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The Good Soldier Švejk (Osudy dobrého vojáka Švejka za světové války #1-4)

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  10,490 Ratings  ·  595 Reviews
In The Good Soldier Svejk, celebrated Czech writer and anarchist Jaroslav Hasek combined dazzling wordplay and piercing satire in a hilariously subversive depiction of the futility of war.

Good-natured and garrulous, Svejk becomes the Austro-Hungarian Army's most loyal Czech soldier when he is called up on the outbreak of World War I - although his bumbling attempts to ge

Paperback, Twentieth Century Classics, 752 pages
Published August 23rd 1990 by Penguin Books (first published 1921)
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Eliška Josef Lada. He is best known as the illustrator of Jaroslav Hašek's World War I novel The Good Soldier Švejk, having won the Deutscher…moreJosef Lada. He is best known as the illustrator of Jaroslav Hašek's World War I novel The Good Soldier Švejk, having won the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis in 1963.(less)

Community Reviews

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MJ Nicholls
The Czech antidote to Heller’s Catch-22 (a wonderful but overpraised anti-war satire), this anarchistic (and openly misogynistic) classic is bolder, bawdier, barmier and another B-bouncing word than Heller’s similar book thing. The premise here is that the balding and plump Švejk (or so he appears in the smile-raising illustrations) pretends to be an idiot to “dodge the draft,” but his motivations are deeper and his brain power plumper—he remembers his officer’s orders verbatim and is able to pa ...more
Apr 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor
Review updated on 4/1/2016.

A simple Czech person Svejk became a soldier in Austro-Hungarian Army in the beginning of World War I.
The Good Soldier Svejk
His way to become one was anything but straight: despite his wholehearted attempts to enlist the moment he heard about the war, he kept stumbling from one absurd situation into another ending up literally everywhere except for the Army. When he finally gets there, even more ridiculous situations keep happening to him thanks to the military life which defies common sen
Apr 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: czech, wwi, top-10-2015
Humbly report, Sir, but I've been reading this book called The Good Soldier Švejk which I had not planned to read as part of my World War I project, but there you have it. It's a satire of the stupidity of war, of governments and armies and regulations, of class struggles. Of being a Czech, and nevertheless in the Austrian army. To deal with the absurdity of it all, you need an anti-hero. Which would be this guy:


One buffoonerous episode...

follows another...

and another...

Yes, the drawings
Probably the funniest book ever written about the first world war.

This isn't really a novel, more of a series of anecdotes linked together by a few characters and whose narrative drive grows weaker as the work progresses. It was written in instalments and I have never heard tell that there was an overall plan for the book.

Much of what happens and even bizarre stories like the editor who invented new animals to write about for a regular animal magazine are drawn from Hašek's own experiences.

It wa
Aug 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jaroslav Hašek was an anarchist and anarchy runs through The Good Soldier Švejk like a stick of rock. It's anti-war, anti-establishment, anti-religion and, some say, even funnier than Catch-22. Apparently Joseph Heller based his hero Yossarian on Švejk. I read Catch-22 far too long ago to make a valid comparison. Oh, and Bertholt Brecht declared it the greatest book of the twentieth century. And, I can confirm, it really is quite something....

This Penguin Classics edition of The Good Soldier Šv
Anthony Buckley
Mar 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everybody
The first time I read this book, as a teenager, I could not see the point. So I put it down without finishing it. Now I see it as one of the great books. The character of Svejk is straight out of folklore. He is the foolish man who somehow kills the giant, gets the princess and claims the gold. Except that here is no fairy tale, but a story of war and a story of bureaucrats and officialdom.

