Herman Wouk, Pulitzer-Winning Historical Fiction Writer, Dies at 103

Herman Wouk, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of historical fiction novels like The Caine Mutiny, died Friday at the age of 103. Wouk’s literary agent confirmed the author’s death in Palm Springs, Calif., to The Washington Post, though she did not elaborate on his cause of death. Wouk’s works featured personal conflicts during historical events like World War II and the Holocaust. His 1951 Pulitzer-winning book The Caine Mutiny centered around a power struggle on a destroyer minesweeper. Before he was a novelist, Wouk worked as a “gag writer” and was a staffer for popular radio comedian Fred Allen. Wouk then joined the Navy in WWII, where he reportedly said his “New York wise guy” shell “cracked and fell off.” “The shallow conceit of a successful gag man faded away,” he said. “When I came back, there no longer was a question of a gag writing. I wanted to write novels.” Wouk’s writings are also known for their “meticulous” research, though he admitted that fiction writers often have to “discard 90 percent of the history in order to tell the story.”