Famous Quotes & Sayings

Herman Wouk Quotes & Sayings

Enjoy the top 68 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by Herman Wouk.

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Famous Quotes By Herman Wouk

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So I have gone all the way around Robin Hood's barn to arrive at the old platitudes, which I guess is the process of growing up. — Herman Wouk

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Some people think that all the equipment you need to discuss religion is a mouth. — Herman Wouk

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We are in the black theater of nonexistence. In an eye blink the curtain is up, the stage ablaze, for the vast drama of ourselves. — Herman Wouk

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Illusion is an anodyne, bred by the gap between wish and reality. — Herman Wouk

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Write a page a day. It will add up. — Herman Wouk

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Winston Churchill, today an idealized hero of history, was in his time variously considered a bombastic blunderer, an unstable politician, an intermittently inspired orator, a reckless self-dramatizer, a voluminous able writer in an old-fashioned vein, and a warmongering drunkard. Through most of his long life he cut an antic, brilliant, occasionally absurd figure in British affairs. He never won the trust of the people until 1940, when he was sixty-six years old, and — Herman Wouk

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Discount my partiality, but my report is that so far The Winds of War is looking good. — Herman Wouk

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I felt there's a wealth in Jewish tradition, a great inheritance. I'd be a jerk not to take advantage of it. — Herman Wouk

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He had in his Bronx apartment a lodger less learned than himself, and much fiercer in piety. One day when we were studying the laws of repentance together, the lodger burst from his room. "What!" he said. "The atheists guzzles his whiskey and eats pork and wallows with women all his life long, and then repents the day before he dies and stands guiltless? While I spend a lifetime trying to please God?" My grandfather pointed to the book. "So it is written," he said gently. - "Written!" the lodger roared. "There are books and there are books." And he slammed back into his room.
The lodger's outrage seemed highly logical. My grandfather pointed out afterward that cancelling the past does not turn it into a record of achievement. It leaves it blank, a waste of spilled years. A man had better return, he said, while time remains to write a life worth scanning. And since no man knows his death day, the time to get a grip on his life is the first hour when the impulse strikes him. — Herman Wouk

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A war always ends. — Herman Wouk

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A writer is nothing but a gray dirt-covered root. The works he sends up into the sunlight are his fruits, and only those are worthy of attention. — Herman Wouk

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Can't stop a Nazi with a lawbook. — Herman Wouk

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The only true non-conformists are in the asylums; the only radically free spirits are in the death house awaiting the chair. We live by patterns. — Herman Wouk

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Peace, if it ever exists, will not be based on the fear of war, but on the love of peace. It will not be the abstaining from an act, but the coming of a state of mind. — Herman Wouk

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A leader can't dash ahead around the bend out of sight. — Herman Wouk

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How far they came to perish here, these soldiers and these machines! What bizarre train of events brought youngsters from the Rhineland and Prussia, from the Scottish Highlands and London, from Australia and New Zealand, to butt at each other to the death with flame-spitting machinery in faraway Africa, in a setting as dry and lonesome as the moon?

But that is the hallmark of this war. No other war has ever been like it. This war rings the world.... Men fight as far from home as they can be transported, with courage and endurance that makes one proud of the human race, in horrible contrivances that make one ashamed of the human race. — Herman Wouk

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The American people are not cowardly. But, living in prosperous isolation, they have been the spoiled children of modern history. — Herman Wouk

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I regard the writing of humor as a supreme artistic challenge. — Herman Wouk

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The West Indian is not exactly hostile to change, but he is not much inclined to believe in it. This comes from a piece of wisdom that his climate of eternal summer teaches him. It is that, under all the parade of human effort and noise, today is like yesterday, and tomorrow will be like today; that existence is a wheel of recurring patterns from which no one escapes; that all anybody does in this life is live for a while and then die for good, without finding out much; and that therefore the idea is to take things easy and enjoy the passing time under the sun. The white people charging hopefully around the islands these days in the noon glare, making deals, bulldozing airstrips, hammering up hotels, laying out marinas, opening new banks, night clubs, and gift shops, are to him merely a passing plague. They have come before and gone before. — Herman Wouk

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I learned about machinery, I learned how men behaved under pressure, and I learned about Americans. — Herman Wouk

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The President has a quick and able mind, though not everybody gives him that, not by a long shot. — Herman Wouk

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She had learned from her encounter with Mike Eden that there really was more than one man in the world-the piece of knowledge that more than anything else divides women from girls. — Herman Wouk

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War is a business in which a lot of people watch a few people get killed and are damn glad it wasn't them. — Herman Wouk

