Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Buy Used
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Solid used copy with visible wear. FREE SHIPPING w/AMAZON PRIME!
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

The Will To Live On: This is Our Heritage Hardcover – February 16, 2000

4.6 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

See all 6 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$5.09 $0.01

Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal
The bestselling author of "Encyclopedia an Ordinary Life" returns with a literary experience that is unprecedented, unforgettable, and explosively human. Hardcover | Kindle book
click to open popover

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Forty years ago, novelist Herman Wouk wrote a book about his devotion to the Torah and the Talmud called This Is My God, which remains among the freshest and most quietly impassioned religious autobiographies in print today. The Will to Live On is Wouk's follow-up to that work, although its subject--the particular state of the Jewish people in the 20th century--is very different. Wouk promises to tackle all of the biggest subjects here: "the Holocaust, the reborn Jewish State, the prodigious yet precarious American diaspora, and the deepening religious schisms." And his broad-minded reflections on all of these topics--especially his explanation of modern Zionism's rise from the roots of ancient literature and history--are cleanly, forcefully, and respectfully written. Among Wouk's most penetrating insights are his reflections on Israel's struggle, throughout history, with the temptation of idolatry, and his conviction that the Holocaust at last purged Abraham's people of this "near-fatal cancer." The Will to Live On is a risky, wise book that deserves to be called prophetic.

From Publishers Weekly

In the 1950s, sensing a drifting of Jews away from their tradition, novelist Wouk (The Caine Mutiny, The Winds of War, etc.), an observant Jew, wrote This Is My God, a classic primer on Jewish belief and practices, to draw some of the curious back. Nearly half a century later, with the American Jewish community concerned with high rates of intermarriage, Wouk brings out this companion volume, a whirlwind tour of Jewish history and sacred texts. It is, he writes, his "view that any hope for our long future [lies] in a massive return to our sources, in faith, in literature, and in history." Despite its brevity, the text succeeds in conveying the large arc of 2,500 years of Jewish history and the grandeur of the Hebrew Bible and prophets, the "exalted challenge" of studying the Talmud and the complex questions of identity facing Jews today, whether in Israel or in the Diaspora. He writes with great love of his tradition and with a becoming modesty about his own impressive scholarship. He draws on incidents from his life to illustrate various points; for instance, regarding the inevitable conflict in the modern mind between rationalism and religion, he describes a meeting between two of his mentors: the philosopher Irwin Edman of Columbia University and Wouk's grandfather, an unworldly Talmudic scholar. Wouk discusses all these issues clearly without oversimplifying them; he confronts head on, for example, the dilemmas facing Zionism in an age when Israel is a military power and a mature, internally divided country. This fine volume deserves to become a classic alongside its predecessor. (Mar.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

