know the characters as well as I do from TV.

I definitely think the TV show improved upon the book's theme a LOT ~ the show was funnier (probably thanks in no small part to the brilliance of Alan Alda). While the book is
...more
g-na
I grew up with the M*A*S*H tv show and loved it, as well as the movie. So it was only natural that I read the book they were all based upon. Prior to reading this I hadn't realized the author was himself an Army surgeon in Korea during the war, and while the book is fiction, the events and characters were all based on real-life people and their antics.

In light of the huge impact the movie and tv show had on American culture, this is quite an important novel for without the book we wouldn't have
...more
Sarah
Meh. I've watched a lot of MASH: the TV programme is what goes on as white noise to break severe procrastination deadlock (got two years of tax returns done in two days once, hurray, AND a refund) and I think the movie is fairly brilliant, and I can quote a lot of both. Colonel Flagg is my favourite.

So this was filler on the last night of term when my brain wasn't up to anything else, and it's a disappointment. It rattles along with little meaning, a good bit of irony, little humour that I recog
...more
Tinneal
3.5 stars

I initially read this book because I had fallen in love with the TV series, and wanted to know where it came from. I was very surprised at the many differences between the book and the show, although I still enjoy each of them.

The story is a semi-autobiographical account (in which many of the supporting characters are also based on real people) of what it was like to be a surgeon at a MASH unit during the Korean war. Working involved the most mentally and physically harrowing and stress
...more
Tina Rae
Jun 04, 2012 Tina Rae rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those looking for a good laugh
Shelves: favorites
I honestly wasn't sure just how I would feel about this book. The show is one of my favorites and, after watching it, the film just pales by comparison. So to read this-- the basis for the film --I wasn't really sure just what I'd think of it. But I shouldn't have worried. This was one of the funniest books I have ever read in my life. Just to delve into the original characters and read about their adventures was a treat in itself. I loved the different light each took on-- most especially Trapp ...more
D. B.
Apr 04, 2012 D. B. rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: tie-in completionists, bathroom readers, 70s potboiler fans
Shelves: fiction-lit
M*A*S*H is one of those rare cases where the film and/or TV show is an improvement on the source material.

While Hooker's roman à clef about meatball surgery during the Korean Conflict in the early 1950s has its moments of absurdity, it also has virtually none of the pathos and wit offered by Robert Altman's 1970 film adaptation, and certainly none of the depth of characterization of the television series. In fact, the "Swampmen" of the book ( Hawkeye, Duke, and Trapper John) come across more as
...more
Angele
I read M*A*S*H for my book group, which is celebrating its 10th year by completing a cycle of books made into movies. (We watch the film before starting our discussion.) I can see why M*A*S*H was a bestseller when it was published in 1968--the antics of its surgeon-heroes protest the absurdity and waste of a distant war in Asia, yet ultimately confirm the superiority and nobility of the American way.

Unforgettable characters often spring from genre and popular fiction--Dracula and Sherlock Holme
...more
Linds
MASH is one of my favorite shows, if not my favorite show. I was too young when it first aired and I started catching it later in re-runs, then finally on DVD. I've seen the movie which I realize was important in the genre of guerrilla film making, but I didn't care for it. I was looking forward to the book in order to get the internal monologues of the characters I have grown so fond of.

For those of you not familiar MASH is the story of the doctors and nurses at the 4077th surgical unit during
...more
David
I liked the TV show as a kid, but it was pretty G rated overall. The film was more raw, and there is a lot in the novel which couldn't have made it in to a Hollywood film in the early 1970's. I would call this a guy's book. I don't know if most if most of the women I know would appreciate the humor around an epileptic prostitute. There are a number of passage where I chuckled and felt decidedly un-PC. Still some delightful characters, and a fun story.
Jeremy Scott
If you love the movie, or the tv show, this is a book for you. The movie took a great portion of what was here, but the TV show's first season relied heavily on it too. I laughed so many times while reading this, because it was the missing piece to the MASH collection. I won't go into details, but there were some moments where I switched between Alan Alda's and Donald Sutherland's portrayal of Hawkeye.

Give this book a shot. It's worth it!!!
Bruce Snell
2.5 stars. This is the book that inspired both the classic anti-war movie and the long running television series. However, as I read the book, the only genius I could find was the person who imagined either the movie or TV show from this book. This is a series of weak vignettes - mostly of the "you had to be there" variety collected and formed into a weak whole. I have read more interesting police reports.

