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H. Richard Hornberger (February 1, 1924 – November 4, 1997) was an Americanmarker writer and surgeon, born in Trenton, New Jerseymarker, who wrote under the pseudonym Richard Hooker. His most famous work was MASH (1968), written in collaboration with W.C. Heinz, and which became the basis for a critically and commercially successful movie and television series.

Education and Army Experience

Born in Trenton, New Jerseymarker, Hornberger attended the Peddie Schoolmarker in Hightstownmarker. He then graduated from Bowdoin Collegemarker in Brunswick, Mainemarker and trained at Cornell Medical School before becoming a physician for the United States Army during the Korean War. He used his experience at the 8055th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital as background for his work.

The Success of MASH

Hornberger worked eleven years on his debut novel, MASH, which was rejected by many publishers before being acquired by William Morrow and Company. Ultimately, however, the book (released under Hornberger's pseudonym, Richard Hooker), proved amazingly successful. The novel, whose main protagonist Hawkeye Pierce was based on Hornberger himself, quickly inspired an Academy Award-winning film released in 1970 and a widely popular television series that lasted eleven seasons. Interestingly however, Hornberger reportedly did not like Alan Alda's portrayal in the TV series, while he viewed the original Robert Altman movie in which Pierce was played by Donald Sutherland many times.


Hornberger wrote several sequels to MASH, among them M*A*S*H Goes to Maine (1972) and M*A*S*H Mania (1977), neither of which enjoyed the commercial success of the original. Nevertheless, there were efforts to adapt M*A*S*H Goes to Maine into a film. Both books' portrayals of the characters were entirely independent of the movie and TV characterizations, as they were based upon Hornberger's own experiences after the Korean War, which included a stint working for the Veterans Administrationmarker, qualifying for his surgical boards and then setting himself up in private practice.

While MASH was a fairly faithful reflection of Hornberger's service in Korea, the sequels M*A*S*H Goes to Maine and M*A*S*H Mania were diverse representations of the "Swamp Gang's" post-Korea activities in the fictional town of Spruce Harbour, Maine, from 1953 to the 1970s. These activities mirrored Hornberger's settling in the area surrounding Waterville, Mainemarker, up to the publication of M*A*S*H Mania in 1977. The latter two novels are characterised by gentle humour, stereotypical local characters and a nostalgic look at Maine and its people through Hornberger's eyes. Throughout, the "Swamp Gang" prospers, gets its own way most of the time and generally become more conservative as the years pass, playing golf and being a thorn in the side of "summer complaints" and the local hierarchy.

Hornberger's Departure From The Franchise

In addition, there was an extensive series of books (bearing Hooker's name but ghostwritten by William E. Butterworth) in which the characters travel to Moscow, New Orleans, San Francisco, Paris, etc. These were hastily written to capitalize on the TV show's popularity and were of dubious literary merit. The action was transposed to the 1970s so that people such as Henry Kissinger could be lampooned, but this would have made some of the characters quite old, if the descriptions in the first book were to be believed. For instance, Hot Lips would have been into her 60s, having been described as "fortyish" in the first novel.

Even after the success of his book and its screen adaptations, Hornberger remained a surgeon in Waterville, Mainemarker, until his retirement in 1988. He died at the age of 73 on 4 November 1997 of leukemia.

Published Works

MASH (1968)

M*A*S*H Goes to Maine (1972)

[[M*A*S*H Goes to London] with William E Butterworth] (1973)

[[M*A*S*H Goes to Paris] with William E Butterworth] (1975)

[[M*A*S*H Goes to Morocco] with William E Butterworth] (1976)

[[M*A*S*H Goes to Las Vegas] with William E Butterworth] (1976)

[[M*A*S*H Goes to New Orleans] with William E Butterworth] (????)

[[M*A*S*H Goes to Hollywood] with William E Butterworth] (????)

[[M*A*S*H Goes to Miami] with William E Butterworth] (????)

[[M*A*S*H Goes to Montreal] with William E Butterworth] (????)

[[M*A*S*H Goes to San Fransisco] with William E Butterworth] (????)

[[M*A*S*H Goes to Texas] with William E Butterworth] (????)

[[M*A*S*H Goes to Vienna] with William E Butterworth] (????)

M*A*S*H Mania (1977)


  1. H. Richard Hornberger, 73, Surgeon Behind 'M*A*S*H' - The New York Times
  2. Literary Encyclopedia

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