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"The Good Soldier Schweik" is a humorous novel. It can give you happiness in literature appreciation, and help you to grow historical knowledge. It was declared by army as "idiots" and the retired Shuaike to stall the dog for a living. One day, Shuike who loved discussing talked about the put-out incident of Crown Prince Ferdinand and was arrested as "treason" charges by secret policeman. Shuaike experienced many terrible and ridiculous encounters and was back home eventually, however the war has broke out. He was recruited into the army. Shuaike was attacking by rheumatism lying in bed unable to move when notified. But he sat in wheelchair with glorious flowers and a new cap he bought himself, pushed by his old maid Mrs. Miller, shouted patriotic slogans all the way to join the army. Newspapers trumpeted his loyalty patriotic action, for the same purpose, the conscription committee regarded him as "malingering soldiers" to get him into the so-called "wards" and tortured him heavily, and then put him together with the real malingering and sick dying soldiers, who were sent to serve as a cannon fodder. Then Shuaike began his war experiences that full with thrilling twists and ridiculous.

Published: Zhejiang Juvenile & Children's Publishing House an imprint of Trajectory, Inc. on
ISBN: 9781629781938
List price: $2.99
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I've been on a roll with my reading recently. Love having time off.

Anyways - it is often said that this novel was an inspiration for Catch-22. Like Catch-22, it is hilarious. Unfortunately, it tends to go on for a little too long, also like Catch-22.

The moralizing in the end does tend to break up the monotony. The book ends abruptly, but this is due to the author's unfortunate death. This also explains some 'unpolished' sections of the book.

