We Need More Herman Wouks...

Courtesy Goodreads

The Winds of War and War and Remembrance are possibly the best historical novels ever written.

Courtesy Goodreads
For too long now, society has been avoiding reality in favour of pure escapism with fantasy tales of dragon and elf lore and otherworldly sci fi. There is nothing wrong with literary escapism, to a degree, but avoiding real world cultural works can be a short-sighted pastime.

Courtesy The Daily Suse
Herman Wouk, a WWII Navy veteran and incredible wordsmith, opens an expansive window into that global conflict but also offers the reader a front row seat into the very intimate and private lives of the fictional Henry family — a penultimate history lesson with a very human touch.

The books came out in ’71 and ’78 respectively and became a huge TV series success in the ’80s. And I think it’s time we look back, re-read and remember once more. Mistakes were made back then, large and small, domestic and foreign, and if we don’t take the measure of them and use them as a guiding light into today’s perilous issues, all who fought and died long ago did so for nothing.

Authors, James A. Michener and James Jones also spring to mind, but truly no scribe from that era holds a candle to Wouk who so beautifully wove the horror and the majesty and the human experience of those tumultuous years. Herman’s dual works serves as lessons from the past that surely ring resonant with our present day.

A failing economy, extremism, hatred, fear and tribalism — the insanity which sparked WWII — is surely at work in today’s Islamic countries, in the dictatorship in North Korea, and sadly to say, in America’s present Administration. We can bury our heads in the sand with literary escapism to avoid these global pariahs… but it will be at our peril.

Herman’s novels are worth reading again.
Herman’s messages are worth heeding again.

Herman Wouk painted pictures that allowed us to heal and hold fast to the Never Again belief. Yet, in all our escapism today, the Never Again motto has been forgotten in favour of remaining blind to the horrible mistakes we made in our past. To be Trump’s “Great Again” requires us to ignore past racism and fear and hatred when it is truly time to remember.

The Winds of War and War and Remembrance hold messages we can and will take to our graves…or should, of how ignorance isn’t always bliss and how narrow-minded belief systems can actually become fatal.

If the world would stop burying its head in the sand in superficial and otherworldly tales for just a moment and face reality by reading more literary takes on the real world, our insight would glean better solutions for our present and future dilemmas.

One first has to acknowledge difficulties before one can find fixes to those difficulties. You cannot nor will not glean said in airy-fairy tales.
Courtesy CBS News

It’s time the world woke up. It’s time to drop the imaginary swords and snuff out the fires of the imaginary dragons.

It’s time for more Herman Wouks. At age 102 and still writing, I believe that wonderful man would concur.

Historical novels. Real world lessons woven with exceptional artistry. Let us appreciate what is real, again.