February 22, 2020

Herman Wouk, Pulitzer-Prize Author, Dies at 103

Herman Wouk; Photo by Patrick Ecclesine

Herman Wouk, Pulitzer-prize winning author known for “The Winds of War” and “Marjorie Morningstar” died May 17. He was 103.

According to NPR, Wouk died in his sleep in his home in Palm Springs.

Wouk was one of the major writers to write about World War II and the first to bring Jewish stories to a general audience. He won the Pulitzer in 1952 for his navy drama “The Caine Mutiny”

His work has been adapted for film and television. He also worked with Jimmy Buffett to adapt his 1965 novel “Don’t Stop the Carnival” into a stage play.

Wouk’s Jewish identity remained strong throughout his career. “Marjorie Morningstar” became one of the first million-selling books about the Jewish experience. He also set his novels “The Hope” and “The Glory” in Israel. In 1959 he published “This Is My God” which outlines key practices of Judaism. In 1999 he was awarded the Lifetime Literary Achievement Award by the Jewish Book Council.

Jonathan Karp, president and publisher of Simon & Schuster told NPR that Wouk “really was the Jackie Robinson of Jewish American fiction.”

Karp, who also edited Wouk’s last memoir “Sailor and Fiddler” added that Wouk “was on the cover of Time magazine for “Marjorie Morningstar,” and he popularized a lot of themes that other writers like [Saul] Bellow and [Philip] Roth and [Bernard] Malamud, would deal with in their novels.”

Many went to Twitter to mourn the loss of the iconic World War II writer who would have turned 104 on May 27.