Despite these flaws, it is still hilarious and very much worth your time if you want a good rollicking anti-war novel.more
"The Good Soldier Svejk" is a 20th century classic, but that doesn't mean one will necessarily love it, or indeed finish it -- I read the first of the four volumes, and feel that I have done my duty. Moreover, there was a lot I enjoyed in the book, and quitting early may have kept it that way. Three more volumes, I suspect, would pretty much extinguish the enjoyment.The book begins in 1914, when the Czech Republic was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Svejk (Schweik in German, same guy) is a Czech soldier in the Austrian army, whose attitude of glowing idiocy (assumed, we assume, but --) brings him into constant conflict with the military authorities. This is usually a lot harder on the authorities than on Svejk. The book is about the futility and stupidity of war, of the military, of the Church -- of all the institutions of the State that screw up the lives of ordinary people. Svejk is the ordinary person who resists not by refusing to go along, but by cooperating so idiotically that he succeeds in avoiding (at least in Book One) actually going to war. He is a terrific character, and has become a key character in Czech self-definition.So -- why the three and half stars, instead of five? There are three main problems, and they all have more to do with me than with the book. First, I don't read Czech. The introduction tells us that Hasek used language in a revolutionary way, running up and down the linguistic social scale, switching between German and Czech (as Czechs did in those days) and using much more informal language than was accepted. Most of this does not come through in the translation, which in this case is probably more a problem of translation in general than of this translation. The Austro-Hungarian empire must have created a sort of linguistic goulash for anyone who wasn't down on the farm, and that's not something that can really be reproduced in 21rst century English. Second, a lot of water has gone under the bridge (or blood under the battlements) since Hasek published this book in 1923. Anti-war sentiments are less shocking that they were, and more recent anti-war novels speak more strongly to at least this reader -- for example, Catch-22.Finally, I'm female. Usually, this doesn't have much impact on my reaction to books, but in the case of military humor, it does. Like sports talk and trading room banter, this is a genre which is less than dear to my heart.Anyway, I'm glad I read Volume I, but doubt I will forge on into 2, 3, and 4more
Clever satire,worth the effort of reading in the original, Europe's catch 22 40 years earlier than Joseph H's excellent book.more
If you like Kurt Vonnegut's "Cat's Cradle" , Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Joseph Heller's "Catch 22," or John Kennedy O'Toole's "A Confederacy of Dunces," you'll be delighted to discover this obscure saga of "The Good Soldier Svejk."I'm not sure if any of the above mentioned authors were aware of this interconnected tangle of Central European shaggy dog stories written just after WWI, but it sure feels like the mother lode for modern satire.The author, born in Bohemia in 1883, was an eccentric writer who took up journalism, drinking, and wandering. Think of him as a Don Quixote lost somewhere in the Austrio-Hungarian empire. During WWI he was captured and spent years in Russian prison camps. Hasek's piercing sense of the absurd must have helped him survive a mountain of ordeals because he came out on the other side with this picaresque tale of a reluctant soldier who is either the most inept person on earth or the most brilliant we've ever produced. Svejk confounds everyone he encounters. Through wits or lack thereof, he survives the perils of war and wrath of his commanders, floating down a seemingly endless stream of hilarious and insightful parables.Svejk is the wise fool, the schlemiel, the coyote trickster. He lurches and stumbles from one fiasco to the next vexing his apoplectic superiors, skirting disasters, and always finding something to drink at the end of the day.The collected edition isn't an easy read in that it's very long and a bit of a ramble. But it's worth it. In many ways, this is a book about everything. You can mine it for meaning and metaphor, or just be entertained. It's old world and worldly--a massive send up of humanity caught at our best and worst with all our fancies and foibles gently laid bare.more
After spending more than 3 decades in the service of this Nation. I conclude that all new officers should have this as a well thumbed memento by the time they retire. Even today there is a bit of this nonsense left. Gladly or should I say "Humbly Report!" - the older officers have matured well beyond the Hasek's Generals. A must read for all military personnel - just like war Hasek has a lot of ups and downs - periods of absolute gut- busting humor - interspersed with doldrums - still a great read!more
