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THE CAINE MUTINY by Herman Wouk Kirkus Star


A Novel

by Herman Wouk

Pub Date: March 21st, 1951
ISBN: 0316955108
Publisher: Doubleday

This has the sombre and dramatic values of Mister Roberts. It has the underlying sense of values of Tales of the South Pacific. It lacks the quick "gag" play, but the situations, even when tragic, are brightened by humor. The story of the Caine has probably been drawn from many dramas of the Pacific, dramas in which the Captain, a martinet, is the villain and the victim of his frustrations and his sadism. Here is World War II's Mutiny on the Bounty. Queeg is a modern Captain Bligh without his abilities, his seamanship, his ideals. The Caine is an almost derelict minesweeper, and as the story develops, you know her full complement of officers and men, with Ensign (later Lieutenant) Willie Keith a central figure. The plot, with all the ramifications of routine, shore leave, home entanglements, builds up to the moment when Maryk, laboriously self-tutored, takes over the command and Queeg is confuted. The last part of the book, the Court Martial and its aftermath, seems slightly anticlimactic, but all in all this stands out as perhaps the most important novel of the war in the Pacific.