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Youngblood Hawke

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  1,451 ratings  ·  90 reviews
In this huge novel of nearly 600 pages (from the author of The Caine Mutiny, Marjorie Morningstar, War and Remembrance, etc)about an aspiring young author's assault on the citadel of New York publishing, Wouk's hero Youngblood Hawke launches his career with an oversized manuscript that becomes an instant success. Toasted by critics and swept along on a tide of popularity, ...more
Paperback, 783 pages
Published May 15th 1992 by Back Bay Books (first published 1962)
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Mabel I just tracked it down and watched it to see how it compared. It could be worse I guess. A big problem was trying to cram that long book into a two ho…moreI just tracked it down and watched it to see how it compared. It could be worse I guess. A big problem was trying to cram that long book into a two hour movie. Worse than that, it seemed all on the surface and the characters did not have the depth to draw you in and make you care about their lives as they did in the book. (less)

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Average rating 4.06  · 
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 ·  1,451 ratings  ·  90 reviews

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David Putnam
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Even though I write crime novels, my all time favorite book is Lonesome Dove. I read mostly crime and mysteries, great numbers of them. But Lonesome Dove won the Pulitzer prize and deservedly so. For my taste no other book has come close. In my estimation Youngblood Hawk goes right up there beside Lonesome Dove, it is that good. Now I understand this type of story might not entertain every kind of reader, and the odds are very good that few would like it in this day and age. The book was publish ...more
Apr 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: the hero worshippers
from the moment i picked up this book, it utterly destroyed my will to live. My very soul became subsumed by a crumbling, mildewy dime-story copy printed in the early 60s. Breaths came in gasps, food lost all meaning, time seemed to fall away in kaleidoscopic ellipses, blocks of hours would pass without context.

I have no explanation why the novel grabbed me so strongly, except to say that 10 pages in I was Youngblood Hawke and i read each word as if it were my future sent back in time to warn m
Mar 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A perennial favorite, "Youngblood" is just a great book, presenting a perfect picture of the New York literary world of the late forties and early fifties, with a main character who seems like a very real person. I've re-read this many times; the last time I looked through it, I thought, "Well, I'll just browse and skip a bit", and wound up rereading the entire novel in two days. I just couldn't put it down. Although Wouk is an advocated of "old-fashioned" values like fidelity and honesty, he's ...more
Tom Swift
Jun 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
I found this at a book sale for $1. I have read other books from this author. This is a classic from the 60's. It is a story of the publishing business in post WW2 New York City. I enjoyed the story about Youngblood Hawke, a young writer from Kentucky who makes it to NYC to chase his dream of getting his first novel published.
Book Club Mom
Apr 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
If you don’t know already that Youngblood Hawke is Number One on my Top Ten List, now you do! Before my review, I’m going to give you ten reasons why this book sits on top of my pile:

Its main character, Youngblood Hawke, is someone you instantly like, despite his flaws and weaknesses. I love his good nature.

The rest of the many characters are weak and strong in different ways and very realistic. A couple of them you will love to hate. Others are good and honorable, but their weaknesses often s
Apr 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: other-fiction
The story of an aspiring novelist who, after his first book is accepted, encounters various challenges such as legal entanglements, love affairs, unfulfilled romances, and an obsession with money. It's the kind of book a reader gets lost in.
Mar 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm not sure how anyone can give this immense book of fiction anything other than five stars. Not many authors can pull off what Herman Wouk does with his fascinating long-running tale of the rather innocent-at-first, first time author Youngblood Hawke. We readers follow Hawke as he makes gigantic mistakes in the narrative of his life while writing tales of America. The book dates itself with the view of women, which granted are mostly seen through the eyes of the male characters. The third pers ...more
Mar 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Theresa by: James Mitchell
Wow! Wouk is a master story teller.
Susan Grace
Aug 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this beautiful bountiful giant of a book! Delicious in so many ways...the main character of Youngblood Hawke, a powerful, brooding, thoughtful, reckless, passionate, curious, and life-devouring writer whose journey as a novelist and "American dreamer" kept me spellbound! As a lover of NYC the time period in which the book takes place, New York in the 40's and 50's, was wonderful to experience. Read this book! Go on a journey of fine story-telling!
Chris Browning
Apr 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
at the risk of saying too much, this has everything i could possibly want from a book, and though it has its flaws to be certain, they are overpowered by the sheer power of the text to compel me. from time to time, i become disenchanted with reading and it’s only books like these, big thick overly plotted stories of love and art and money, that bring me back to the fold and remind me why i love fiction. the time for these books has passed, i feel, but there are enough of them that i will always ...more
Dec 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
June/July 2015: My 2012 attempt at re-reading this book stalled out (see below). However, a couple of weeks ago I got an unexpected urge to try this book again, and though I got off to a slow start, after a few days I was into the book for the long run; I'm currently 478 pages in (more than halfway) with 400 left to go. Although Wouk's prose is occasionally long-winded, it does carry the story along, though a bit of tightening here and there wouldn't have hurt. There are, perhaps, too many cockt ...more
Aug 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 05, 2016 rated it liked it
A young man full of vigour in more than one way, of mind and body and creative facility, shot to fame with his first book published and for good reason, and he has not only more ideas but elaborate plans of many many books he sets out to write. But he is innocent in ways of the world and learns at a cost to his health and creativity, to his heart and to his whole being.