Bravo on pointing out the absolute idiocy of war, but not rich enough or structurally strong enough to be good fiction; I could only make it through about 350 of the book's 700+ pages.Quotes on war:"An old reservist looked at the raw recruit and said: 'Nice hope that a shrapnel tears off your head! They've pulled the wool over our eyes. Once a deputy from the Clerical Party came to our village and spoke to us about God's peace, which spans the earth, and how the Lord did not want war and wanted us all to live in peace and get on together like brothers. And look at him now, the bloody fool! Now that war has broken out they pray in all the churches for the success of our arms, and they talk about God like a chief of the general staff who guides and directs the war. From this military hospital I've seen many funerals go out and cartfuls of hacked-off arms and legs carried away.''And the soldiers are buried naked,' said another soldier, 'and into the uniform they put another live man. And so it goes on for ever and ever....'I think that it's splendid to get oneself run through with a bayonet,' said Svejk, 'and also that it's not bad to get a bullet in the stomach. It's even grander when you're torn to pieces by a shell and you see that your legs and belly are somehow remote from you. It's very funny and you die before anyone can explain it to you.'The young soldier gave a heartfelt sigh. He was sorry for his young life. Why was he born in such a stupid century to be butchered like an ox in a slaughterhouse? What was all that necessary?""But the scoundrel Marek stood by the side of Svejk and looked quite happy. It could not have turned out better for him. It was definitely better to peel potatoes in the kitchen, shape dumplings and take meat off the bone than stand up to the hurricane fire of the enemy and roar out: 'Form two deep! Fix bayonets!' when one's trousers were full.""Before the arrival of the passenger train the third-class restaurant filled up with soldiers and civilians. They were predominantly soldiers of various regiments and formations and the most diverse nationalities whom the whirlwinds of war had swept into the Tabor hospitals. They were now going back to the front to get new wounds, mutilations and pains and to earn the reward of a simple wooden cross over their graves. Years after on the mournful plains of East Galicia a faded Austrian soldier's cap with a rusty Imperial badge would flutter over it in wind and rain. From time to time a miserable old carrion crow would perch on it, recalling fat feasts of bygone days when there used to be spread for him an unending table of human corpses and horse carcasses, when just under the cap on which he perched there lay the daintiest morsels of all - human eyes.""'All along the line,' said the volunteer, pulling the blanket over him, 'everything in the army stinks of rottenness. Up till now the wide-eyed masses haven't woken up to it. With goggling eyes they let themselves be made into mincemeat and when they're struck by a bullet they just whisper, 'Mummy!' Heroes don't exist, only cattle for the slaughter and the butchers in the general staffs."more
This satirical novel is often funny and I laughed a lot. But it is also long and I admit I was glad when I got to the last page. Joseph Svejk is a native of Prague and is in the Austrian Army, and purports to be a most loyal soldier. His responses to officers are often very funny and drive said officers up a wall. The humor is sometimes coarse and overly dependent on excretory functions. References to the Catholic Church are seldom admiratory. If conditions in the Austrian Army are accuately depicted it is easy to see why Austria did poorly in the War.more
Patience is required for this book. I found myself at times fully enjoying one of Svejk's ramblinf stories, other times I was tempted to skip through them. As the introduction to the book says, hasek's narrative skills leave a lot to be desired but it is still an immensely enjoyable piece of work. Svejk is the man we can all identify with, sympathise with and root for.more
A monster of a book, that's unfinished. The titular Svejk has been dismissed from the army, for his lack of intelligence. He demonstrates this early on by explaining to a secret policeman little more than the truth about the archduke's death. His punishment ? He's drafted to fight the Russians, The book stops before he gets to the front. The adventures of Svejk whilst on his way to the front detail the seeming pointlessness of war and the anguish of men who don't want to be there. I ended up with this having spent a good few times in bar Svejk in Prague, the owner explained about the character to us and I was instantly intrigued. If you like catch-22 this and the also lesser known "The life and Extrordinary adventures of private Ivan Chonkin" ought to be on you reading listmore
Rabbelesian flow of picaresque shaggy dog stories, woven around the character and adventures of the enigmatic 'imbecile' soldier Svejk, whose seeming innocence conceals vicious guile and whose old-fashioned respect for order is just a facade for amoral opportunism - and yet a likeable character, because he is the mirror which reveals the hypocrisy and cant of the A-H Empire, and the emergent idle rich. Svejk is both 'everyman' and 'monkey king' - he gets out of the tightest corners to survive for the next day - and yet another, even worse undeserving predicament. The narrative is but an excuse for a torrent of stories - in the best tradition Chaucer and Bocaccio - often with a hidden 'moral' which may be truly subversive. In responding to his masters, while apparently acquiescing or simply passively endorsing, Svejks asides appear, like Shakespeare's court jesters, disguising wisdom in nonsense, concealing the cynicism of the put-upon in the servant's humble guise of apparent obedience. The humour is at times bawdy or earthy and then again, sharp and bitter - with objects ranging from the manners and morals of the haute bourgoisie to the inhumanly cruel suppression of Czech nationalism by the Germanic A-H empire and its spies and informers, and the madness of modern war.more
Simply Hilarious. Svejk was for WWII soldiers what Catch-22 was for Vietnam soldiers.more
Read all 11 reviews

