"If [the artist] understands his responsibility and acts on it–taking the art seriously always, himself never quite–he can make a contribution equal to, if different from, that of the scientist, the politician, and the jurist."
Herman Wouk (1915- )
Hailed for writing compelling, richly detailed novels, Herman Wouk is best known for his fictional accounts of World War II, including The Caine Mutiny, The Winds of War, and War and Remembrance. Wouk—pronounced woke—was a radio-comedy writer until he joined the U.S. Navy in 1942. He went on to serve aboard two destroyer-minesweepers in the Pacific theater, experience that he drew on in writing The Caine Mutiny (1951). The best-selling novel attracted widespread praise from critics and ultimately the Pulitzer Prize; it was adapted for the stage and made into a movie starring Humphrey Bogart. The sweeping Winds of War (1971) and its sequel, War and Remembrance (1978), would reach an even wider audience when they were adapted as television miniseries in the 1980s. Among Wouk's other novels and plays was the popular Marjorie Morningstar (1955), which told the story of a young Jewish woman: "I felt there's a wealth in Jewish tradition, a great inheritance," he told Time in 1955. "I'd be a jerk not to take advantage of it." Wouk had come to re-embrace his own Orthodox Judaism, and went on to write two reflections on Jewish life, This Is My God (1959) and The Will to Live On (2000). In April 2004, at the age of 88, Wouk published his latest novel, A Hole in Texas.