Sailor and Fid­dler: Reflec­tions of a 100-Year-Old Author

  • From the Publisher
January 5, 2016

In an unprece­dent­ed lit­er­ary accom­plish­ment, Her­man Wouk, one of America’s most beloved and endur­ing authors, reflects on his life and times from the remark­able van­tage point of 100 years old.

Many years ago, the great British philoso­pher Sir Isa­iah Berlin urged Her­man Wouk to write his auto­bi­og­ra­phy. Wouk respond­ed, Why me? I’m nobody.” Berlin answered, No, no. You’ve trav­eled. You’ve known many peo­ple. You have inter­est­ing ideas. It would do a lot of good.”

Now, in the same year he has cel­e­brat­ed his hun­dredth birth­day, Her­man Wouk final­ly reflects on the life expe­ri­ences that inspired his most beloved nov­els. Among those expe­ri­ences are his days writ­ing for come­di­an Fred Allen’s radio show, one of the most pop­u­lar shows in the his­to­ry of the medi­um; enlist­ing in the US Navy dur­ing World War II; falling in love with Bet­ty Sarah Brown, the woman who would become his wife (and lit­er­ary agent) for six­ty-six years; writ­ing his Pulitzer Prize-win­ning nov­el, The Caine Mutiny; as well as a big hit Broad­way play The Caine Mutiny Court Mar­tial; and the sur­pris­ing inspi­ra­tions and peo­ple behind such mas­ter­pieces as The Winds of War, War and Remem­brance, Mar­jorie Morn­ingstar, and Young­blood Hawke.

Writ­ten with the wis­dom of a man who has lived through two cen­turies and the wit of some­one who began his career as pro­fes­sion­al com­e­dy writer, the first part of Wouk’s mem­oir (“Sailor”) refers to his Navy expe­ri­ence and writ­ing career, the sec­ond (“Fid­dler”) to what he’s learned from liv­ing a life of faith. Ulti­mate­ly, Sailor and Fid­dler is an unprece­dent­ed reflec­tion from a van­tage point few peo­ple have lived to experience.

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