Specifically, we at first witness Svejk, a bumbling lower class oaf who has been recruited into the army,
mohsen pourramezani
شوایک، مرد ساده دل و پرحرفی است که به علت احمق بودن از سربازی معاف شده اما با شروع جنگ جهانی اول تصمیم میگیرد برود و در جبهه بجنگد. هاشک این کتاب را ابتدا به صورت جزوههای جدایی منتشر میکرد و میفروخت. در بخشهایی از کتاب خود نویسنده نیز وارد میشود و توضیحاتی در مورد کتاب و برخی از اتفاقهای واقعی جنگ میدهد. شوایک یکی از مهمترین و معروفترین کتابهای طنز قرن بیستم است. هاشک قبل از کامل کردن کتابش میمیرد.
متاسفانه نتوانستم تمامش کنم و از اواسط کتاب ولش کردم. با اینکه خواندنش را برای خودم واجب کرده بودم
I've been on a roll with my reading recently. Love having time off.

Anyways - it is often said that this novel was an inspiration for Catch-22. Like Catch-22, it is hilarious. Unfortunately, it tends to go on for a little too long, also like Catch-22.

The moralizing in the end does tend to break up the monotony. The book ends abruptly, but this is due to the author's unfortunate death. This also explains some 'unpolished' sections of the book.

