Thursday, August 4, 2016

the caine mutiny by herman wouk

queeg playing with his balls while testifying in the trial
i read the caine mutiny by herman wouk over my vacation last week.

good book - held my interest the entire time.  i don't know if the experience of willie keith or any of the other characters, was typical of the wwii sailor or not.  the book was quite popular when it came out in 1951, just a few years after the war ended.  shortly after the book came out, it was made into a movie with humphrey bogart.  with this in mind, it must have hit a collective nerve with the nation.

the movie has a 92% freshness along with an 87% liked rating.  i watched the movie from amazon after i finished the book.  similarly to the book, the movie held my attention, but i don't think bogart did a great job of portraying queeg.

the plot does a pretty good job of making the reader guess what is going to happen.  i could feel the 'set-up' when keith didn't like captain de vries (the first captain of the caine).  so it wasn't too surprising when keith seemingly wished de vries was the captain instead of queeg.  naturally, i felt that queeg was crazy - not clinically, but rather he was just a crazy captain in the sense that he was incompetent.  i would imagine that many people have seen other people similar to queeg.  queeg was "never wrong" and made any excuse possible to demonstrate he was right.

i was cheering when mayrk finally commandeered the caine and relieved queeg.  i felt confident mayrk would be acquitted ... until greenwald explained the nature of the situation.  the trial was the best part of the book.  i often wondered if "a few good men" received its inspiration from the caine mutiny.

the most shocking part of the book was when greenwald excoriated keefe.  i didn't see that coming.  i imagine that was put into the book to satisfy military meat-heads.  from a civilian perspective, mayrk did what any normal person would do.  but from a military perspective, respect for command is supreme.

after the trial, the book seemed to drag on too long.  the wrap up of the keith - may wynn relationship was kind of dumb.  they don't even get together at the end of the book.  in the movie, they seem end up together.

one other note - keith's dad was not in the movie.  but in the book, he seemed to play a quasi big role in persuading keith to stick it out with may wynn.  i particularly liked the letter his father wrote to him.

in summary - good book!  i'd give it 7 out of 10.

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