(1915 - )
Herman Wouk was born on May 27, 1915, in New
He earned an A.B. from Columbia Univeristy in 1934. Soon thereafter,
he became a radio scriptwriter, working in David Freedman’s “Joke
Factory” and later with Fred Allen (1936-1941) and in 1941, for
the United States government writing radio spots to sell war bonds.
Wouk joined the United States Navy and served in the
Pacific Theatre, an experience he found educational. Wouk served as
an officer aboard two destroyer minesweepers, the USS Zane and USS Southard.
He started writing his first novel, Aurora Dawn, during off-duty
hours aboard ship. The novel was published in 1947 and became a Book
of the Month Club main selection. His second novel, City Boy,
proved to be a commercial disappointment at the time of its initial
In 1952, after nearly giving
up literature as a career, Wouk won the
Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for his novel, The
Caine Mutiny (1951). A best-seller drawing
from his wartime experiences, The Caine Mutiny was adapted by the
author into a Broadway play and later a
film. His novels after The Caine Mutiny include Marjorie
Morningstar (1955), Youngblood Hawke (1962),
Stop the Carnival (1965). In the 1970s,
Wouk published his two most ambitious novels, The Winds of War. (1971)
and War and Remembrance (1978).
In the 1990s, Wouk wrote two novels set in
Israel, The Hope (1994) and The Glory. (1995).
Following the publication
of Marjorie Morningstar, Wouk temporarily
put aside his career as a novelist to write
a very personal account of his Jewish faith,
in the book This Is My God (1959);
it too became a best-seller.
Wouk hired highly-qualified historians to assist him
with the research for his later historical novels, and their details
are highly accurate. Many of Wouk’s works have Jewish characters
or themes and explore moral dilemmas facing modern men and women.
Wouk has also written for the stage. His two-act play, The Traitor, was produced on Broadway in 1949 and his two-act
comedy, Nature’s Way, opened in 1957.
In 1998, Wouk received the Guardian of Zion Award.