Herzog is a man seeking balance, trying to regain a foothold on his life. Thrown out of his ex-wife's house, Herzog retreats to his abandoned home in a remote village in the Berkshire Mountains. Amid the dust of the disused house, he begins scribbling letters to family, friends, lovers, colleagues, enemies, dead philosophers, ex-presidents—anyone with whom he feels compelled to set the record straight. The letters—which are never sent—are a means to cure himself of the psychic strain of the failures of his life: that of being a bad husband, a loving but poor father, an ungrateful child, a distant brother, an egoist to friends, and an apathetic citizen.
Primarily a novel of redemption, progressing from ignorance to enlightenment, Herzog is still considered one of the greatest literary expressions of postwar America.