New York Times best sellers
Browse the New York Times best sellers in popular categories like Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Books and more. See more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (February 16, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060196084
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060196080
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,331,940 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I read this book in three evening sessions, and, like his book written 40 years ago (This Is My God) Herman Wouk is at his relaxed best.
The Will to Live On is a delightful one-sided conversation in which the 82-year-old author talks about the loves of his life: Judaism, his family, and his people, or amchka (your people), sweeping through several thousand years of Jewish history and a lifetime of study, work, and just living as a Jew, son and grandson of immigrants, an American and a patriot.
Wouk, an ever-observant Orthodox believer, is a facinating person and believable because he has lived well, written well, and lived what he believes. But not only for his religious core is he interesting, but because, as the Jewish people like to say, he is a person, and the kind of person who can be truly Orthodox, without orthodoxy, and respectful of the vast differences within the Jewish experience, leaving no one out.
And while being Orthodox, Wouk calls himself a humanist, for which he gives only scant definition or explanation in his book... my only criticism. His claim to be a humanist, unless he has redefined the term in some cleaver way, does not jibe with his core message. Possibly, in spite of his full reading of Jewish scripture, the author has not read or understood the passage, "I will raise up your sons, O Zion, against your sons, O Greece."
He addresses himself largely to the great American Jewish community, which, he strongly implies, has gone about as far as it should go into the vanilla world of assimilation, better known to all ethnic and religious Americans as "the melting pot."
I saved the last few pages to read very slowly because they contain the reason for the book.
Read more ›
Comment 68 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
In a career of fifty years or so, Herman Wouk has published less than a dozen novels. Fortunately, the time he puts into his work shows and nearly all of his works are five-star quality. This book, a non-fiction follow-up to This Is My God (which is the only book of his I haven't read), continues the high-quality trend.
Although designed for a Jewish audience, this book has plenty to offer anyone who wishes to learn more about Judaism and the direction it is going. This is a good blend of history, theology and memoir, well-organized and filled with detail without losing readability. I found of particular interest the second part, "The Heritage, or the Power of a Dream" which describes the sources of Jewish thought and tradition.
Although not very religious myself, I am often fascinated with religion, and this book is a good addition to my collection on the subject. As he states in the Afterword, "If this book in any way helps readers to rethink the [future of Judaism] for themselves, I will have done, to the best of my ability, what I set out to do." He has accomplished this task very well.
Comment 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
At 84 years of age, Herman Wouk, one of the giants of contemporary American Jewish literature, presents his view of the survival of the Jewish people. His narrative moves back and forth between a thumbnail sketch of Jewish history and a colorful personal history . He indicates that the two motivating forces that have kept Judaism cohesive and growing during the twentieth century--the Holocaust and the birth of the state of Israel--are no longer of recent enough memory in the younger generation to ensure Jewish survival. Are there other factors, as the twenty-first century begins, that can influence young Jews to preserve their ancient heritage? This is the tough question the author attempts to address.
Wouk's whirlwind tour of Jewish history is unsatisfactory because it flies through time and presumes an in-depth knowledge by the reader. Far more satisying are the author's personal reflections as to how his life experiences and knowledge of the past allow him to appreciate his Jewish heritage. What seem to be lacking at the beginning of the book book are fill-in-the-blank kind of things. It is almost as if the author's intention is to get his readers to find the missing information by going to Judaic sources and reading what they need to know to preserve the Jewish faith. Nice ploy!
THE WILL TO LIVE ON concludes with Wouk's thoughts about the survival of the Jewish people into the distant future. His impressions differ regarding the Jews of Israel and those of the diaspora. He has one especially important thought to share about how diaspora Jewry can ensure their survival. It's not worth peeking at the last few pages of the book ahead of time, however, because the strength of Wouk's case slowly builds throughout the narrative. The reader can then sit back and truly savor the elderly author's insightful conclusion.
Comment 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
One of many topics reviewed in this excellent book, possibly, but hopefully not the last of Herman Wouk's great literary career. From the author of numerous fictional works, including the epics Winds of War and War and Remembrance, this is the second of his major nonfiction books, published some 40 years after his first, "This is My God."
This 300-page book spans a greater time span, and is certainly more up to date than Heinrich Graetz's encyclopedic, multi-volume "History of the Jews." Aside from providing a succinct history of a people spanning over three millennia, Wouk addresses an even more important question of what will become of the Jews, having survived centuries of invasion, overthrow, exile, persecution and the Holocaust, only to be threatened with extinction through intermarriage and assimilation in the United States, and secular Judaism in Israel.
At times a difficult read because of its complex vocabulary, cultivated from Yiddish, Hebrew, Biblical and Talmudic colloquialisms, this is more than compensated for by its succinctness, its eyewitness perspective, and its inclusion in respective appendices, a glossary of terms, and biographical names.
Wouk certainly knows of what he speaks. Having been born into and Orthodox American Jewish family, Herman Wouk, is the grandson of a Russian Orthodox rabbi who moved to the United States in the 1920's, who later made aliyah in the 1950's, a member of what Tom Brokaw calls "The Greatest Generation," a World War II naval officer, a lifelong student of history, Old Testament, Talmud, Judaism, and Israel, Wouk has personally met such prominent figures as Prime Ministers Ben-Gurion and Ehud Barak of Israel, the Nobel winning physicist Richard Feynman. A must read for anyone interested in Jewish history, prognosis, Israel (ancient or modern)
Comment 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews