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Sailor and Fiddler

Reflections of a 100-Year-Old Author

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


In an unprecedented literary accomplishment, Herman Wouk, one of America’s most beloved and enduring authors, reflects on his life and times from the remarkable vantage point of 100 years old.

Many years ago, the great British philosopher Sir Isaiah Berlin urged Herman Wouk to write his autobiography. Wouk responded, “Why me? I’m nobody.” Berlin answered, “No, no. You’ve traveled. You’ve known many people. You have interesting ideas. It would do a lot of good.”

Now, in the same year he has celebrated his hundredth birthday, Herman Wouk finally reflects on the life experiences that inspired his most beloved novels. Among those experiences are his days writing for comedian Fred Allen’s radio show, one of the most popular shows in the history of the medium; enlisting in the US Navy during World War II; falling in love with Betty Sarah Brown, the woman who would become his wife (and literary agent) for sixty-six years; writing his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Caine Mutiny; as well as a big hit Broadway play The Caine Mutiny Court Martial; and the surprising inspirations and people behind such masterpieces as The Winds of War, War and Remembrance, Marjorie Morningstar, and Youngblood Hawke.

Written with the wisdom of a man who has lived through two centuries and the wit of someone who began his career as professional comedy writer, the first part of Wouk’s memoir (“Sailor”) refers to his Navy experience and writing career, the second (“Fiddler”) to what he’s learned from living a life of faith. Ultimately, Sailor and Fiddler is an unprecedented reflection from a vantage point few people have lived to experience.

From Publishers Weekly

Feb 01, 2016 – At 100 years old, bestselling novelist Wouk remains a thriving, vital writer. In this slim memoir, what comes through is the sense of purpose and faith that has animated his writing, and in particular, his great historical novels, The Winds of War and War and Remembrance. He describes the creation of these testaments to WWII and the Holocaust as his "main task" in life. But this journey down memory lane is hardly somber serious subjects are typically leavened by Wouk's keen sense of humor. (He credits Mark Twain's sense of "warm laughing life" with inspiring him to be a writer.) The narrative is episodic, but even this loosely organized book reveals the hand of a master storyteller. It emphasizes two aspects of Wouk's identity: "the sailor" (a reference to his WWII Navy service), a dedicated professional, and "the fiddler" (a nod to the musical), a Jewish man of faith. Wouk ends with the tantalizing thought of his diary one day being published by his sons; it contains, he says "the whole Herman Wouk story." For now, it is enough to have this small love letter to his readers, whom he thanks "for the chance to please... through my books." Indeed he has, and, to our great good fortune, continues to do so.
Sailor and Fiddler
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  • $10.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: Jan 05, 2016
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Print Length: 160 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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