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Hachette Book Group
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The Caine Mutiny: A Novel of World War II Kindle Edition
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|Kindle, January 15, 2013||
|Length: 673 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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What do you do when your captain is incapable of leading during a time of war. The crew of the Caine must make a fateful decision or risk being destroyed by their very own captain rather than the enemy or bad weather. They make a drastic step which borders the line of mutiny. Wouk describes how making a choice like this can ruin careers of the accusers as well as the accused, which is why some may be unwilling to take this necessary step. Written with WWII in the background, it's a good steady read about life and challenges in WWII. The author's descriptions of life on a ship are compelling, and you get the feel of being there. It's a classic that the movie follows well. It's a must read for WWII readers.
Much has been analyzed about the seemingly crazy Captain Queeg, he of the rolling steel balls, and the court-martial that follows his removal from command during a typhoon. But over many readings over many decades, he recedes from the forefront, reminding me more of a cranky, unpleasant employer than a psychotic monster. I've dated more fearsome personalities.
The core of the story is Willie Keith who transforms much the way the United States does during the war, from being a frivolous and easy-going boy to a man who takes charge of his life and commands a presence; tried and tempered by the challenges of his life aboard ship.
Having been a destroyer seaman himself, Wouk is familiar with the lingo, the rituals and the routine aboard a naval vessel to the degree that the reader can feel the pitching of the deck, the smell of the stack gas, the fatigue caused by boredom, humidity and lack of sleep. The characters are so richly drawn that one has to remind oneself that they are fictional. It tells more about the reality of World War II than most novels of its genre.
If I had to pick five books to take to the proverbial desert island, this would be my first choice.
I first read 'The Caine Mutiny' many years ago, long before online reviews were possible. I'm glad that I finally got the chance to say something about this great author, and this great book...
Note: be prepared for instances of bias. Several of the characters are Anti-Semitic and patronize the African Americans (whose roles are limited to working as kitchen "boys.") on the ship. Willie dearly loves May but hesitates to marry a second generation Italian. This is how life was in the '40's.The book also shows how Willie becomes more tolerant as he becomes a naval officer rather than a self-centered man,.
Wouk's prose does not match Humphrey Bogart's riveting tour de force when he portrayed Captain Queeq on the witness stand. But doing so would lie beyond the power of any author.
Wouk gave us a compelling account how war affected the richly developed, three dimensional who populate the book. I understand the book won the Pulitzer prize. Deservedly so!
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