Reviews

I've been on a roll with my reading recently. Love having time off.

Anyways - it is often said that this novel was an inspiration for Catch-22. Like Catch-22, it is hilarious. Unfortunately, it tends to go on for a little too long, also like Catch-22.

The moralizing in the end does tend to break up the monotony. The book ends abruptly, but this is due to the author's unfortunate death. This also explains some 'unpolished' sections of the book.

Despite these flaws, it is still hilarious and very much worth your time if you want a good rollicking anti-war novel.more
"The Good Soldier Svejk" is a 20th century classic, but that doesn't mean one will necessarily love it, or indeed finish it -- I read the first of the four volumes, and feel that I have done my duty. Moreover, there was a lot I enjoyed in the book, and quitting early may have kept it that way. Three more volumes, I suspect, would pretty much extinguish the enjoyment.The book begins in 1914, when the Czech Republic was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Svejk (Schweik in German, same guy) is a Czech soldier in the Austrian army, whose attitude of glowing idiocy (assumed, we assume, but --) brings him into constant conflict with the military authorities. This is usually a lot harder on the authorities than on Svejk. The book is about the futility and stupidity of war, of the military, of the Church -- of all the institutions of the State that screw up the lives of ordinary people. Svejk is the ordinary person who resists not by refusing to go along, but by cooperating so idiotically that he succeeds in avoiding (at least in Book One) actually going to war. He is a terrific character, and has become a key character in Czech self-definition.So -- why the three and half stars, instead of five? There are three main problems, and they all have more to do with me than with the book. First, I don't read Czech. The introduction tells us that Hasek used language in a revolutionary way, running up and down the linguistic social scale, switching between German and Czech (as Czechs did in those days) and using much more informal language than was accepted. Most of this does not come through in the translation, which in this case is probably more a problem of translation in general than of this translation. The Austro-Hungarian empire must have created a sort of linguistic goulash for anyone who wasn't down on the farm, and that's not something that can really be reproduced in 21rst century English. Second, a lot of water has gone under the bridge (or blood under the battlements) since Hasek published this book in 1923. Anti-war sentiments are less shocking that they were, and more recent anti-war novels speak more strongly to at least this reader -- for example, Catch-22.Finally, I'm female. Usually, this doesn't have much impact on my reaction to books, but in the case of military humor, it does. Like sports talk and trading room banter, this is a genre which is less than dear to my heart.Anyway, I'm glad I read Volume I, but doubt I will forge on into 2, 3, and 4more
Clever satire,worth the effort of reading in the original, Europe's catch 22 40 years earlier than Joseph H's excellent book.more
If you like Kurt Vonnegut's "Cat's Cradle" , Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Joseph Heller's "Catch 22," or John Kennedy O'Toole's "A Confederacy of Dunces," you'll be delighted to discover this obscure saga of "The Good Soldier Svejk."I'm not sure if any of the above mentioned authors were aware of this interconnected tangle of Central European shaggy dog stories written just after WWI, but it sure feels like the mother lode for modern satire.The author, born in Bohemia in 1883, was an eccentric writer who took up journalism, drinking, and wandering. Think of him as a Don Quixote lost somewhere in the Austrio-Hungarian empire. During WWI he was captured and spent years in Russian prison camps. Hasek's piercing sense of the absurd must have helped him survive a mountain of ordeals because he came out on the other side with this picaresque tale of a reluctant soldier who is either the most inept person on earth or the most brilliant we've ever produced. Svejk confounds everyone he encounters. Through wits or lack thereof, he survives the perils of war and wrath of his commanders, floating down a seemingly endless stream of hilarious and insightful parables.Svejk is the wise fool, the schlemiel, the coyote trickster. He lurches and stumbles from one fiasco to the next vexing his apoplectic superiors, skirting disasters, and always finding something to drink at the end of the day.The collected edition isn't an easy read in that it's very long and a bit of a ramble. But it's worth it. In many ways, this is a book about everything. You can mine it for meaning and metaphor, or just be entertained. It's old world and worldly--a massive send up of humanity caught at our best and worst with all our fancies and foibles gently laid bare.more
After spending more than 3 decades in the service of this Nation. I conclude that all new officers should have this as a well thumbed memento by the time they retire. Even today there is a bit of this nonsense left. Gladly or should I say "Humbly Report!" - the older officers have matured well beyond the Hasek's Generals. A must read for all military personnel - just like war Hasek has a lot of ups and downs - periods of absolute gut- busting humor - interspersed with doldrums - still a great read!more
