This, plus the sequel, are the best audio books I've listened to. Unforgettable characters and story, a narrator that could not be improved in any way. Absolutely addicting. I can't believe how many hours it took me to get through both books, and such happy hours, too. I've just finished both and though I regret completing them, I really HAVE to get some work, etc. done....
This book had been on my to-do list for years and I'm glad to have finally finished it. It's not the greatest or most thrilling WW2 tale I've ever experienced but I did like it. "Once An Eagle", a similar epic written around the same time, had far more depth. The narrator could not have done a better job.
Winds of War is part one, followed by War and Remembrance, of the story of the Henry family in the period leading up to Pearl Harbor. Herman Wouk has distilled much of the history of World War II in these two volumes, seen primarily from the point of view of an American Navy family. It covers a lot of territory -- not just the United States mainland, Hawaii (not yet a state in the union), prewar Germany, Russia, and Italy, among other places. Wouk clearly draws on his experiences in the U.S. Navy in World War II, which gives great authenticity to the story, His solid background research makes this a good overview of the developing war and its complications make this suitable for anyone who might read a sweeping novel, but be reluctant to read a non-fiction account, no matter how well-written (and there are great historian writers out there whose work is quite accessible to armchair historians). One intriguing feature of the story is the inclusion of the overview of the war from the German point of view, as written by the character of Armin von Roon, a German submariner during his postwar imprisonment.
The story is in the family saga genre, which I usually don't care for. but the characters are plausible, and their dilemmas and adventures kept my attention throughout. I did find it rather strange that Bryan Henry, the wayward son who went to Italy to study art, ends up marrying a Jewish woman, but this served to open the narrative to bring in more of the European aspects of the war, and begin to address the dire consequences for the Jews of Europe. The situation in which Natalie Henry (nee Jastrow) finds herself, trapped in fascist Italy as the war in Europe progresses, seemed at first far-fetched, but in fact, many real Jews found themselves in equally strange circumstances with bizarre escapes as well as tragic ends. Having worked with some of the major Holocaust historians, I know that many events were in some cases stranger than fiction and well-documented.
The narrator is quite good, which adds immensely to the enjoyment of this long, long novel. I have only some slight quibbles about his attempts at pronouncing the few Hebrew words, and the German and Italian and Russian accented-English of the characters.
My only complaint: it was hard to make myself turn off the recording and get on with my work or go to sleep. Like any great novel, hard to put down.
I love sailing, Apple Inc., good books, good music and fine films
I really love the mix of story telling and facts that makes this work come alive I can not wait for Audible to get their act together and fix the error in Volume 2
Clear strong voice
The interwoven people and their own '6 degrees of separation'.
I enjoy historical and military related stories and this one brings the world of pre-WWII and on into the start of WWII events into perspective.
I liked the main character (Pug Henry).
The existing title carries a good/informative sense of the story line. No change!!
This was a great read. I love having a book that makes you feel like taking a sickie just so you can stay in bed and keep listening. It's good and long but never boring. I've listened to a few books about the second world war but none that tell it from this angle. Really interesting!
You know a narrator is good when you become so totally absorbed in the story and don't even notice when they move effortlessly from one voice to the next.
Set in the years leading up to U.S. involvement in WWII, Herman Wouk's multi-dimensional historical novel brings the conflicts, the complex issues and the key players to richly imagined life. It's easy to forget these are fictional characters and I found it fascinating to see the approaching inevitable war through their eyes. This is a very long audiobook but well worth the dramatic hours. I immediately added Wouk's War and Remembrance to my list when I finished it.
Already familiar with the history of WWII and the Holocaust, I was reluctant to delve into this work of historical fiction. I thought it would be depressing and not inspirational. Fortunately, I chose the book anyway because of the positive reviews. The Winds of War as well as the sequel, War and Remembrance, are two of the best books I have ever read or listened to. The book brings alive the history of WWII and examines the human condition on many different levels while being immensely entertaining. The narrator is superb!