Despite these flaws, it is still hilarious and very muc
Mohsen Rajabi
Nov 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
از جنگ زیاد خواندهایم، دیدهایم و شنیدهایم. هم با جنگی که درایران رخ داده آشنا هستیم (البته به دلیل خط قرمزهایی که وجود دارد نه با همهی جنبههایش) و هم با جنگهایی که در دنیا درگرفتهاند. در این میان میتوان گفت که دو جنگ جهانی قرن بیستم از همه بیشتر شناخته شدهاند. شوایک را نیز از یک منظر میتوان روایتی از جنگ جهانی اول دانست. یاروسلاو هاشک که خود از نزدیک در این جنگ حضور داشته، با طنزی تلخ که هیچکس از زیر تیغ تیزش نمیتواند فرار کند به نقد از جنگ در درجهی اول، و اجتماع در دیدی وسیعتر دست میزند.
هر نویس
Apr 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A vastly amusing, compulsive read, Hašek's masterpiece is, moreover, a brutal satire of humanity's foulest self-inflicted plagues - war, organized religion and a savagely oppressive State - that retains too this day its power to shock and disturb. As for Josef Švejk, perhaps no other Everyman or antihero was ever so endearing. An unforgettable book and one of the few classics (Rabelais also comes to mind) that can be consumed with such greedy, giddy delight.
May 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Una sátira de esas que no se olvidan. Hašek ilustra muy bien a Švejk, cómo se hace soldado, cómo "lucha" por el imperio austro-húngaro y todas las anécdotas que le suceden a éste. Cuando estaba en Praga, vi un restaurante llamado Švejk y me recordó inmediatamente al libro. Situaciones absurdas, por una guerra absurda (como todas las guerras) con anécdotas absurdas, pero que siempre condujeron a un mismo lugar: la armada.
Lo que creo que más gracias me causó fue que entre más soldado se sentía, má
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
Mine is a 1943 edition of this by Penguin Books. The pages are brittle so I wasn't able to dog-ear, but all the pages are intact. Sewn-up and not merely glued, only four pages were detached. As the war was ongoing then, its back cover advertises "Penguin Specials" with titles like: "Modern Battle," "American vs. Germans," "How Russia Prepared," "How the Jap Army Fights," "New Soldier's Handbook," "Aircraft Recognition," "New Ways of War," etc. Another recommended title is "Guerrilla Warfare" wit ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
692. The Good Soldier Švejk, Jaroslav Hašek
زمان را کمی به عقب برمیگردانیم؛ سرباز«شوایک» دارد از دستشویی بیرون میآید. حالا کمرش را سفت میکند و وارد جنگ اول جهانی میشود! شوایک درست هنگامی که درد روماتیسمش عود کرده و مشغول مالیدن پماد به پای پر موی خویش است تصمیمش را میگیرد، که خود را برای جنگ آماده کند، و تا جان در بدن دارد با دشمن ملتش، ملت اتریش که بالای سر مردمان چک است بجنگد. ولی نبرد او، نبرد نیزه با نیزه نیست. نبرد صداقت با خشونت است. خشونتی که ادعای دانایی دارد و کارهای بزرگ را در شأن خود م
'Las aventuras del bueno soldado Švejk' puede que sea el libro más divertido que he leído nunca y sin duda es la mejor parodia anti-bélica que he podido encontrar. El bueno de Švejk puede que sea un poco corto de entendederas, pero es un pozo sin fondo de anécdotas intrascendentes. Se mete siempre en unos líos demenciales, pero nunca a posta. Su mayor problema es que se lo toma todo al pie de la letra, es incapaz de entender un doble sentido o un sarcasmo, y cree ciegamente que la institución de ...more
Nov 17, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the story of a simple soldier of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in World War I. Throughout the first few chapters, Svejk seems like a harmless and naïve simpleton, the story reminding me of Candide, Voltaire’s version, however, coming more obviously out of an Enlightenment milieu, whereas Hasek’s version seems more like folk literature. How creatively Hasek develops this determines whether interest in the story can be maintained or whether the narrative becomes unimaginative and tedious. In ...more
My initial reaction to this book after reading the first few chapters is that it reminded me of Catch-22. Sure enough, after some research, I found out that Heller credits Hasek's work as one of his key influences. If you appreciate the biting satire, base humor, and no-holds-barred castigation of bureaucratic organizations in Catch-22, you love it in Svejk as well. Sveyk, the (seemingly) good-natured and dopey Dudley-Do-Right of the Czech contingent in the Austria-Hungarian army during WWI is a ...more
Aug 28, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to read this because I knew that Svejk was the forbear of one of the ur-texts of sad-eyed high school existentialists, namely, Catch-22. Joseph Heller said he could never have written his surreal epic without having read this WWI picaresque by Hasek. I thought I was going to love it, obviously. While perusing Svejk was interesting in a historical sense, unfortunately I ended up not finding it as enjoyable as I had hoped. Despite the many lavish descriptions of how to fight bureaucracy w ...more
Jun 10, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel, eastern-europe
It took me more than two years to finish this book. Had managed to get until half-way upon buying it, but couldn't get myself to continue. Basically, it's just more and more of the same. On the other hand, that "same" is also pretty damn good. And so, after two years of hesitation I decided to give its second half another chance and liked it. This novel has brilliant satiric comedy, crazy pictures and the highest amount of anecdotes I've ever come across. It's definitely flawed in some parts, wi ...more
Vit Babenco
Apr 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read The Good Soldier Švejk twice - once when I was still adolescent and second time when I was already an adult. I enjoyed it both times though quite differently.
I believe it is one of the first examples of postmodern novels full of delicious black humour.
“I really don't know why those loonies get so angry when they're kept there. You can crawl naked on the floor, howl like a jackal, rage and bite. If anyone did this anywhere on the promenade people would be astonished, but there it's the
This WW1 classic Czech novel reminded me of Catch-22 or M.A.S.H. -- black humor about the way armies work. I much prefered this older translation to that of Sadlon's new one I started off with in Book 1 and also enjoyed Lada's illustrations this book had.
Justin Evans
Jul 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A very amusing book, with rather diminishing rewards; there are only so many times you can make the joke about how the soldier ate the officer's food before it starts to get boring, and I more or less stopped paying attention to those jokes at the end of part two--which meant part three was more tedious than entertaining. Hasek didn't finish it, and that's probably a good thing. I fear the 1000 page monster which is still recycling jokes by page 989. It's also good because the point of the book ...more
May 08, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1001-books, humor, g1000
Well thank goodness that's over!

It's not that it was bad, it was that it was so overly long and repetitive that the mild humour became overshadowed by the 'oh here we go again' as the anti hero launched into one of his innumerable tales about dog only knows what until my eyes glazed over, my brain melted out my ears and I thought of about 10 other books that I could be reading right now instead of this.