Bravo on pointing out the absolute idiocy of war, but not rich enough or structurally strong enough to be good fiction; I could only make it through about 350 of the book's 700+ pages.Quotes on war:"An old reservist looked at the raw recruit and said: 'Nice hope that a shrapnel tears off your head! They've pulled the wool over our eyes. Once a deputy from the Clerical Party came to our village and spoke to us about God's peace, which spans the earth, and how the Lord did not want war and wanted us all to live in peace and get on together like brothers. And look at him now, the bloody fool! Now that war has broken out they pray in all the churches for the success of our arms, and they talk about God like a chief of the general staff who guides and directs the war. From this military hospital I've seen many funerals go out and cartfuls of hacked-off arms and legs carried away.''And the soldiers are buried naked,' said another soldier, 'and into the uniform they put another live man. And so it goes on for ever and ever....'I think that it's splendid to get oneself run through with a bayonet,' said Svejk, 'and also that it's not bad to get a bullet in the stomach. It's even grander when you're torn to pieces by a shell and you see that your legs and belly are somehow remote from you. It's very funny and you die before anyone can explain it to you.'The young soldier gave a heartfelt sigh. He was sorry for his young life. Why was he born in such a stupid century to be butchered like an ox in a slaughterhouse? What was all that necessary?""But the scoundrel Marek stood by the side of Svejk and looked quite happy. It could not have turned out better for him. It was definitely better to peel potatoes in the kitchen, shape dumplings and take meat off the bone than stand up to the hurricane fire of the enemy and roar out: 'Form two deep! Fix bayonets!' when one's trousers were full.""Before the arrival of the passenger train the third-class restaurant filled up with soldiers and civilians. They were predominantly soldiers of various regiments and formations and the most diverse nationalities whom the whirlwinds of war had swept into the Tabor hospitals. They were now going back to the front to get new wounds, mutilations and pains and to earn the reward of a simple wooden cross over their graves. Years after on the mournful plains of East Galicia a faded Austrian soldier's cap with a rusty Imperial badge would flutter over it in wind and rain. From time to time a miserable old carrion crow would perch on it, recalling fat feasts of bygone days when there used to be spread for him an unending table of human corpses and horse carcasses, when just under the cap on which he perched there lay the daintiest morsels of all - human eyes.""'All along the line,' said the volunteer, pulling the blanket over him, 'everything in the army stinks of rottenness. Up till now the wide-eyed masses haven't woken up to it. With goggling eyes they let themselves be made into mincemeat and when they're struck by a bullet they just whisper, 'Mummy!' Heroes don't exist, only cattle for the slaughter and the butchers in the general staffs."more
This satirical novel is often funny and I laughed a lot. But it is also long and I admit I was glad when I got to the last page. Joseph Svejk is a native of Prague and is in the Austrian Army, and purports to be a most loyal soldier. His responses to officers are often very funny and drive said officers up a wall. The humor is sometimes coarse and overly dependent on excretory functions. References to the Catholic Church are seldom admiratory. If conditions in the Austrian Army are accuately depicted it is easy to see why Austria did poorly in the War.more
Patience is required for this book. I found myself at times fully enjoying one of Svejk's ramblinf stories, other times I was tempted to skip through them. As the introduction to the book says, hasek's narrative skills leave a lot to be desired but it is still an immensely enjoyable piece of work. Svejk is the man we can all identify with, sympathise with and root for.more
A monster of a book, that's unfinished. The titular Svejk has been dismissed from the army, for his lack of intelligence. He demonstrates this early on by explaining to a secret policeman little more than the truth about the archduke's death. His punishment ? He's drafted to fight the Russians, The book stops before he gets to the front. The adventures of Svejk whilst on his way to the front detail the seeming pointlessness of war and the anguish of men who don't want to be there. I ended up with this having spent a good few times in bar Svejk in Prague, the owner explained about the character to us and I was instantly intrigued. If you like catch-22 this and the also lesser known "The life and Extrordinary adventures of private Ivan Chonkin" ought to be on you reading listmore
Rabbelesian flow of picaresque shaggy dog stories, woven around the character and adventures of the enigmatic 'imbecile' soldier Svejk, whose seeming innocence conceals vicious guile and whose old-fashioned respect for order is just a facade for amoral opportunism - and yet a likeable character, because he is the mirror which reveals the hypocrisy and cant of the A-H Empire, and the emergent idle rich. Svejk is both 'everyman' and 'monkey king' - he gets out of the tightest corners to survive for the next day - and yet another, even worse undeserving predicament. The narrative is but an excuse for a torrent of stories - in the best tradition Chaucer and Bocaccio - often with a hidden 'moral' which may be truly subversive. In responding to his masters, while apparently acquiescing or simply passively endorsing, Svejks asides appear, like Shakespeare's court jesters, disguising wisdom in nonsense, concealing the cynicism of the put-upon in the servant's humble guise of apparent obedience. The humour is at times bawdy or earthy and then again, sharp and bitter - with objects ranging from the manners and morals of the haute bourgoisie to the inhumanly cruel suppression of Czech nationalism by the Germanic A-H empire and its spies and informers, and the madness of modern war.more
Simply Hilarious. Svejk was for WWII soldiers what Catch-22 was for Vietnam soldiers.more
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