Graduate Liberal Studies Program

Course Description

GLS 592: Humor in War

Instructor: Steve Vernon


A look at how even War can create or lead to the creation of comedy through the examination of films and literature.


Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (0684833395)- Perhaps the most loved and hated book to ever hit the shelves, this book is a remarkable piece of literature and is an excellent barometer of the insanity of war, loosely based on Heller's time serving in the Army Air Corp during WWII.

M*A*S*H* by Richard Hooker (0688149553)- This is the novel that inspired the movie and hence the series…it is much closer in theme to the film of course. Hooker was a Doctor in a MASH unit during the Korean War and this is his memoir. Funny and Dark.

Bill Maudlin's Army: Greatest WWII Cartoons (0891411593) - Collection of his cartoons that appeared in Stars and Stripes as well as other papers/magazines. Maudlin is famous for his cartoons featuring "grunts" on the front line as well as his lampoons of the military life. Most of his drawings were created while he was serving "up front".

Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (0440180295)- Half memoir of his time spent in a German prison camp in Dresden and half faux-science fiction story about Billy Pilgrim and the time jumping Tralfamadorians, this book is as moving as it is comedic ands contains some of the most beautiful sentiments regarding war ever written. The foreword alone is worth reading.


Good Morning Viet Nam - Robin Williams film about a DJ for Armed Forces Radio during Viet Nam.

The Mouse That Roared - Peter Sellers film about fictional country of about 500 people that invades the US in order to lose and therefore receive money to "rebuild" their country. They accidentally win.

There will be three papers and an oral presentation, the first two being 6-8 pages and the third being 10-12 pages

Last Update: August 4, 2006