M*A*S*H Goes to Maine

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M*A*S*H Goes to Maine is a novel written by Richard Hooker and originally published in 1972. A sequel to 1968's MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors, it features several of that novel's characters in rural Maine. An attempt to adapt M*A*S*H Goes to Maine as a feature film was unsuccessful.

Plot summary[edit]

Hawkeye Pierce returns to live in Crabapple Cove, Maine near the town of Spruce Harbor. Having left the Army, Hawkeye is established to be working for the Veterans Administration. In May 1954 he is laid off. At this point, Hawkeye doesn’t have much money in the bank, is 31 years old, and has three children: Billy, Stephen and Karen.

The day he’s released, Trapper John McIntyre comes to visit and sets Hawkeye’s future in motion. Trapper John, a Lieutenant in the medical organization of Maxie Neville in New York City, arranges for further thoracic training for Hawkeye, first in the East Orange VA Hospital in New Jersey, then at St Lombard’s in Manhattan from July 1954. After two years Hawkeye breezes through the Thoracic Boards. At the end of his training in June 1956, two Spruce Harbor locals, Jocko Allcock (the man who was responsible for Hawkeye being fired by the VA) and “Wooden Leg” Willcox (the local fish magnate) come to visit Hawkeye to set him up in practice—by betting favorably on the outcome of his operations.

The first operation with Trapper John’s assistance (upon Pasquale Merlino) is a success, and thanks to his superior training Hawkeye becomes the local surgeon. As time goes by, Hawkeye is given more patients by the local general practitioner of note, “Doggy” Moore; goes into private practice with ex-Spitfire pilot Tony Holcombe and plots the eventual reuniting of the Swamp Gang. By 1959 Hawkeye has lured Trapper John, Duke Forrest, and Spearchucker Jones into his net, and thanks to the proceeds of the “Allcock-Willcox” syndicate, a new “Finestkind Fishmarket and Clinic” is set up along with the new Spruce Harbor General Hospital.

Duke returns to Georgia from Korea, and takes a course in urology. Hawkeye Pierce then invites him up to Spruce Harbor, Maine to join him and a new friend, Tony Holcombe in private practice. Duke immediately turns up in Maine with his bloodhound, Little Eva, and joins Hawkeye in persuading Spearchucker to become the local neurosurgeon. Duke and his family move into Crabapple Cove next to Hawkeye and Mary Pierce.

Setting[edit]

Pierce's home, "Port Waldo", is (real-life) Waldoboro, and the FinestKind Clinic is just up Route 1 in Rockland. "Crabapple Cove" is Broad Cove, in Bremen just down the Medomak River from Waldoboro Village. Richard Hooker (Hornberger) owned an old farmhouse on Heath Point. The reader will note Wreck Island, Thief Island, and other Muscongus Bay landmarks in the book. It is possible that the Pierce family is modeled after the (real-life) Spear family, who had a number of different branches in the area, in the 1950s.