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Willie experienced the strange sensations of the first days of a new captain: a shrinking of his personal identiy, and a stretching out of his nerve ends to all the spaces and machinery of the ship. He was less free than before. He developed the apprehensive listening ears of a young mother; the ears listened on in his sleep; he never quite slept, not the way he had before. — Herman Wouk

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See, the Germans aren't kidding about the Jews. They're cooking us down to soap over there. They think we're vermin and should be 'sterminated and our corpses turned into something useful. — Herman Wouk

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screws on the cowlings. Only a divine miracle — Herman Wouk

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The girl you marry and the woman you must make a life with are two different people. — Herman Wouk

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the nameless maiden in the advertisement was like a thousand other clothing models he had seen in magazines - arched brows, big eyes, angular cheeks, pouting mouth, a fetching figure, and a haughty, revolted look, as though someone had just offered her a jellyfish to hold. — Herman Wouk

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Some hours weigh against a whole lifetime. — Herman Wouk

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There are good and bad things in all political systems. — Herman Wouk

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Income tax returns are the most imaginative fiction being written today. — Herman Wouk

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It's occurred to me that our human values, our ideas of right and wrong, good and bad, evolved in simpler times, before there were machines. — Herman Wouk

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Talk, not sex, constitutes most of the intercourse between a man and his wife. — Herman Wouk

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In the glare, the great and terrible light of this happening, God seems to signal that the story of the rest of us need not end, and that the new light can prove a troubled dawn.
For the rest of us, perhaps. Not for the dead, not for the more than fifty million real dead in the world's worst catastrophe: victors and vanquished, combatants and civilians, people of so many nations, men, women, and children, all cut down. For them there can be no new earthly dawn. Yet thought their bones like in the darkness of the grave, they will not have died in vain, if their remembrance can lead us from the long, long time of war to the time for peace. — Herman Wouk

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Human life cannot be formless. We live by patterns. We move in comradeships. Conformity is evil when it distorts, flattens, and erases fruitful ways, strong ideas, natural identities; it is evil when it is a steamroller. But a man cannot escape being part of a milieu - and a recognizable part - unless he flees naked to a cave, never to return. The sensible thing is to use hard thinking to find the right way to live and then to live that way. What matters is living with dignity, with decency, and without fear. — Herman Wouk

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Steamy day, and though the windows of the oval study were open, the room was oppressively hot. You know Captain Henry, of course, Admiral? His boy's just gotten his wings at Pensacola. — Herman Wouk

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Money is a very pleasant thing, Willie, and I think you can trade almost anything for it wisely except the work you really want to do. If you sell out your time for a comfortable life, and give up your natural work, I think you lose the exchange. There remains an inner uneasiness that spoils the comforts. — Herman Wouk

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Life is a dream, a little more coherent than most. — Herman Wouk

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This life is slow suicide, unless you read. — Herman Wouk

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Judaism has always been a strong interest of mine. My two sons speak Hebrew and are familiar with the scriptures and with rabbinic literature. This is the way we live. — Herman Wouk

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The Talmud is to this day the circulating heart's blood of the Jewish religion. Whatever laws, customs or ceremonies we observe-whether we are orthodox, conservative, reform or merely spasmodic sentimentalists-we follow the Talmud. It is our common Law. — Herman Wouk

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All the prophecy of Israel turns on one simple but extremely effective idea: namely that all Israel, living and dead, from Sinai to the present hour, stands in its relation to God as a single immortal individual. — Herman Wouk

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The only imaginative fiction being written today is income tax returns. — Herman Wouk

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face grew longer and grimmer as Berel — Herman Wouk

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This is an excellent martini - sort of tastes like it isn't there at all, just a cold cloud. — Herman Wouk

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assailing her. Were they doing the — Herman Wouk

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This game still had its old ritual fascination for Pug; he was following it tensely, smoking a cigar. Once his nostalgia had been keen for the tough youthful combat on the grass, the slamming of bodies, the tricky well-drilled plays, above all for the rare moments of breaking free and sprinting down the field, dodging one man and another with the stands around him a roaring sea of voices. Nothing in his life had since been quite like it. But long ago that nostalgia had departed; those grooves of memory had worn out. To think that lads much younger than his own two sons were out on that chilly field in Philadelphia now, made Victor Henry feel that he had led a very long, multilayered existence, and was now almost a living mummy. Pug! — Herman Wouk

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Strange, isn't it, that warfare has come down to fencing with complicated toys that only a few seedy scholars can make or understand. — Herman Wouk

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By keeping back the twenty-five squadrons from the lost Battle of France, he acted toughly, wisely, and ungallantly; and he turned the war to the course that ended five long years later, when Hitler killed himself and Nazi Germany fell apart. This deed put Winston Churchill in the company of the rare saviors of countries, and perhaps of civilizations. — Herman Wouk

