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Mister Roberts: A Novel (Classics of Naval Literature) Paperback – September 1, 2009


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Product Details

  • Series: Classics of Naval Literature
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press (September 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591143659
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591143659
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #489,939 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Thomas Heggen wrote Mister Roberts as a young naval officer on the USS Virgo in 1944. After the war, he struggled with writing after his early success and died tragically in 1949.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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See all 12 customer reviews
This book should be on everyone's must read list.
Jonathon K
The story ranges from hilarious to heartbreaking, and it's sad Heggen ended his own life before writing again.
Kevin Lane
The rest of the book was much clearer with this introduction.
Christin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Lane on June 12, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is a fabulous story. Heggen expertly captures the monotony, the cynicism, the bravado and depression of life at sea. The story ranges from hilarious to heartbreaking, and it's sad Heggen ended his own life before writing again. I find it amazing that this book is not on the CNO's professional reading list.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Christin on February 11, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Mister Roberts had the right amount of amusement and sadness, which is the main reason I really liked it. At first I was not sure how I was going to enjoy it. The first chapter started out fairly slow, but this was just because it was an introduction of characters. The rest of the book was much clearer with this introduction. Throughout the entire novel there was a lot of humor. It was a fast read with all this comedy. I really admire Heggen's writing style because he incorporated wit with war. Heggen gave a more amusing account of the war than other factual book could have.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jonathon K on April 16, 2012
Format: Paperback
Mr. Roberts is termed a classic of naval literature, but you can take out the "naval." It is simply a classic. And I am amazed that there haven't been more reviews written on it. This book should be on everyone's must read list.

Although the books takes place in WWII, this is not your typical war novel. The USS Reluctant plies the back-water of the war. The author describes the ship and its mission rather succinctly:

"For the most part it remains on its regular run, from Tedium to Apathy and back; about five days each way. It makes an occasional trip to Monotony, and once it made a run all the way to Ennui, a distance of two thousand nautical miles from Tedium. It performs its dreary and unthanked job, and performs it, if not inspiredly, then at least adequately."

The title character is an officer who wants to get in the war, to become a part of history. He chaffs at what he sees as an unimportant job. But he takes his job seriously, and he cares for the crew. It is up to him to run interference between the crew and the somewhat tyrannical ship's captain.

The novel is both hilariously funny and quite sad, stretching from one end of the spectrum to the other. But there is a degree of describing what true leadership means. Not charging the hill or going in to a bombing run on an enemy carrier, but how to be a true leader when motivation is nill. This should be required reading for all new military officers and staff-noncommissioned officers, but it should not be limited to them. Anyone can benefit from that aspect of the novel.

More people are probably familiar with the 1955 Hollywood movie, and while that movie was excellent, it cannot hold a candle to the book. Not to be trite, but if you want to laugh, if you want to cry, and if you want a deep introspective on the human condition, please give Mr. Roberts a read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J Shad on November 28, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was given this book by my mother when I returned from serving on a merchant ship in 1945. I had a chance to read it again after all these years and bought a copy for my grandson - it is still so true and telling of a slice of time so important to me and my generation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Christin on February 11, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Mister Roberts had the right amount of amusement and sadness, which is the main reason I really liked it. At first I was not sure how I was going to enjoy it. The first chapter started out fairly slow, but this was just because it was an introduction of characters. The rest of the book was much clearer with this introduction. Throughout the entire novel there was a lot of humor. It was a fast read with all this comedy. I really admire Heggen's writing style because he incorporated wit with war. Heggen gave a more amusing account of the war than other factual book could have.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Will on April 22, 2012
Format: Paperback
This is one of the saltiest books of all time. It is poignant, hilarious, and much more realistic than most people probably realize. Its timeless depiction of life onboard a naval vessel remains unmatched; my tattered copy was passed around my ship and still resonated (and drew laughs) over sixty years after it was written. Why isn't it available on Kindle?!
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