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MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors | [Richard Hooker]

MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors

Before the movie, this is the novel that gave life to Hawkeye Pierce, Trapper John, Hot Lips Houlihan, Frank Burns, Radar O'Reilly, and the rest of the gang that made the 4077th MASH like no other place in Korea or on earth. The doctors who worked in the Mobile Army Surgical Hospitals (MASH) during the Korean War were well trained but, like most soldiers sent to fight a war, too young for the job. In the words of the author, "a few flipped their lids, but most of them just raised hell, in a variety of ways and degrees."
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Publisher's Summary

Before the movie, this is the novel that gave life to Hawkeye Pierce, Trapper John, Hot Lips Houlihan, Frank Burns, Radar O'Reilly, and the rest of the gang that made the 4077th MASH like no other place in Korea or on earth.

The doctors who worked in the Mobile Army Surgical Hospitals (MASH) during the Korean War were well trained but, like most soldiers sent to fight a war, too young for the job. In the words of the author, "a few flipped their lids, but most of them just raised hell, in a variety of ways and degrees."

For fans of the movie and the series alike, here is the original version of that perfectly corrupt football game, those martini-laced mornings and sexual escapades, and that unforgettable foray into assisted if uncompleted suicide - all as funny and poignant now as they were before they became a part of America's culture and heart.

©1996 Richard Hornberger and W. C. Heinz (P)2013 Tantor

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  •  
    Trish Virginia 02-28-14
    Trish Virginia 02-28-14 Member Since 2005

    I have always loved to read, and now I really enjoy listening to my books as well!!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I Wanted to Love it--and I DID!!"

    I was a huge fan of the M*A*S*H TV show--it still ranks as probably one of my top three favorite shows of all time. The book that started it all was as good as I hoped it would be!

    I tried very hard not to expect the TV show, because I knew I would be disappointed. But this book did not disappoint--it was very entertaining. It had the kooky and quirky characters, doing whatever it took to stay sane, and alive, in the middle of a war. The sense of humor was dry and sharp. It did seem to be a series of vignettes instead of a complete novel, but that did not keep me from enjoying the book overall.

    The narrator of the audiobook was wonderful--his voice and style of narration was perfect for this book. I have no complaints--loved it and highly recommend to others--

    29 of 30 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donna United States 02-18-14
    Donna United States 02-18-14 Member Since 2008
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    "Narrator ruined the book"

    I was so looking forward to this book. Of course I watched MASH for many years and loved all the characters. As hoped the storyline was right in line with what I'd expect from MASH, struggles with keeping it together during dealing daily with life and death situations, humor, sarcasm, teasing, etc. It was all there.

    However, the narration was horrible and ruined the book totally. This too low voice was not in line with the light, easygoing, fun banters the characters should be having. The narrator barely changed speed or inflection in speaking regardless of who was talking, making it very uncomfortable to listen to. All the characters sounded exactly alike, including hot lips (imagine her speaking with a low man's voice). I struggled to keep track of who was talking even with him saying 'he said'. Mr. Heller was clearly reading the book rather than telling a story. Plus, he needs to learn how to pronounce medical terminology if he's going to read a book that is heavy in this area.

    Out of over 1000 books listened to on audible, this is only the second book that the narrator totally ruined the listen for me. (The other was the Stephanie Plum series.)

    Get a new narrator and I'll finish the book.

    40 of 46 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cynthia Monrovia, California, United States 07-03-14
    Cynthia Monrovia, California, United States 07-03-14 Member Since 2012

    Audible listener who's grateful for a long commute!

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    "We're the Pros from Dover"

    M*A*S*H - the television show - was a military brass colored thread that ran through my life from 4th grade to my first year in the Army. By the final show, I'd gone from a pudgy, short 4th grader forced to wear rubber bands on her braces to an E-3/PFC in the Army. I could run faster and do more sit-ups then most men; take apart and reassemble an M16 in less than a minute; and, of course, shoot well enough to win prizes even at rigged carnival galleries.

    On February 28, 1983, the date the final M*A*S*H episode aired, the Presidio I was stationed lost power. Channelling my inner Radar O"Reilly, I scrounged up a 6" black and white TV, collected money for a couple of dozen D batteries, and the entire Company watched it in the standing-room only Common Room.

    The 1970 movie "MASH" was based on this book - Richard Hooker's novel "MASH: A Novel about Three Army Doctors" (1968). I'm certain I wouldn't have seen the movie until high school, and then it would have been bowdlerized for network television broadcast. Censored or not, I loved the movie - especially Sally Kellerman as "Hot Lips Houlihan." She was so over the top, she'd rounded the bend and was back to some mysterious manic subtlety.

    I remember reading this MASH book the summer between my junior and senior years of high school. I thought the book would complement the movie.

    Unfortunately, didn't understand half of it. The political and military satire - no problem. But the medical stuff - Hooker is the nom de plume of H. Richard Hornberger, MD (deceased), a genuine US Army surgeon who served in the Korean War. I completely lacked the education to understand the anatomy, medical terms, and surgical procedures he was talking about. The Internet was called Arpamet, and a decade away from even the most basic civilian use. The set of Encyclopedia Britanicas Mom and Dad had bought on a monthly installment plan over 4 years didn't have the detail to explain bowel resections, pulmonary embolisms, and the subtleties of neurosurgery. And the public library - well, let's just say - it's really hard to use a card catalog and the Dewey Decimal System when you don't know what you're looking for.

