Thursday, July 9, 2009

Friday Forgotten Books: M*A*S*H

In M*A*S*H you have the arc of Forgotten to Highly Celebrated Cultural Sign Post, and in the reverse order that you normally find them-- That is to say;
TV Series: Easily one of the top 25 series of all time, and if not the #1 of it's era in the top 5. Both critically and generally well rrguarded and thought of, it will likely never go off the air in re-runs.

The Film: Only slightly less remembered than the TV show, still it's a classic of the era, it's the film that has been cited as one of the funniest of all time. In 1996, it was deemed "culturally significant" by the Library of Congress and added to the National Film Registry. It really put Director Robert Altman on the map, and it is well worth checking out if you have not had the chance to see it.

The Book: this is where we are going to talk about the forgotten part, most people don't even know that that was book that the whole M*A*S*H empire was based on, let alone have read the book.

Written by former Korean War MASH Surgeon Richard Hooker, the book like the show and the film follows the antics of Captains Duke Forrest and Hawkeye Pierce as they arrive for their tour of duty in the 4077 MASH unit. The play poker, chase nurses, gamble, play golf, drink and work while around them the chaos of war flares-- in other words it is the MASH that most of you know, only this is the source. I read the book a couple of years ago, and enjoyed it a lot. It's funny, touching, human, absurd and has enough of that 'getting the job done despite the BS structure of the organization around them' snark to keep modern readers entertained. Thoughts, comments, favorite M*A*S*H episodes?


James Reasoner said...

I liked the book quite a bit. It was successful enough to spawn a number of sequels co-written by Hooker and Bill Butterworth, a.k.a. W.E.B. Griffin. I haven't read those. It's likely Butterworth write them alone, with Hooker getting co-author credit because he created the series, but I certainly don't know that for a fact.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Nice to meet you. Let's do it again.
And thanks for the goodies.

Iren said...

James: I've read about follow up books but haven't run across any of them. I read about the W.E.B. Griffin connection-- I have to admit that I have seen his stuff around but never read any of them. When I was a teen I read all those John Jakes bricks and have mostly stayed away from books of that girth since.

Patti: I was nice to put a face with the typing and to meet people. I had a good time thank you again for the invite. Enjoy the goodies.

James Reasoner said...

I've read maybe half of the W.E.B. Griffin books and enjoyed most of them, although I tend to stay away from longer books these days, too. The Bicentennial series by Jakes was a big influence on my work when I was doing a lot of books for the same company that packaged the Jakes series.

Iren said...

James: The Kent Family books were good for what they were, a sprawling, epic series that gave a kind of overview of that first century of the USA. I've always wondered what a second series about the second hundred years would look like. Any recommendations on a entry point to the W.E.B. books?

James Reasoner said...

My favorite Griffin novels are the first five or six books in the Corps series, about the Marine Corps in World War II.