I made it about half way through the book before giving up. I was disappointed with the character development, particularly the females who are cast as flighty, self-absorbed and irresponsible. The young men in the story didn't fare much better, and came across as immature and either reckless, indecisive or cowardly. Perhaps it's a reflection of the mindset of the 70's or simply my own opinion, but the story could have been much richer had those supporting characters played more significant roles earlier in the book. As it was, it felt all too much like a made for TV soap opera mini series, which of course it did become in the 80's.
Since I didn't finish the book, perhaps the characters all matured and made significant contributions to the war in the end. The writing itself was fine and the historical context was satisfying. I learned a lot about the impact of the war upon central Europe, and perhaps at some point I'll return to finish the book for that reason alone. But for now, there are other historical novels such as Ken Follet's Century Trilogy that are more satisfying.
The story was appropriately centered in history without being so mired in the details that the story and character development suffered.
My favorite character was Byron because he struggled to be his own person in the midst of a war and family that required walking the line.
His various accents for the characters really brought them to life.
Yes, it was like listening to a movie.
The love affair in Warsaw.
It was a wonderful story and so well read, he did each character with a different accent.
I had read the books several years ago. The books were fantastic and the audio made it even better.
At this stage in my life, Pug. The age and family life.
Recommend with no reservations.
The story itself, and the fact it is so detailed and read with so animated voice, a joy
The characters came to be living breathing individuals
I listen audiobooks while doing crafts, and with this book it has been a joy!
Say something about yourself!
I wish this book was available by another narrator. I am intrigued by the story but will probably have to give up on it because I am increasingly distracted and annoyed by the choppy cadence of the reader. He pauses after every second or third word, regardless of whether the pause makes sense syntactically. It sounds pretentious and overdone, and I find myself getting extremely impatient for him just to "spit it out!" I would increase the narration speed, but the reader only uses this tortured, choppy pace when he is doing the descriptive narration parts, not when he speaks in character. So if I tick the speed up to 1.5x, I miss important parts of the dialog.
I would encourage listeners to spend some time listening to a sample before they buy this book.
I loved Kevin Pariseau's extraordinary reading. Every character came alive - and he had no shortage of characters and accents to portray. Yes, the story was engrossing and this is Wouk's Great American Novel, but he couldn't have asked for a better reader. Pariseau is among the top two or three readers I've enjoyed listening to in more than 30 years of listening to audio books. He's a brilliant talent.
Several characters being caught in Poland and barely escaping during the German invasion.
See above, but it's a long book.
Just another endorsement for Pariseau. With all due respect to Herman Wouk's fine writing, Pariseau makes the story so enjoyable for the listener. The producer(s) were smart in finding the right actor because the wrong person reading such a long work would have been potentially disastrous.
Absolutely! The book is historically accurate. The characters are believable. And the narrator is outstanding.
Pug Henry. He is a great foil for characters with more dynamic and colorful personalities.
Everything! His ability to speak multiple languages, change voices, and make you think you were listening to a radio show was truly amazing.
Talky Tudsberry. He was a comical but believable Brit.
I listened to this very long book whilst making a quilt. I was half living in WW2 all this time. The atmosphere and informative nature of the book kept me involved. I learned heaps about events and the issues America faced regarding getting into the war. I also liked the military accounts cleverly written by a war criminal whilst serving his sentence after Nurenburg with translators comments attached.
I did not however care for most of the characters. There is a definite mysogynistic quality in the portrayal of the women whilst the men are (almost) all brave and resourceful. The book was written in the seventies which perhaps accounts for the use of terms like "yellow race" etc. as well as a distinctly moralistic attitude to sex.
For all that though I learned a lot from the book and got a lot of quilting done!
Good way to learn details of the 2nd world war but I found it a bit dry and ponderous. I prefer Ken Follet's account, which gripped me fully from start to finish.