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Showing 1-10 of 231 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 351 reviews
on June 15, 2017
A fine military classic. It's a long book, but describes military life on a naval vessel in true form.

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.
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on September 19, 2017
I read Winds of War and War and Remembrance several years ago, which I liked. I read a review that indicated the Cain Mutiny, also by Wouk was better. This book was on my to read list for several years and I read it a few months ago. While is was good, I think Winds of War and War and Remembrance was better. If you like close to nonfiction history, this a good book. While the ship and characters are fiction, there are many historical events (naval battles, other ships and commanders) that are true and factually correct. Wouk did a great job of weaving the fictional parts of the story/plot with the nonfiction. I have read many fiction and nonfiction books about World War II and this one is definitely in the top 10.
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on January 5, 2012
Although "The Caine Mutiny" takes place within the context of the Pacific Theater of World War II, it is less a war story than a coming of age epic. There is precious little war in the story, the adventures of the obsolete destroyer-minesweeper, the "Caine", proving the adage that war is hours of boredom punctuated by a few moments of sheer terror. In the course of the entire novel, the ship participates peripherally in two invasions and suffers one Kamikaze attack that merely causes a single fatality.

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.
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on August 12, 2017
This is a famous and well-loved book and it deserves all the affection and admiration it gets. With the word "mutiny" in the title the mutiny gets the attention, and it is the center piece, but the book is more than that. It is a good picture of military life, both the good and the bad. I'm not a navy man. I spent my time in the army. I can relate. This is a good book. If you have not read it and are interested in World War II or military life, read it.
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on August 14, 2017
A novel - what does a reader want when he/she reads a novel? Escape, entertainment, excitement? Herman Wouk actually places his reader IN THE SCENE, in the location, in the feelings of his characters. I was Queeg, I was Keifer, I was Keith!
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...
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on August 17, 2015
A classic. Different from the movie and play; it is as much a book about Willie Keith's transformation from a spoiled sort of jerk to a more mature, open-minded man as it is the story of the Mutiny. There is a lot of detail about life on a ship; often harsh, unpleasant, foul, and Wouk brings you into the middle of it and makes you want to follow the men involved.

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,.
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on July 30, 2017
For many years, I have counted The Caine Mutiny among my favorite films. Upon turning to the book, I found I could not put it down.

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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on April 28, 2017
Probably my all-time favorite book.I first read it when it came out in the 50's, and couldn't put it down. I'd rush home from work to continue reading it. I've reread it several times since. The movie doesn't come close.
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on November 4, 2007
Many years ago, I read Winds of War and War and Remembrance. For whatever reason, I neglected to read Wouk's earlier works, including the widely acclaimed Caine Mutiny. Recently, I had the occasion to read Youngblood Hawke, and as a result made a concerted effort to explore other Wouk novels.

Of course, I was familiar with The Caine Mutiny as a result of having seen the film classic starring Humphrey Bogart as the infamous Captain Queeg. I have to admit that previously seeing the movie detracted somewhat from the reading experience. Though the book was every bit as good as the movie (better in fact), knowing many of the details in advance spoiled much of the suspense that might have existed otherwise. Despite physical descriptions, I automatically pictured Bogart fondling the ball bearings or Fred McMurray as the pompous, holier than thou Keefer.

Having said that, even having seen the movie, reading this work was utterly captivating. Rarely have I read a book that better shines light on the human psyche and human nature in the face of sometimes overwhelming pressure and stress. There are so many fascinating characters in this book, from the obvious (Queeg and Willie) to the seemingly peripheral but nevertheless vital (Keefer, Maryk).

The story thread involving Mae, I thought was really unnecessary and perhaps filler, though it allowed the author to more fully explore the character of Willie. The complaints of naval jargon are valid, though in truth, knowledge of technical naval maneuvers or terminology is by no means necessary for enjoyment of the work. Understanding of the issues involved is easily discerned by context and is usually not central to the task of following the story.

If you've never read this novel, you owe it to yourself to invest the time. If you have not seen the movie, I particularly recommend the book. Unquestionably, one of the finest war novels ever written. Having recently read Youngblood Hawke and now The Caine Mutiny, I can only say, it's on to Marjorie Morningstar.
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on August 6, 2017
An excellent account of lax discipline and bad behavior aboard an obsolete minesweeper during WW 2 until a stern commander comes aboard. His strict command and sometimes odd quirks riles enough of the crew to cause a brief mutiny that forces the Navy to bring court martial charges against two officers and a crew member. During the tense trial certain disparing testimony brings disharmony amount the officers.
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