Book Review: The Caine Mutiny (Wouk)

Alright readers, sit your butts down because today we’re reviewing Herman Wouk’s The Caine Mutiny. Spoilers (maybe?) ahead!

Have I read this before: Many times! This is my favorite book, y’all.

Review: Dude. Dude. I love this book. I love Captain Queeg. I’m pretty sure he’s my favorite literary character, apart from maaaaaaaaybe Jay Gatsby. I like the other characters in this book too, especially Maryk. While the plot may take a bit to start up (i.e., the first several chapters are a bit slow), I think the rather gradual introduction of the characters and the situation and Willie himself really help to amplify Queeg’s apparent craziness up to during the eventual mutiny. It also helped to show, once the trial for Maryk was underway, how the men who were against Queeg very quickly felt the ridiculousness of their claims of Queeg’s insanity were once they were all out of danger. The timing and tenseness of the book were really well done, in other words.


Favorite part: The whole thing. But specifically:

  • Willie not knowing any of the terminology/slang when he first got on the Caine.
    “‘Sir, it was my fault,’ spoke up the boatswain’s mate. He began an alibi which sounded to Willie like this: ‘The port bandersnatch got fouled in the starboard rath when we tried to galumph the cutting cable so as not to trip the snozzle again. I had to unshackle the doppleganger and bend on two snarks instead so we could launch in a hurry.’”
  • Queeg obsessing about all the wrong things at all the wrong times.
  • The way the crew, once they were sick of Queeg, decided to basically make it look like they were responding to his requests/demands when in reality they were being ignored everywhere the captain wasn’t.
    “The crew with its vast cunning had already charted most of the habits and pathways of the captain. He was moving now in a curious little circle of compliance that followed him like a spotlight, extending to the range of his eyes and ears; beyond that, the Caine remained the old Caine.”
  • The speech/rant Greenwald gives Keefer and Maryk near the end. It gives the lawyer (Greenwald) a lot of depth in very few pages. I like it.

Rating: 10/10


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