The seemingly brainless Svejk who was called up to 'do his duty' in WWI spent all of his tim
Andrew Walter
Jan 12, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Vanek asked with interest: "How long do you think the war will go on, Svejk?" "Fifteen years," answered Svejk. "That's obvious because once there was a Thirty Years War and now we're twice as clever as they were before, so it follows that thirty divided by two is fifteen"

This is an unusually succinct quote from our good natured Good Soldier Svejk , who is normally given to interminable rambling anecdotes to illustrate his point (or sometimes seemingly just to pass the time), and it neatly sums
Oct 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you like historical fiction written by contemporaries about recent events, like "All's Quiet on the Western Front," and that depict events from a new perspective - try out this hidden classic. If you don't often hear the German side of WWI in U.S. history classes, you also hear even less about the other losers like Austria-Hungary. This novel gives a great glimpse behind the scenes as the twilight years of the Hapsburgs unfold in this "first" of the Great Wars across Europe and the rest of th ...more
From BBC Radio 4 - Classical Serial:
Dramatisation by Christopher Reason of the satirical Czech novel by Jaroslav Hasek that charts the exploits of a WWI soldier.

When he seems to celebrate the death of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Svejk is arrested and so starts his progress through the ranks of the Austro-Hungarian army.
Jan 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: czech-fiction, humor
This book is hilarious. I love Svejk. I wish I could have his attitude to life. There's a Svejk restaurant in Prague that's got images of Svejk on napkins, menus, etc. Stumbled across it one night when we were freezing cold and didn't have any more Czech money and the place we were going to eat didn't take credit cards. It was the only place around that was open and warm. Truly a Svejk moment.
Gray Side
Oct 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
شخصية شفيك ممتعة حتى يبدأ بسرد قصصه المطولة، حين تجتمع السذاجة والثرثرة تكون النتيجة قصص شفيك التي لا نهاية لها، أجواء الحرب والقوى العظمى في ذلك الوقت لا تختلف كثيراً عن الحروب المعاصرة، تناول الكاتب الجانب الطريف منها برفقة الجندي الطيب شفيك صاحب النظرات الأكثر براءة.
I can't figure whether Svejk was as idiotic as some said, or he was just super cunning and loved to hear his own voice. He certainly could ramble on with his unique view of life and of the people he knew. He also seemed to be always pick the wrong choice so he is constantly arrested, interviewed, challenged, imprisoned, sent to others to deal with him and hospitalised.
Hasek certainly had no respect for the Austrian Empire, the officer class, the stupidity of regulations. He does respect his fell
gonk bukan pahlawan berwajah tampan
Dalam cerpennya yang kemudian dibukukan dalam kumpulan cerpen yang berjudul sama, Jl Asmaradana, Kuntowijoyo mengawali dengan menyinggung soal dua sisi menarik dari fragmen manusia, tragic sense of life dan comic sense of life. Tragic sense of life menganggap hidup sebagai sebuah tragedi, memandang dunia serba suram. Comic sense of life, menganggap hidup sebagai sebuah lelucon. Kira-kira begitu secara parsial saya mengingat-ingat paragraf awal cerpen tersebut.

Pembaca review yang budiman, *ehem.
Tsung Wei
This is probably the granddaddy of satirical war time books. A pivotal, influential piece literature which still echoes on till today. It’s been years since I’ve read Catch-22 and cannot remember the details but there is a certain familiarity and Svejk stirs up vague memories of Yossarian. I’m also reminded of MASH, Blackadder Goes Forth and other TV shows as I read along. It is a huge, rambling, monolith of a book. It is irreverent, politically incorrect, over the top, slapstick. However, ultim ...more
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Jaroslav Hašek was a Czech humorist, satirist, writer and anarchist best known for his novel The Good Soldier Švejk (Czech: Osudy dobrého vojáka Švejka za světové války), an unfinished collection of farcical incidents about a soldier in World War I and a satire on the ineptitude of authority figures, which has been translated into sixty languages. He also wrote some 1,500 short stories. He was a j ...more
More about Jaroslav Hašek...

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“After debauches and orgies there always follows the moral hangover.” 26 likes
“Jesus Christ was innocent too,' said Svejk, 'and all the same they crucified him. No one anywhere has ever worried about a man being innocent. Maul halten und weiter dienen ['Grin and bear it and get on with the job'] - as they used to tell us in the army. That's the best and finest thing of all.” 25 likes
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