Williwaw: A Novel and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Williwaw Paperback – December 4, 2003


See all 12 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover, Import
"Please retry"
$25.38
Paperback, December 4, 2003
$20.72 $5.76

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Hero Quick Promo
Browse in Books with Buzz and explore more details on selected titles, including the current pick, "The Good Girl" by Mary Kubica.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus (December 4, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0349105693
  • ISBN-13: 978-0349105697
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,103,486 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'Falling somewhere between the realms of Henry Adams and all of Monty Python, Gore Vidal has for many years served as America's own Tiresias - a seer and a scourge as well as an entertainer of the highest order' JAY McINERNEY 'Vidal's combination of learning, wit and disdain gets into your blood. He can change the way you think - the only definition of a great writer which makes sense' OBSERVER

From the Inside Flap

A boat of the Army Transportation Corps fights through the fierce wind of the Williwaw, carrying two officers and a chaplain with its crew. Human nature and the elements move the men through their uncertain destiny. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Gore Vidal has received the National Book Award, written numerous novels, short stories, plays and essays. He has been a political activist and as Democratic candidate for Congress from upstate New York, he received the most votes of any Democrat in a half-century.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
5 star
7
4 star
2
3 star
2
2 star
0
1 star
0
See all 11 customer reviews
Vidal has crafted a gripping wartime adventure.
Michael J. Mazza
Each character's self-delusions, especially the superstitions of sea-going men, are explored to good effect.
Mark D. Burgh
I recommend the book for anyone interested in WWII or Army boats.
Douglas Workman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 30, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Williwaw takes place in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska during World War II. The main action takes place during a freak, intense wind storm the eskimos call a "williwaw," it whips down off the coastal mountains and causes havoc, freak seas, etc. Gore Vidal, in this, his first novel (1946), creates a wonderful Joseph Conradian feel as tensions mount aboard a army transport ship making a weekly run. I don't want to spoil the ending. There is (I thought) a very CLIMACTIC moment when the tensions among the crew rise to their heights just as the williwaw hits, and - something happens. The serious tone and cool style of this book I found admirable. As a war novel I liked it as much as the ver different Joseph Heller's "Catch-22," and the lyrical, Tennessee Williams-like John Horne Burns' novel "The Gallery," while I liked it more so than Mailer's "Naked and the Dead" - which I liked for its themes and observations, I just wish Mailer could have (in my opinion) skipped the repetition and saved about 400 pages.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Mazza HALL OF FAME on January 20, 2006
Format: Paperback
The copyright page of Gore Vidal's "Williwaw" notes that the novel was first published in 1946. In a preface Vidal describes the background of this novel. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II and, at age 19, became first mate of an army freight-supply ship based in the Aleutian Islands. He worked on this book while on night watch in port. "Williwaw" is similarly set in the Aleutian Islands during that war, and focuses on the passengers and crew of an army freight-passenger ship that is skippered by a warrant officer. The story follows the ship's perilous passage between islands. Vidal sheds light on the book's title in his preface: he defines williwaws as "sudden devastating winds that come without warning down from the island mountains."

Vidal has crafted a gripping wartime adventure. He masterfully charts the crew's struggle against the harsh, and potentially deadly, Aleutian environment. Equally compelling is the tension and conflict that build among the crew members. As the story develops, Vidal creates vivid portraits of the Aleutian Islands and the sea around them. The story is rich in details of the crew's daily life and routine on board the ship, as well as of their recreation in a seedy port town.

Overall, Vidal's prose style in the book is very clean and matter-of-fact; I found it a very effective mode for this particular story. His portrait of the wartime Army is full of satiric touches that are sometimes subtle, sometimes funny. Ultimately "Williwaw" struck me as having a dark, almost nihilistic vision of the human condition. But it's a darkness that I found thought-provoking, and not repellent. Through his plot and characters Vidal takes such basic concepts as love, religion, heroism, and justice and seems to strip them bare. "Williwaw" is, in my judgment, not only a solid adventure tale, but also a unique and compelling contribution to the canon of American war fiction.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
By Douglas Workman on November 3, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read Williwaw mainly for the fact that Gore Vidal was a Warrant Officer on an Army boat during WWII and he wrote the book while he was on watch. That greatly interested me as a Warrant Office on Army boats myself. The book gives a snapshot of the history of the little known Army boat field. I recommend the book for anyone interested in WWII or Army boats. You'll find an interesting view of the interaction and mindset of the men during that era.

Doug Workman, Author The Ghost, And The Treasure!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
By Joyce Metzger on March 31, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
The barren Aleutians of Alaska during World War II reluctantly gave birth to "Williwaws", those sudden, devastating winds that come without previous warning, blasting down from the island mountains.
This wild screeching wind storm rips like unsheathed demon nails, screams like a banshee, and causes even barren rock to cower. It is small wonder that very little vegetation survives on the Aleutian chain.
Bored men are stationed, as passengers and crew, of an army-freight passenger ship. This ship is skippered by a warrant officer, who, not having the experience or skill, of a fully authorized Naval Commander, must navigate between the islands during the height of the storm.
We find a touch of moody melancholy bleakness, fear, contrition, and deep shadowed black and white images to capture the imagination of men frozen in suspended moments. The Williwaw screeches all around. It calls to their inner fears, to their souls, much as a harangue from a widow-maker might sound.
Williwaw was published originally in 1946, and Gore Vidal had served as first-mate on just such a ship in the Aleutians. An interesting read.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is the first book by Gore Vidal that I have read. I was looking for another book of his, Julian, in Kindle format and ran accross Williwaw. I am happy that I found Williwaw. The maturity of the writing and the research regarding seamanship belie the fact that he was 19 years old when he wrote the book. I recommend Williwaw. I will read Julian next.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a classic novel in the sense of "show vs tell". I had a vivid picture of the environment and the soul of each character in that scene. A slice of time that I will always remember because Vidal composed the setting and characters like a great sonata, like a tune that keeps rolling over and over in your subconscious. Ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. The weak get strong and the strong get complacent. I marvel at the depth of understand that Vidal had at age 19 when he wrote this story. I now appreciate his gift.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Customer Images

Search

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?