The publisher, the agent, the high society that takes him up including the wealthy married woman who has him in her sights and
David Jordan
Apr 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Yes, it's pop fiction, but ol' Youngblood was an inspiration to me when I read about him as a young wannabe writer. Wouk reworks the life of Thomas Wolfe (Hawke is from Kentucky instead of North Carolina) to paint an intriguing picture of literary life in New York City in the first half of the 20th Century. Wolfe lived fast, loved hard and died young, so his fictionalized life includes lots of jazzy material about booze, sex, love, greed, literary ambition and death.
Jayne Charles
Jul 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I love Herman Wouk's books, and this is one of the best. It is the totally gripping saga of a young novelist, his books and his various relationships with women and money, a fascinating read though the stretches that describe law relating to mining land can get a bit tedious in places. I have read it so many times I've had to buy a new copy as the old one was falling to bits! A cautionary tale for anyone who thinks the life of a novelist is all plain sailing
Jan 03, 2015 rated it liked it
One of the best books about the ups and downs of being a writer - supposedly. Anthony Burgess was keen on it, but he also liked Naked Lunch.

Unusual for books of this type, there isn't much introspection or I'm-a-tortured-artist bullshit. It is longer than it needs to be and sags, as ever, in the middle.

I gather the hero is based on Thomas Wolfe.
Daniel Perlman
Dec 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All...tremendous story
This book is like "Everything I needed to know I learned in kindergarten." It is life, love, loss, success, failure, corruption, infidelity, scandall, disaster, redemption...all in a big, bustling, lovely tome of a novel.

It is lucious and impossible to put down. An epic story. A must read.
David Burke
Jun 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A book about the new kid on the block writer whose work becomes the hot item in New York and later Hollywood. Didn't think I was going to like it but it grabbed me and dragged me along for 600 pages and I hardly noticed. Easy to read and interesting all the way.
Dec 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: booksiveread
Just browsing Amazon and GoodReads - have read this one.
Don't remember when but do remember I was very impressed with it.
Deserves to be read again!
Kaethe Douglas
Jul 09, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
What I learned from reading this book is that sometimes another person's favorite book is something you will love, but more often, it isn't.
Jan 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
One of my very favorite books. I don't think prose gets any better than this. Viva NY.
Gary Peterson
Jun 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very good book, an epic that took me six months to finish. I would take breaks from it at the section breaks and read other books, then return in a few weeks for another round. But last night I finished it and felt that sense of loss in saying goodbye to this large cast of characters I grew quite close to over the months.

The book itself, a 1963 Signet paperback, has been a near-constant companion all these months. It'll be sad to slip it back onto the bookshelf with the other Wouk book I've r
Jeffrey D Fuchs
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. The story and the writing kept my interest all the way way through this long book. Wouk's main character is a rising start. He happens to n=be a writer. But, he could have been anyone with tremendous drive and talent who is suddenly discovered and rises from lower middle class to riches and fame.

The trappings are not just limited to the art world. This was a story about someone who really wanted to make and did and then suffered mightily. For most of us, we progress steadily
Aug 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A great book by a great author. I have started to go back to the writers who had numerous bestsellers in the 1950s and 60s. People like Wouk, Leon Uris, Irwin Shaw, Edna Ferber, James Michener, et al, were simple wonderful writers and they seem to be largely forgotten today. It is hard to find anything but their blockbuster sellers in libraries, and sometimes not even those. There are current writers who would do well to go back and read their works. Novels like theirs are the reason people love ...more
Jan 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
This was a huge book, over 700 pages in the Kindle Edition, and it took me more than a month to read. Although I won't remember all of the details, there are some memorable scenes that will stay with me, thus the four-star rating.

There were some editing errors, which most likely occurred during transcription from hard-copy to digital format: 1. zcse / zese (woman speaking with French accent) ; 2. bums / burns ; 3. role / roll ; 4. baited / bated ; 5. comer / corner ; 6. pizzicatto / pizzicato ;
Jennifer Morefield
May 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this saga of an author who gets chewed up and spit out by the people around him. He stated at the end that often he was his own worst enemy which was true. I thought his life was so interesting especially the author part of the story. I was fascinated by the fact that no matter how tired or busy Youngblood was he set writing goals daily to continue producing great literature. He wrote 15 pages a day. After I read the book, I looked into the author, and I found out that much of h ...more
Pietro Floro Albano
I was in a bookstore back in '85 and I noticed a bunch of ladies in a corner talking about this book. So I decided to try it out.

Youngblood Hawke is a book about a writer, Youngblood Hawke, trying to make it as a novelist. He reminds me of Ernest Hemingway - rough-hewn and stubborn. I remember that he worked all day and wrote all night; this was before computers so it was actual pen and paper.

I remember very little after all these years except that I liked this book - I liked it a lot. It is a t
Oct 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read this book over and over when I was much younger. Read my tattered paperback to pieces, in fact. I hadn't read it in years, but was suddenly struck with the need to reread it, so I found a hardback copy online. (Seems to be a first edition, lucky me.) It's been over 20 years since I last read it, and I was surprised to discover how very well I remembered it, and how very viscerally it affected me, even as many times as I've read it. I was probably about Hawke's age the last time I read it, ...more
I just finished reading, for the second time, this doorstopper by a Pulitzer-winning bestselling novelist, about a bestselling novelist who writes doorstoppers and wins the Pulitzer. Herman Wouk could certainly draw on experience for his account of the rollercoaster career of Arthur Youngblood Hawke (who goes by Youngblood Hawke professionally). Hawke is on a personal quest to unite artistic integrity with the American Dream: his goal is to have a million dollars in the bank so that he will be f ...more
Lynne Spreen
Feb 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have mixed feelings about this story. The main character is someone to root for. I wanted to see him succeed, I admired him, and I was interested in how he would navigate the difficulties arising in his life. Although the writing and editing were very good, the book was too lengthy. There were pages of information that I thought extraneous. But it was a fascinating look at the highest levels of traditional book publishing in the mid-twentieth century, all the greatness that is New York, and al ...more
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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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