Herman Wouk

Herman Wouk
Herman Wouk, Palm Springs 2014 family photo
Herman Wouk, Palm Springs 2014 family photo
Born (1915-05-27) May 27, 1915 (age 103)
New York, New York
Notable worksWinds of War, War and Remembrance, Caine Mutiny, This is My God
Betty Sarah Brown
(m. 1945; died 2011)
ChildrenAbraham Wouk (1946–1951)
Iolanthe Woulff
Joseph Wouk

Herman Wouk (k/; born May 27, 1915) is an American author. His 1951 novel The Caine Mutiny won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. His other works include The Winds of War and War and Remembrance, historical novels about World War II, and non-fiction such as This Is My God, a popular explanation of Judaism from a Modern Orthodox perspective, written for Jewish and non-Jewish audiences. His books have been translated into 27 languages.[1] The Washington Post called Wouk, who cherishes his privacy, "the reclusive dean of American historical novelists."[1] Historians, novelists, publishers, and critics who gathered at the Library of Congress in 1995 to mark Wouk's 80th birthday described him as an American Tolstoy.[2]

Wouk's latest book, which he says will be his last,[3] is a memoir entitled Sailor and Fiddler: Reflections of a 100-Year-Old Author, and it was released in January 2016 to mark his 100th birthday.[4][5] NPR called it "a lovely coda to the career of a man who made American literature a kinder, smarter, better place."[3]

Early life

Wouk was born in the Bronx, the second of three children born to Esther (née Levine) and Abraham Isaac Wouk, Russian Jewish immigrants from what is today Belarus. His father toiled for many years to raise the family out of poverty before opening a successful laundry service.[6]

When Wouk was 13, his maternal grandfather, Mendel Leib Levine, came from Minsk to live with them and took charge of his grandson's Jewish education. Wouk was frustrated by the amount of time he was expected to study the Talmud, but his father told him, "if I were on my deathbed, and I had breath to say one more thing to you, I would say 'Study the Talmud.'" Eventually Wouk took this advice to heart. After a brief period as a young adult during which he lived a secular life, he returned to religious practice.[7] Judaism would become integral to both his personal life and his career.[8] He would later say that his grandfather and the United States Navy were the two most important influences on his life.[9]

After his childhood and adolescence in the Bronx and a high school diploma from the original Townsend Harris High School in Manhattan, he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at the age of 19 from Columbia University in 1934, where he was a member of the Pi Lambda Phi fraternity[10] and served as editor of the university's humor magazine, Columbia Jester, and wrote two of its annual variety shows.[11] Soon thereafter, he became a radio dramatist, working in David Freedman's "Joke Factory" and later with Fred Allen for five years[12] and then, in 1941, for the United States government, writing radio spots to sell war bonds.[13]

Other Languages
تۆرکجه: هرمان ووک
беларуская: Герман Воўк
Чӑвашла: Герман Воук
Deutsch: Herman Wouk
فارسی: هرمان ووک
français: Herman Wouk
한국어: 허먼 워크
Bahasa Indonesia: Herman Wouk
italiano: Herman Wouk
עברית: הרמן ווק
Kiswahili: Herman Wouk
magyar: Herman Wouk
Nederlands: Herman Wouk
Plattdüütsch: Herman Wouk
polski: Herman Wouk
português: Herman Wouk
русский: Воук, Герман
Simple English: Herman Wouk
српски / srpski: Herman Vouk
svenska: Herman Wouk
Türkçe: Herman Wouk
ייִדיש: הערמאן וואק