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Remember the good hours when the words are flowing well. And never mind the bad hours; there is no life without them. — Herman Wouk

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About the nicest thing God ever invented was alcohol. He's proud of it, too. The Bible's full of kind remarks about booze. — Herman Wouk

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Sex takes up a very small part of the day, anyway." "It makes the rest of the day worth living." "You — Herman Wouk

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The Navy is a master plan designed by geniuses for execution by idiots. If you are not an idiot, but find yourself in the Navy, you can only operate well by pretending to be one. All the shortcuts and economies and common-sense changes that your native intelligence suggests to you are mistakes. Learn to quash them. Constantly ask yourself, "How would I do this if I were a fool?" Throttle down your mind to a crawl. Then you will never go wrong. — Herman Wouk

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Look at us. We build giant highways and murderously fast cars for killing each other and committing suicide. Instead of bomb shelters we construct gigantic frail glass buildings all over Manhattan at Ground Zero, a thousand feet high, open to the sky, life a woman undressing before an intruder and provoking him to rape her. We ring Russia's borders with missile-launching pads, and then scream that she's threatening us. In all history there's never been a more lurid mass example of the sadist-masochist expression of the thanatos instinct than the present conduct of the United States. The Nazis by comparison were Eagle Scouts. — Herman Wouk

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Remember this, if you can
there is nothing, nothing more precious than time. You probably feel you have a measureless supply of it, but you haven't. Wasted hours destroy your life just as surely at the beginning as at the end
only in the end it becomes more obvious. — Herman Wouk

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You can't assume a goddamned thing in this Navy. — Herman Wouk

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Let us fill a cup and drink to that most noble, ridiculous, laughable, sublime figure in our lives ... The Young Man Who Was. Let us drink to his dreams, for they were rainbow-colored; to his appetites, for they were strong; to his blunders, for they were huge; to his pains for they were sharp; to his time for it was brief; and to his end, for it was to become one of us. — Herman Wouk

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The films of The Caine Mutiny and Marjorie Morningstar always seemed to me mere thin skims of the story lines, and I never did see a meager Hollywood caper called Youngblood Hawke, vaguely based on my 800-page novel. So it was that I opted for television, with its much broader time limits, for The Winds of War. — Herman Wouk

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He was just head over ears in love, with a young woman as near as his hand and as remote as a star, and for the moment it was enough to be where she was. — Herman Wouk

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The Talmud: Heart's Blood of the Jewish Faith ... — Herman Wouk

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With the smoke of the dead sailor's cigar wreathing around him, Willie passed to thinking about death and life and luck and God. Philosophers are at home with such thoughts, perhaps, but for other people it is actual torture when these concepts--not the words, the realities--break through the crust of daily occurrences and grip the soul. A half hour of such racking meditation can change the ways of a lifetime. — Herman Wouk

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Every hour spent on the Caine was a great hour in all our lives-if you don't think so now you will later on, more and more. — Herman Wouk

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Religious people tend to encounter, among those who are not, a cemented certainty that belief in God is a crutch for the weak and the fearful ... Now the belief in God may turn out at the last trump to be a mistake. Meantime, let us be quite clear, it is not merely the comfort of the simple
though it is that too, much to its glory
it is a formidable intellectual position with which most of the first-class minds of the human race, century in and century out, have concurred, each in his own way ... speaking of crutches
Freud can be a crutch, Marx can be a crutch, rationalism can be a crutch, and atheism can be two canes and a pair of iron braces. We none of us have all the answers, nor are we likely to have. But in the country of the halt, the man who is surest he has no limp may be the worst-crippled. — Herman Wouk

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I try to write a certain amount each day, five days a week. A rule sometimes broken is better than no rule. — Herman Wouk

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The door available to everyone that can lead to happiness & success is the modest door of the public library. I found it to be so in my own life and work. — Herman Wouk

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I think it's a bit like coming to the end of a book. The plot's in its thickest, all the characters are in a mess, but you can see that there aren't fifty pages left, and you know that the finish can't be far off. — Herman Wouk

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No adult is without problems except a happy imbecile. — Herman Wouk

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Gliding across an imaginary line that splits the Pacific Ocean from the north to the south polar caps, the sunrise acquired a new label, June 23. Behind that line, June 22 had just dawned. This murky international convention, amid world chaos, still stood. For the globe still turned as always in the light of the sun, ninety million miles away in black space, and the tiny dwellers on the globe still had to agree, as they went about their mutual butcheries, on a way to tell the time. — Herman Wouk