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This Is My God Paperback – April 15, 1992

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

8 1.5-hour cassettes --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

About the Author

Herman Wouk (born May 27, 1915) is an bestselling American author, with a number of notable novels to his credit, including The Caine Mutiny, The Winds of War, and War and Remembrance. He was born in New York City, into a Jewish family that had immigrated from Russia, and received an A.B. from Columbia University. He was first a radio scriptwriter, and worked with Fred Allen, then in 1941 worked for the US government on radio spots selling war bonds. Wouk then joined the United States Navy and served in the Pacific Theater, an experience he later characterized as educational; "I learned about machinery, I learned how men behaved under pressure, and I learned about Americans." His first ship was the USS Zane, then he was second-in-command on the Southard. He started his writing career onboard, working on a novel during his off-duty hours. He married Betty Sarah Brown in 1945, with whom he had three sons, became a fulltime writer in 1946, and published his debut novel, Aurora Dawn in 1947. In 1952, The Caine Mutiny received the Pulitzer Prize. In 1998, he received the Guardian of Zion Award.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 345 pages
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books; Reprint edition (April 15, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316955140
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316955140
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #158,956 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Herman Wouk earned his living as a scriptwriter for Fred Allen before serving in World War II. His career as a novelist spans nearly six decades and has brought him resounding international acclaim. He lives in Palm Springs, California.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

113 of 115 people found the following review helpful By Tim Lieder on September 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
In 1959, Orthodox Judaism was a dinosaur. Its members didn't have to fight against being arrogant as they must do today. It took a great deal of Chutzpah for Herman Wouk to write this book where he discusses and then dismisses Reform and Conservative Judaism in a chapter. Without rancor or overt criticism he discusses these movements within Judaism but he doesn't accept them as Judaism.
That said, this is an excellent book on what Judaism means in regards to marriage, history, Israel, prayer, observance, Torah, Talmud, kashrut and study. He writes in a clear concise style concerning the daily life of an observant Jew as well as the history that went into it. Many times he argues for the education of young Jewish children in Judaism (taking issue with the refrain "they can choose it when they grow up" since it is easy to reject what you've learned but hard to learn something you should have learned when you were a child.) and against the rising tide of assimilation. He tells personal stories about studying Talmud with his grandfather and his time fighting in World War II. One particularly amusing one is how he was disappointed to learn that "an eye for an eye" meant compensatory damage payments as it was one of his best arguments for rejecting observance altogether at age 14 when he would have rather gone to Saturday afternoon movies.
A caveat in that if you are an observant Jew, you will probably not learn much from this book. This is the book that rabbis have conversion candidates read in order to make sure that everyone has a good idea as to what is going to happen if the conversion goes through.
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42 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Gary M. Greenbaum on July 29, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Herman Wouk blends Jewish history, Jewish practice, and personal experience in a wonderful tour for Judaism, appropriate for nonJews, Jews, and even those who think they know it all.
While his discussions of Shabbat, Hanukah, and other observances are fine reading, Wouk reaches his peak when discussing his own and his family's experiences--his grandfather, whom he obviously admired a great deal, his father, who spent an immense sum of money (for the times) to buy the honor of reading the book of Jonah on Yom Kippur afternoon. Wonderful images of a time in Judaism gone by.
I do not find it limiting that Wouk writes from an Orthodox perspective (he assumes, for example, that only a man would wear a tallit, which is the Orthodox practice, but not the Conservative). Wouk was what he was, and I do not think he should have modified his book to an egalitarian perspective to satisfy the wolves of political correctness.
Well worth an annual read and a place on your shelf.
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Manuel Gwiazda on April 24, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A formidable book, written for everyone, from the pious Chassidim who seems to know all about Judaism to the secular Wall Street Jewish Banker who is far from his faith but feels every now and then the sweet but stern internal calling of his demanding heritage

The best chapters,in my opinion, are related to the experiences related to the secular Jewish people when they got involved in the Jewish religious rituals at the synagogue or at home during childhood, "one feels like he is telling ones own experiences when he was a Jewish kid, so unexplained and uneasy situations at that time become hilarious

Generally speaking, Wouk, who is observant, tried to be very open avoiding dogma and intended to convey to the Jewish reader the precious value of his 4000 years heritage and a way to learn how to feel proud about it.

Wouk did not forget the non-Jewish reader either, he wrote this book with simple concepts and language so anyone interested about Judaism can get a good basic introduction through these pages
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 10, 1999
Format: Paperback
A must read for all Jews and those considering becoming Jews.Wouk gives, among other things, an understanding of why it is important to observe the Jewish dietary laws and why improvised prayer has meaning.The result is that I am now incorporating more observances into my daily life. For the first time, I see their importance. This book has changed my life.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Ray Barnes on June 23, 2001
Format: Paperback
As a Christian who is very curious to learn about Judaism, this book served as a fine introductory lesson. Herman Wouk researched this field exhaustively and relied on the expert knowledge of ordained rabbis on matters of religious law, and I think he tried to avoid overwhelming or intimidating a newcomer to this field of study with excessive details or exposition. In its directness and lucidity it has the same qualities as his other works, and after having read The Winds of War & War and Remembrance twice each, I could not resist the opportunity to delve into this book. As Wouk noted, many top quality writers have almost a conversational style - and he certainly does. Wouk's dry sense of humor is very effective. This is worthwhile not only to read through in a few sittings, but also for reference on specific topics. I also appreciated the author's attempts to explain his methods of transliteration from Hebrew, and suggestions on their English pronounciation.
I hope to use this book in doing further study. Recommended.
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