Of course, having said all that, I read every word from beginning to end - and read it in o
...more
Zach Nemechek
Three Blind Mice
MASH by Richard Hooker is the dramatic book before the 1970’s film. It’s about three army surgeons in the Korean War. Captains Duke Forrest, Hawkeye Pierce,and John McIntyre aka Trapper John. They have very little to work with the supplies and technology of their time. This book is humorous but yet Mr. Hooker doesn't leave out the drama and sorrow of all the death of war. This book has a movie and TV show that I highly recommend you see after you read the book. For the reason
...more
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
I really don't have a shelf for this book, but I don't suppose that matters.
As an avid fan of the TV series, and having seen the film when I was far too young to understand half of it (must have been about 8 yrs old), it was interesting to see where it all started. I recognised lines from the original film as well as the series, and finally understood the whole "Suicide is Painless" thing. I remember seeing that part of the movie and not understanding what was happening (Robert Altman's films wi
...more
Becca
I love the TV show, and I really love the movie, so I was pretty stoked when I found this for a couple of bucks at a used book shop. The book was a quick read, which is good, because it's never going to be mistaken for great literature. Many of the prime scenes from the Altman film are represented herein, including Hawkeye and Trapper's trip to Japan and the football game. And most of the major characters that ended up in both the film and the TV series are represented in some form. (Although, F ...more
Claudia
I am a huge fan of the TV show, not so much the film, so I was interested in going back to the original novel.

Many elements of the series are here... the characters we loved and loved to hate. Most are pretty cookie-cutter, one dimensional stereotypes...but that happens in war novels.

The brutality is here...the insanity. The irreverant, over-the-top responses to the brutality and insanity.

In the novel there are three, and then four, doctors who live in the Swamp...Hawkeye and Trapper John, but
...more
Robin
I went into this one with a bias. I LOVE the movie and tv show. I love all the characters and have a visceral emotional response every time I watch this show.
If that wasn't true I would have enjoyed it less.
The narrator was decent. There were times I thought his delivery was impeccable and times when it was only passable.
The writing was cumbersome. Thought the characters were painted well and the story was compelling the writing was very repetitive. Descriptions of people were often repeated ov
...more
Jennifer
I wasn't expecting to like this but I really enjoyed it!
Adam Shields
Short Review: I picked this up on an audiobook sale. It was only $3 so I figured it was worth it. I am a big fan of the show and movie MASH. And this is the book that inspired both. What I like about it was that it was clear that the characters from the movie and TV show were well characterized here and because of that they characters carried well to the other format.

What I didn't like about it was that it was more of a series of short stories than a novel. There was very little holding it all t
...more
Joyce
I'd seen the movie when it came out, of course, but I never watched the TV show. And I'd never read the book, so this was a great trip back. Unfortunately, some of the characters aren't well developed in the book (Hot Lips Houlihan doesn't come off well and is only on stage for a short appearance or two) but it's a great story, filled with black humor, the antics of the doctors escaping the pressure of the OR tent, and the characters themselves are all richly described. It's entertaining with a ...more
Sarah
I couldn't reach the book I was already reading, so I pried this one out of the recently constructed Wall O' Paperbacks and found myself happily zipping through.

I HAVE READ A BOOK. LOOK AT HOW ACCOMPLISHED THIS WORKING MOTHER IS.

There has always been a soft spot in my heart for the 4077th (and, really anything involving eccentric, yet competent, ensembles). The book is as charming as the show, but with some of your typical awkward 1970s quirks, though it wasn't nearly as sexist as I'd thought. A
...more
Scott_flaxman
The pre-cursor to both the movie and the TV series. It is quite humorous and relatively well constructed. What I noticed most, however, is that the book is very episodic in nature. Essentially, it is a series of short stories featuring the same characters. And I recognised many of the stories as concepts later added to the TV show.
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H. Richard Hornberger (February 1, 1924 – November 4, 1997) was an American writer and surgeon, born in Trenton, New Jersey, who wrote under the pseudonym Richard Hooker. His most famous work was his novel MASH (1968), based on his experiences during the Korean War and written in collaboration with W. C. Heinz. It was later used as the basis for a critically and commercially successful movie (1970 ...more
More about Richard Hooker...

Other Books in the Series

M*A*S*H (1 - 10 of 15 books)
  • M*A*S*H Goes to Maine
  • MASH Goes to New Orleans
  • Mash Goes To Paris
  • MASH Goes to London
  • Mash Goes to Morocco
  • MASH Goes to Las Vegas
  • MASH Goes to Hollywood
  • MASH Goes to Vienna
  • MASH Goes to San Francisco
  • Mash Goes to Miami
M*A*S*H Goes to Maine Mash Mania Mash Goes To Paris MASH Goes to New Orleans MASH Goes to London

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“We act insane, because if we didn't, we would most surely become insane.
- Hawkeye”
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“When Radar O'Reilly, just out of high school, left Ottumwa, Iowa, and enlisted in the United States Army it was with the express purpose of making a career of the Signal Corps.” 2 likes
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