New Book About M*A*S*H Out on April 26th


A new nonfiction book about the MASH franchise, including the TV show, is scheduled to be published on April 26th by Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, an imprint of Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group. Written by Dale Sherman, MASH FAQ: Everything Left to Know About the Best Care Anywhere runs more than 400 pages and covers the novel, the movie, the play, the TV show, its spin-offs, and more.

You should be able to buy MASH FAQ online and in stores starting next week. The suggested retail price is $19.99.

Cover to MASH FAQ
MASH FAQ (Courtesy of Applause Theatre & Cinema Books)

Here’s how the publisher describes MASH FAQ:

Here’s the lowdown on the unforgettable show about the Forgotten War. M*A*S*H began as a novel written by a surgeon who had been in a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital during the Korean War. After being rejected multiple times, the novel would go on to become a bestseller, leading to 14 sequels, an Oscar-winning movie that propelled its director and actors to stardom, and a multiple-Emmy-winning television series that lasted nearly four times the length of the war.

MASH FAQ looks at how the novel came to be, its follow-ups in literary form, the creation of the popular movie, and – most importantly – the television series that transformed comedy and television in the 1970s. Included are chapters on the top-20 pranks of M*A*S*H, the cast members’ careers before and after the television show, famous guest appearances, and movies shown in the mess hall.

Beyond the fiction, MASH FAQ also features a brief chapter to put the war into perspective for easy referral – and looks at what led to the Korean War, how such medical units functioned, and how M*A*S*H shaped our perception of the era.

An excerpt from MASH FAQ can be found here. Applause has published similiar books about Star Trek, Seinfeld, South Park, and Twin Peaks. And Dale Sherman has written other books in the Applause FAQ Series about about Quentin Tarantino and the rock band KISS.

I believe this is the most recent book to examine M*A*S*H since David Scott Diffrient’s book about M*A*S*H, published in September 2008 as part of the TV Milestones Series from the Wayne State University Press.

For the record, Dale Sherman and I exchanged a few e-mails last year while he was working on the book and I offered one or two suggestions that I hope were useful. Otherwise, I have no involvement or connection to MASH FAQ.

2 Replies to “New Book About M*A*S*H Out on April 26th”

  1. I’ve got some mixed feelings on this. On the uncertain side, those unofficial “FAQ” books I’ve seen tend to cover information that was already available in other sources (i.e. the “Star Trek” volumes), and they’re really limited on what types of photos they’re allowed to use, since the books are histories that aren’t authorized by the copyright holders (as an example, see the choice of the cover for the book on MASH — no trademarked asterisks, by the way). On the plus side, there’s not been a M*A*S*H book that’s included anything about the play that schools have done, and there’s not been any single volume that’s really covered the whole M*A*S*H saga between a single set of covers. Will be interesting to see to what degree it mentions things like the IBM commercials/print campaign, how deep it gets into “AfterMASH” and “Walter” (and, dare we hope, that ever-mysterious “Fighting Nightingales” pilot with Adrienne Barbeau), and to see if the info about the McLean Stevenson “Cher” segment (as well as the Linville/Swit appearance on the Don Rickles special) was able to make the cut in time for publishing! I just hope this book gets the actual broadcast dates for the 2nd season of “AfterMASH” correct (specifically, “Saturday’s Heroes” being delayed until May of 1985, and not airing as planned in December of 1984; THIS website has it correct, but several other sources have it wrong, as do the archival TV listings from December of 1984).

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