Book reviews from pby5dumbo

Georgia, United States

Number of reviews
2
Average review
pby5dumbo’s average rating is 5 of 5 Stars.
On Oct 5 2010, Pby5dumbo said:
pby5dumbo rated this book 5 of 5 Stars.
Forget about the movie, except that as far as it goes, the characterizations, casting and motivations of players are fairly faithful to the story. In print, The Caine Mutiny is the story of the coming of age of Willie Keith, who barely figures in the movie at all. The Pulitzer-winning novel of 1952 is nothing less than the best fiction ever about the U.S. Navy and the best novel of World War II. By any reckoning, it's Herman Wouk's best work.Life aboard the Caine is mostly tedious and uncomfortable, as the little destroyer-minesweeper escorts convoys through hot expanses of ocean to featureless, desolate destinations. The citizen-sailors of the wardroom exhibit commendable conscience and care for the crew as they develop into seasoned watchstanders. The coffee is hot and strong, the food entirely unremarkable. They receive and decode Navy message traffic, written in realistic Navy telegraphese. (I had to look up the word cognizant when I first read this book, in the eighth grade.) Willie Keith's abiding memory of this time is being awakened routinely in the middle of the night. Meanwhile, the Caine's operational record builds a case for the captain's incompetence and unfitness to command. The typhoon that precipitates the actual mutiny is hisotrical, and the Navy did lose ships in it. The reader will come out the far end of the episode with no doubt that Steve Maryk saved the ship and the captain was not in control of himself, much less the ship, at the peak of the storm.Maryk, a C student from a state college and career fisherman, grapples with the arcane concepts of psychology without the professional tools to evaluate them, egged on by the novelist Tom Keefer, who turns out to be the real villain of this story. Be sure to take note of Keefer's performance as commander of the Caine. Meanwhile, Willie's scorching romance with Mae Wynn, whom any reader can see is intended to be his mate for life, works its way through stormy waters, mostly of Willie's making. It's been adequate to hold the attention of women readers for three generations, in the otherwise entirely masculine contexts of this novel.Wouk's portrayal of the Navy and the Caine are dead on target. His characters are fully developed; it would be impossible for a reader not to care for them. The narrative workmanship in characterization, setting and action is economic, precise, and well paced. This is not just a Navy story, it is a great contribution to the entire body of American literature. I re-read it often.
On Oct 4 2010, Pby5dumbo said:
pby5dumbo rated this book 5 of 5 Stars.
Reportedly they have cadets at West Point read Once an Eagle. Midshipmen should read The Captain. This novel loitered on the NYT bestseller list for about four years when I was a teenager. The story is set in the North Atlantic as a young Dutch tugboat captain learns his craft and how to shoulder the burden of command in the face of the U-boats and the horrific weather. In this first-person yarn, the captain charms us with his candor and vulnerability. We taste the food, make allowances for the idiosyncrasies of the small and close-knit crew, stand watches, haul torpedo victims out of the water, assert our national autonomy against the British convoy leaders... We feel the rage when a novice captain exposes us to death by bad rescue procedure. The narrative is constantly captivating. I re-read this book every two years or more often.