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Herman Wouk, 1915-2019

One of my all-time favorite authors–Herman Wouk–passed away on May 17, 2019, at the age of 103. Mr. Wouk was known primarily for three epic historical novels: THE CAINE MUTINY, THE WINDS OF WAR, and WAR AND REMEMBRANCE. In these books, he blended the history of World War II with a narrative power of fiction. Although I wouldn’t dare to compare my meager writing to his, Wouk has served as a role model for me. He was a meticulous researcher who fact-checked every piece of history that dominated his works. He had an uncommon understanding and empathy for human behavior under the stress of war and other events. When one reviewer of my first book, PRAGUE: MY LONG JOURNEY HOME, wrote that I “told a great story,” but that my “writing style lacked literary quality,” I was not upset because I felt that I was in great company. Many critics panned Herman Wouk’s work in much the same way, claiming that he “broke no ground in writing style or character development.” Critics be damned, his novels, plays, and nonfiction books were read–and loved–by millions of readers. I have not yet read the memoir he published in 2016, SAILOR AND FIDDLER: REFLECTIONS OF A 100-YEAR-OLD AUTHOR. I am anxious to make up for that error very soon, and to learn more from one of the great storytellers of our time.

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