Ardent Audible listener with a long commute!
Kevin Pariseau narrating Herman Wouk is an incredible, compelling combination. This was my first experience with either, and the next two Audible books I listend to were "War and Remembrance" and "The Caine Mutiny".
"The Winds of War" carefully draws its characters from the Henry family. Victor (Pug) Henry is a naval officer married to Rhoda Henry. Their oldest son, Warren, is a Naval Academy graduate; their second child, Byron, is a college graduate deciding on what to do with life; and their youngest child is the independent Madeline.
Wouk is wonderful at drawing out his characters and weaving them into the people, places and events leading up to World War II. Many writers use stock characters who think and act in predictable ways. In historical novels, there's also an overwhelming tendency to use hindsight in how a character responds to people and places.
Wouk avoids both mistakes. The members of the Henry family react to the events in the United States in Europe as if they were there at the time they happened, and not with the benefit of knowing what was actually happening in certain places and at certain times.
Not all of the characters are likable, and I found myself loathing some characters I initially liked, or at least found inoffensive. The protagonists make mistakes, and sometimes behave badly. There were several archetypal characters introduced in "The Winds of War" that lost their banality and became real.
If you are wondering how much of the book is true, DON'T check Wikipedia - it's a real plot spoiler. The Afterward to "War and Remembrance" discusses them. I'm not giving away any of the plot of either book by saying that the actual historical figures in the book are in the locations they were at the time described in the book, and the actions they take are historically accurate.
My comments apply to The Winds of War and War and Remembrance. They are the same novel with the second spending very little time bringing the reader up to the present. I find the works a masterpiece. In the overall scope of the work, it has to approach fine literature. It definitely is one of the finest stories you will ever listen to. I had not previously read the books and bet they could be captivating but also could be daunting do to the length and the forays into the occasional history lessons. I would venture that the listener would do best listening to the epilogue at the end of War and Remembrance before starting The Winds of War. The epilogue only clarifies the factual people, locations, event and ships from the fictional. The epilogue will allow you to appreciate the effort in research necessary to achieve this wonderful book.
Winds of War is an all-time excellent book, and it isn't diminished on "tape."
Exceptional story amid exceptional history. Very accurate representation of the period and the history.
Roosevelt and Churchill..
Nope... almost 46 hours... had to take some breaks, but it was often hard to stop.
An all-time favorite, especially for the history buff.
I read Winds of War many years ago and remember enjoying this at its sequel. So, I thought I would listen to the audio version. It was good, not great. My reservations have nothing to do with the narration, which I thought well done though his female voices were not the greatest, nor with the different perspectives leading up to WWII. Nor with the main character, Pug Henry, who was a well developed and complex character. My reservations were with the soap opera aspect of the story which I found unnecessary and distracting at best. Still, I thought the insightful perspectives of the various leaders and countries were fascinating.
If you listen to this book, I highly recommend proceeding to the sequel, War and Remembrance.
Not having read the print version, nor seen the TV mini-series, I chose to listen to the audio version of "The Winds of War" for the freedom to travel and move about while enjoying the story. Herman Wouk did a believable job of adding Victor Henry into the history of World War II, creating a character that I had to remind myself was fictional. The fantastical meeting of the major leaders of the European Axis and being a high-level errand boy for FDR was quite good. There were a few loose ends that I wish had been tied up, but for the sake of the story, that probably wasn't necessary.
The narrator, Kevin Pariseau, has sharp quality to his voice that took me some time to get used to, but it was a good fit for this story. His accents were generally quite good, but a few times I had to pay close attention to which character was speaking as Aaron Jastro sometimes had a British accent and other times a New York accent. All in all, however, he used his voice to paint believable characteristics of people we could only hear and not see.
First of while this book would stand alone perfectly fine it is in fact part 1 of the 2 part story that concludes in 'War and Remembrance'. Epic, doesn't do justice to these books. Big, doesn't do a very good job of describing the story told in these two books. The simple fact is that Wouk did a masterful job of telling the story of world war II and Kevin Pariseau did a superior job of narrating these two books. Some might say that Wouk put too much emphasis on the Holocaust. Perhaps he did put a lot of emphasis on it and perhaps that was because he himself was Jewish, but to this I say two things; First it was his story so he can tell it any way he chooses and secondly to my way of thinking it doesn't hurt for people to be reminded of the Holocaust to be sure that it never happens again. All in all I enjoyed these books immensely and I am grateful to Audible for making them available. If you like a big story expertly told and superbly narrated then you should like these two books.
Global impact of the great tragedy and loss of life generally, and the compelling family saga.
Excellent characterization. Authentic dialects.
Both, and it kept me spell-bound.
It enabled me to enter into the thought-life of the leaders. Lovely homely touches too.
Among the top 25
Victor (Pug) Henry is everyman at his best, he is the man you wish you knew and even when he slips you can forgive him.
He did an amazing job with all of the character's voices.
I listened to it every possible minute, it mesmerized me.
I had read the book when it first came out and loved it, but I think I enjoyed it even more now as a mature adult, wife and mother. I had forgotten much of the story and found the actual war part to be much more interesting now that I have lived in Europe and Japan. I am eagerly anticipating the sequel.
Retired high tech CEO who raised quarter horses, pilots his own Bonanza A36 airplane, enjoys shooting sports and spending time with his lovely wife and family
Both time and detail are required to develop depth of character in a book. Mr. Wouk took the time and provided the detail without falling into the depths of boredom often produced by those with less talent. I enjoyed investing my time, and I found the narrator most persuasive. Cheers, Ken
First off, Kevin Pariseau completely rockets to the top of my all time favorite performances. George Guidell, even the mighty Frank Muller did not impress me to the level that Kevin does in this.
The story is one of the most intertwined and complete that I have ever known. I have never read another book that brings so much detail to the reader. It's presented in a way that is not overwhelming, and that fact is almost amazing in itself. The amount of war detail is as staggering as a history text book, but encompasses the story of a fictional family, fictional German generals, and fictional presidential aids. The fictional portions of this book are beautiful and described in complete detail, and dovetail utterly perfectly with the known facts and non fiction that surround WW2.
Still, after the amazing story, mind boggling ability of Wouk to weave a story so large, it can only be called an epic saga, and the impeccable WW2 history, I am still in awe over Kevin Pariseau's performance. It's amazing how he brings the characters to life. It's almost unfair to other narrators, because they have no chance to compare.