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Pulitzer Book Club Inclusion Guide


"The Caine Mutiny" by Herman Wouk



• Ellison’s “Invisible Man” reveals how it feels to be a Black man people refuse to see
• Social Security Act provides funds for social service programs for older persons



Herman Wouk enlisted in the Navy after Pearl Harbor and served as an officer in the Pacific aboard two minesweepers, the USS Zane and the USS Southard. Said Wouk, "I learned about machinery, I learned how men behaved under pressure, and I learned about Americans."


Featured Reader Wanted!

Featured Reader

– Share your key take-away about inclusion in this book in a sentence or two.
– Write a paragraph or two (up to 250 words) to describe your thoughts on exclusion/inclusion in the book, why you related or did not connect with the book, and why you think reading, inclusion and dialog about inclusion matter.
– Identify the name and website address of a cause you support with an inclusive mission.


Captain Queeg steers his crew toward disaster and court-martial


Ship’s towline is cut because Captain Queeg is too busy dressing down a sailor with a sloppy shirttail.


“The Caine Mutiny” inspired the crafting of the Constitution’s 25th Amendment which outlines how a sitting president can be removed from office. Lawyers and lawmakers who wrote the 25th in the aftermath JFK’s assassination wanted to avoid “The Caine Mutiny” Article 184 issues.


Max page-turning speed throughout the 560 pages or 26.5 hour cruise


Reflect. Do you really understand the person, their situation, and the ramifications of your intended action?


Class-centric boundaries: Mayflower WASP family versus Italians, Catholics, Jews who are not marriage or neighbor material. Judgement based on education/perceived intelligence/sophistication. Value of different types of IQ and examination of competence versus rank. Women are wives or seduced if from a lower class. Black characters are mess crew.


Enjoy the meal Willie couldn’t: oysters, onion soup, double sirloin, soufflé potatoes, and rich, brown, trembling Bavarian cream all served on the best china. Then decide a quart of strawberries is missing and raise major hell.


“Mr. Maryk, you may tell the crew for me that there are four ways of doing things aboard my ship: The right way, the wrong way, the Navy way, and my way. They do things my way, and we'll get along.”


Meet on the deck of a tightly-run ship with a palm tree or we’ll see you in court. Be an inspiring leader: give everyone a pair of symbolic small steel balls to fiddle.


What unites the men on The Caine?
Discuss justice and injustice among civilians in the novel, aboard The Caine and at the trial.
What’s the difference between how education, rank and intelligence determine perception and acceptance?
Describe the “How-would-I-do-this-if-I-were-a-fool” strategy.
Who is qualified to judge compliance, competence, incompetence and insanity?
Why do people mock idiosyncrasies? Pick on a scapegoat?
Who is the enemy in this WWII novel?
How does Willie Keith mature during the novel? How does Willie treat women?
How are women and Jewish people portrayed in the novel?
What considerations influence views on war and preferences for duty assignments?
Why is Willie closer to his midshipman classmates on day one than he is to his family?
Compare the management styles, effectiveness, and skills of De Vriess and Queeg.


The USS Hazard, decommissioned in 1946, is the only surviving Admirable class minesweeper in the U.S. The Hazard is berthed in Freedom Park in the Omaha Marina in Nebraska. National Museum of the U.S. Navy, home to JAG/ U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps, is in the Washington Navy Yard in D.C. The San Francisco Naval Shipyard at Hunter’s Point waterfront is officially closed, which is a good thing given the toxic waste that’s been accumulating there for decades.


“The Caine Mutiny” (1954 film, 1955 TV version of Wouk’s Broadway play); “The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial” (1988). Binge a few JAG episodes (1995 -2005) for another taste of military legal defenders.


The Winds of War” (1971), “War and Remembrance” (1978), “Sailor and Fiddler: Reflections of a 100-Year-old Author” (2016 memoir). “The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial” opened on Broadway in 1954. Alas, “Multitudes, Multitudes” by Thomas Keefer not available on Amazon.

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