    More than 30 years later, I really enjoyed the book "MASH." The writing and dialog was a bit choppy but I just wish I'd been able to say and do some of the things Hawkeye Pierce and Trapper John McIntyre did when I served. Of course, no one is going to get away with that in an all volunteer Army. Pierce and McIntyre, on the other hand, were drafted from lucrative private practices. And the plot - let's just say it was a huge plot for a relatively short book. The television series put that to good use.

    This is classic war fiction, with a healthy dose of sarcasm and humor.

    [If this review helped, please press YES. Thanks!]

    11 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Troy DALLAS, TX, United States 07-01-14
    Troy DALLAS, TX, United States 07-01-14 Member Since 2012

    I grew up on Golden Age Radio, and while I love to read, I typically consume more books via audio thanks to a job that lets me listen while I work. As an aspiring writer, I try to read a great deal of non-fiction in addition to a variety of fictional genres. I especially love history, historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and old-style gothic horror.

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    "Where the Story Truly Begins"

    Like so many, I grew up on the TV series and have seen the movie. This is my first encounter with the novel that started it all. I was by no means disappointed. It plays out pretty much as I expected, being that they used parts of it across the movie and a handful of episodes, and I readily enjoyed the scenes that remained unfilmed. The characters were both new and familiar at the same time, and by the end of it I felt I gained a greater appreciation for the story behind the story I thought I knew.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dianna Layne Smith Florence, SC 07-23-14
    Dianna Layne Smith Florence, SC 07-23-14 Member Since 2002
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    "So much funnier than the show!!!"
    Would you listen to MASH again? Why?

    I would listen to this book over and over and keep laughing! The scenarios are hilarious and some of the lines just kill me with the dry humor! The book doesn't have much of the touchy feely rating grabbing sentiment they wrote into the show and is pretty much pure screwball humor - so I'm not sure why this book isn't listed in comedy.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I am a fan of Monty Python and I was surprised at how much like Monty Python much of this humor comes off. Things like Hawkeye setting out to build an oversized lobster trap in order to trap mermaids from the river or offering to trade his elephant that takes penicillin for another that is all used up simply had me howling.


    Any additional comments?

    This is definitely an adult book/listen with male military subjects discussed of drinking, smoking, gambling, private parts, and whore houses. There is also the racist name for Father Mulcahy that was omitted from the show of "Dego Red" which is how he is pretty much referred to throughout the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elle in the Great NorthWest Beaverton, OR, United States 07-18-14
    Elle in the Great NorthWest Beaverton, OR, United States 07-18-14 Member Since 2011

    I LOVE books. And dogs & quilting & beading & volunteering.

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    "fun to listen to"

    Purchased this when I noticed it as recommended..I had caught an evening of MASH episodes and decided to listen to the book while I refinished furniture on my deck...
    A fun listen with all the familiar characters..Reilly is still my favorite.

    Ideal for MASH devotees-recommended

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Doug Wilkie 07-12-14
    Doug Wilkie 07-12-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Surprises for watchers of movie or series."
    If you could sum up MASH in three words, what would they be?

    Funny, interesting, awesome


    What was one of the most memorable moments of MASH?

    Hawkeye going home


    Which scene was your favorite?

    When Hawkeye recognizes Trapper John


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes, and I would have if time permitted.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matt West Mifflin, PA, United States 07-09-14
    Matt West Mifflin, PA, United States 07-09-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Watch the movie. Skip the book."
    What did you like best about MASH? What did you like least?

    The narrator did an excellent job and the book was an easy listen. This is not a black humor book as much as it is a humor book. Terrible things are happening all around these characters, but they don't seem to take notice. I guess I expected a Catch 22 or a Slaughter House 5, but there is no indictment of war or anything else. If anything, this book even more light hearted than the TV show. It is OK book, but the movie is much better.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joe Chad Ohio 07-08-14
    Joe Chad Ohio 07-08-14 Member Since 2012
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    "helarious"
    Any additional comments?

    In general I love to read fantasy novels, but I also thoroughly enjoy war related stories about some of our countries heroes. I understand that these characters were not real people, but they had some basis in real life. I have a lot of respect for anyone who fights, doctors, or does anything else for our military. Hooker did a tremendous job of making this book come alive. I haven't laughed so hard at a book in a long time. The antics and life saving abilities of the characters in this novel were incredible. Every character was well defined and extremely entertaining. There really wasn't a consistent plot just a series of stories told about the characters as they served out their duties in Korea. This was by no means a problem and I think it made the story more entertaining as a whole. Lastly the narrator did a fairly good job in my opinion, although there wasn't much inflection in his voice. Overall, I very much enjoyed reading this book. I would definitely recommend reading it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Margaret Campbell Palm Coast, FL USA 07-01-14
    Margaret Campbell Palm Coast, FL USA 07-01-14 Member Since 2001
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    "Really Bad Narration"

    This book was OK. Not nearly as funny as the TV series. I probably would have given it four stars if I hadn't been put off by the very poor narration. He just didn't make it fun. Dull, monotone and entirely too much "said Jack", "said Mary".

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
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