Zac McDorrHiester Richard Hornburger, Jr., was raised in New Jersey but came to love Maine during his time as a student at Bowdoin College. He would spend most of his life as a small town surgeon on the Maine coast, but first he served as a military doctor during the Korean War.

As you can imagine, he worked under very difficult conditions. Staff was usually young and under-trained, and units could see over 1,000 casualties per day when the fighting was fierce.

Hornburger returned to Maine after the war and decided to write a novel based on his experiences, under the pseudonym “Richard Hooker.” He based the character “Hawkeye” Pierce on himself. Hornburger spent 12 years working on the novel, but it was rejected by all the publishers he sent it to. Eventually he hired sportswriter W.C. Heinz to help him rewrite the book, and it was published by William Morrow Co. in 1968.

The book, “MASH,” was a huge hit. The movie version arrived in 1970 and became the third-highest grossing film of the year. It was nominated for five Academy Awards and won for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Hornburger loved the film, which featured Donald Sutherland as Hawkeye.

The “MASH” television series began in 1972 and ran for 11 seasons. It is one of the most successful TV shows of all time, and still plays regularly in reruns.

Hornburger did not like the show, however, and refused to watch it. Alan Alda gave the Hawkeye character liberal, anti-war leanings, which disturbed the conservative Hornburger.

The follow up to the original “MASH” book were the novels “MASH Goes to Maine” and “MASH Mania,” in which the characters, like Hornburger himself, move to Maine after the war and become small town coastal doctors.

Neither book enjoyed the commercial success of the original novel.

Source: www.nytimes.com