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Summary

Arthur Youngblood Hawke, an ex-Navy man moves from rural Kentucky to New York to assault the citadel of New York publishing with his first novel, an oversized manuscript that becomes an instant success. Toasted by critics and swept along on a tide of popularity, he gives himself over to the lush life that gilds artistic success. Love comes with an affair with an older married woman and an unfulfilled flame with his editor, while wealth pours in with the publication of his second novel, and participation in real-estate developments. Yet the gilt of the New York high life can only last so long, before it wears off, sending Arthur into a downward, self-destructive spiral.   

Inspired by the life of Thomas Wolfe, Herman Wouk has captured a poignant tale of success and downfall.

©1962, 1990 Herman Wouk (P)2018 Audible, Inc.

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Astonishingly good

I have always liked this authors work. I thought I had read his best books already; but I was mistaken. This really is exceptionally good.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Arken
  • 24-10-18

More than a good yarn

I'm not sure there are many books like "Youngblood Hawke" being written anymore. While clearly a sort of melodramatic, best-seller-ish potboiler, it is also very literate, artfully constructed, deeply researched, and smart. I wish there were more books like it I usually don't like novels about novelists - it seems like a cheap trick usually, a way to avoid thinking up plots and characters by substituting autobiographical musings for fiction. But that isn't all what is happening here. Like all of Wouk's novels, the successes and failures of the characters turn on which deliberate choices they have made. The good, ultimately happy characters are the plodders who go along behaving well; the tragic or inept characters are the ones who make bad choices which expose their weaknesses. That sounds trite and moralistic, and sometimes it is. But usually it is, in a Wouk book, part of a detailed and consistent universe. He may espouse conservative values, but they are not the phony and hypocritical values of the brain-dead right of modern times. Youngblood Hawke is (apparently) a greater writer than Herman Wouk. He is on his way to becoming a genius if he could only stop undermining himself. The travails of a Kentucky mountain boy trying to make it in post-WWII New York is a plenty good setting for an interesting book, but this work is an education into all kinds of details about that world - investing, the movie business, how the rich and powerful behave, what they eat, what they value. I have loved being in that world. I've been waiting a long time for this to show up as an audio book, and I haven't been disappointed. The reader was very good - the characterizations and accents were all handled with aplomb. I highly recommend this entertaining and well-written work.

22 people found this helpful

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  • Rose Marie Holt
  • 10-12-19

It's a Hernan Wouk

A long narrative with a lot of interacting characters &'action in the world of writing publishing in the mid 20 th century. Follows a talented writer through his career. String characters & plot, engaging writing, like all Wouk. Kudos to Nick Sullivan for vocal stylings.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Brian
  • 05-06-19

Classic

Fantastic story with an even better narrator. Mr. Sullivan does a marvelous job with the narration!!! Strongly recommend!!

2 people found this helpful

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  • J. Kronen
  • 26-02-21

Powerful epic about a great author

Amazing performance by a talented narrator. Humorous, tragic and everything in between. Terrific big read.

1 person found this helpful

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  • jobhouse
  • 06-12-20

Excellent book

Well worth the time. I loved every minute of it. I felt as though I knew everyone of the characters. I found myself looking for times to steal away so I could listen without interruption. My heart would break for him and found myself cheering him on. Loved loved loved this book!!!

1 person found this helpful

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  • skiefferteacher
  • 28-11-20

Fantastic Narrator and Story

I won’t say much about the story because Wouk is a writer beyond anything I can say, but I will take a moment to praise the narrator. It is phenomenal how he can give each character such an individualized and distinguishable voice. It made the story such a great listen. A wonderful combination of talents. I hated for it to end.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Matthew goodell
  • 06-07-20

A Grand Character Study

I am a big fan of Herman Wouk and am so impressed at how his stories can capture my attention so thoroughly. a very detailed look at the dramatic career of a young novelist; it doesn't sound very interesting but is in fact a greatly entertaining story.

Also the narrator was excellent in every metric of how I interpret narration.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Douglas Hurstell
  • 16-06-20

Wow !

takes only a few chapters to get going and then the author owns you for hours and hours.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 04-12-19

Top favorite

I wish there was a series to keep me entertained for longer.

Loved this book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • L. Wroten
  • 17-10-19

First rate in every respect

Superb narrator...rich, vivid characters...smart dialogue...and a page-turner of a story, all set against the shimmering backdrop of mid-century Manhattan. Reading this would have been pleasure enough, but Nick Sullivan’s tour de force performance took it over the top, as he seamlessly transitioned from hardscrabble Kentucky coal folk to society grand dames to the sharp-tongued wags of the New York literary world. His turn as old Mrs. Hawke had me laughing out loud, it was such a delight. Highly recommended.

1 person found this helpful