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The Caine Mutiny

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  23,567 ratings  ·  1,197 reviews
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 wit ...more
Paperback, 537 pages
Published April 15th 1992 by Back Bay Books (first published March 19th 1951)
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Damon Henrichs As with most movies, the book is better. That said, once you watch the movie you can't help but picture EVERY actor in their role. The casting of the …moreAs with most movies, the book is better. That said, once you watch the movie you can't help but picture EVERY actor in their role. The casting of the movie was perfect and every performance is outstanding . . . especially Bogart.

I'd wait 6 months or a year then watch the movie. Watching it right after reading it will undoubtedly be disappointing. Watching after a little time will be highly enjoyable though. (less)
Ben Hammerslag Wouk served aboard two different Destroyer-Minesweepers during WWII, the Zane and the Southard.

Wouk served aboard two different Destroyer-Minesweepers during WWII, the Zane and the Southard.


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David Putnam
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 th ...more
Jeffrey Keeten
Jul 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
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...

Feb 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
“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

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

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 cour
Tuco Markham
Apr 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Sep 11, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pulitzer
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 the
Oct 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
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. Surprisin
Mike (the Paladin)
Jan 10, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ...
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 ...more
BAM the enigma
Classics Cleanup Challenge #4

Willie Keith=Richard Cheese
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 r
Sue K H
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 ...more
Natylie Baldwin
Aug 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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 martia
Aug 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jeff Miller
Jun 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
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
Nov 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
Wayne Barrett

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 ro
May 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classic
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 relation
Jan Rice
Jul 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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. Tr ...more
Jul 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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 t
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 l
Czarny Pies
Nov 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
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 se ...more
Aug 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literary
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
George P.
Jun 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pulitzer-prize
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 circumst ...more
Anne  (Booklady) Molinarolo
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 take
Sep 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ca
Aug 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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 right
I really enjoyed this story of Willie Keith and his trials and tribulations on a minesweeper in WWII. Very well written, easy to read, held my attention right to the end -- I highly recommend it!
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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 earne

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