The trinity of departing bed-blockers, alongside Day and Pei, is completed by the non-rhyming Herman Wouk. Born into a working class Jewish family in the Bronx, Wouk spend the pre-war era working as a joke-writer for US radio comics. While serving in the Pacific theater, he begin writing his first novel: Aurora Dawn, which was published in 1947.
His first few works were neither critical nor commercial successes, but that all changed in 1951 with the release of The Caine Mutiny. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and topped the New York Times best-seller list for 48 weeks. It touched on the main themes that existed throughout his work: wartime, morality and American Jewishness. The novel he considered his masterpiece, The Winds of War, was published in 1971 and followed similar topics. He published his last book, Sailor and Fiddler: Reflections of a 100-Year-Old Author, in 2016 to mark his centenary year, and missed out on a place on this year’s Drop 40 by just one pick.