This article seeks to reinvigorate critical discussion of Herman Wouk by focusing on his two massive war novels, The Winds of War (1971) and War and Remembrance (1978). Although well known in his lifetime, Wouk has received only limited academic exposition. His memory is bifurcated between a popular readership that continues to turn to Wouk for entertainment and instruction, and his reception in academic reviews, which is primarily critical, and sometimes hostile. Missing is an account of the methods Wouk used to fuse history and fiction, as well as an exploration of how Wouk’s novels expressed his values. Addressing this gap, this article explores (1) the difference between the image of Wouk and the record of his writing; (2) his adoption of a stance based on biblical prophetic ideals, done to expose a “Thucydidean” political world; and (3) the seriousness of his commitment to using war novels in the service of future peace. Wouk earned an important place in American Holocaust literature. His duology also provides Jewish American letters of an interesting example of the reconceptualization of tropes of Victorian fiction as a means of confronting the contemporary world’s grimmest realities. He deserves a second look.

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