Through the eyes of a naval family we are taken to Berlin, London, the Kremlin and the White House where we get a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes in world dramas. One family member marries a Jew hence we also get a thorough look at the attempted genocide of the Jewish citizens who come under the sway of the Nazis. The author also attempts to show us a history of World War II from the point of view of a German historian.
The Narrator's stulted rendition takes a bit of getting used to but the story is so riveting this can be forgiven.
A great story and a wonderful way to absorb history! I didn't want the book to end.
Where does it rank? It's high on the list.
It's a meaty book...lots and lots of information to assimilate...Herman Wouk brought the years before the great war to life by weaving a fictional family's story through historical fact. There were so many good parts...the romance between Natalie and Byron, Pug and Pamela...thrilling parts like the invasion of Poland, the Blitz, behind the lines on the Western Front. Interesting and sometimes shocking facts about the world leaders at the time. It's a great listen. Long and juicy!
I thought Kevin was excellent! He has quite the talent for voices and accents. He made it that much more enjoyable. Will be looking for more of his work.
Yes...the atrocities committed during that time is extremely upsetting. How a lunatic could weild such power is beyond comprehension...but it did happen.
On to War and Rememberance....
This sprawling epic follows a group of fictional characters - a family - through a painstakingly researched recreation of the events leading up to the Second World War, in Winds of War, the first volume, and up through the end of the war in the second volume, War and Remembrance. The historical sequence, the actions of world leaders, and the events of the war are detailed and factual, but the main characters and their places in those events are fictional. It's a brilliant device to bring the history we think we know to life, and grounds momentous events in the humanity of individuals trying to cope with the total upheaval of a worldwide conflict and the unimaginable horror of events like the rise of Hitler, the Pearl Harbor attack, the Atomic Bomb, and the Holocaust.
The Audible production is truly a masterful interpretation of a masterwork, primarily due to the monumental work of Kevin Pariseau. He handles a huge cast of characters, with a m??lange of accents - Russian, British, German, Yiddish, Italian, French, several American dialects, and more - with convincing ease, but it was the singing as multiple characters that put the icing on it for me. When Udom sang to the crowd at Theresienstadt before being sent off on the train to Auschwitz, it tore my heart out.
I read these books to gain a deeper grasp of my father's generation, of the sacrifices they made, and of the events that shaped their world view. I came away with so much more than that. My faith in humanity was restored.
I regret all my previous five-star ratings and reviews. Nothing is as good as "The Winds of War." Except perhaps, for its sequel, "War and Remembrance." The plot lines are intricate. The characters are conflicted; right and wrong are constantly pulling at them. The backdrop is World War II. Author Herman Wouk puts everything together and the end result is literature's greatest historical novel(s).
But the greatness does not end with the writing; it does not end with the story itself. Narrator Kevin Pariseau also brings his art to new heights. Not only does he give each and every character a distinct voice, he gives those voices depth of emotion and maturity as the story unfolds. His women's voices actually sound like women speaking. And when the novel calls for singing, he breaks into perfect song. A tour de force of voice acting.
You cannot go wrong with "Winds of War" and "War and Remembrance."
Written before the fall of the Soviet Union it interesting to hear some of that old ideology about communism and the Soviet Block states. For those of you under the age of 55 it an interesting introspective of how your parent viewed the world. Remember also that a flood of historical documents have been released from both the Soviet Union and the USA which strengthen arguments for WWII, or at least clarify the reasons.
I willl never listen to another book by Kevin Pariseau. This was so awful, I wish I would not have wasted the credits. Quite a disappointment because I had waited for years for this book and the sequel from Audible. John Lee or George Guidall should be the narrator. I will not be purchasing the sequel.
I read both books years ago and watched the mini-series. I liked the history.
The narration runs together. Cannot tell when a description ends and the
This is a great book for anyone interested in the history of WWII. This and it's sequel War and Remembrance are the best historical novels I have ever read or listened to. That being said these books are a bit soapy but the narrative is strong all the was through. Kevin Pariseau does an excellent job. Other then Scott Brick he is the best story teller I have heard in 15 years of listening to audio books ( use to live in Houston, TRAFFIC, 2 hour commute a day!!!) He really brings the characters to life. Highly recommended!!!
A challenge for anyone writing a story based on historical facts and events is that the reader essentially knows how it will end; the key to success, in my humble opinion, is to illuminate some unknown, intriguing, or original aspect of that history that will add to our appreciation. Winds of War begins by raising two interesting (although hardly original) questions: how could a civilized country like Germany descend into such madness? and, how did Hitler get away with it for so long? (in Wouk's telling, the Allies didn't get their act together until the Nazi invasion of Norway). Unfortunately,once raised, the story doesn't explore these questions in any depth, which is a shame. Winds of War unfolds as a kind of Greatest Hits of WWII narrative (the Holocaust! the Blitzkrieg! Pearl Harbor! the A-bomb!) from the perspective of Navy Captain Victor Henry and his family. I had trouble working up any interest in the Henrys and their entourage; the characters are shallow and one-dimensional. "That Churchill fellow gave a pretty good speech last night" is about as deep as it gets. One thing that troubled me no end: neither Henry nor his annoying wife, Rhoda, ever question the morality of their living in the SS-appropriated home of a Jewish family that is clearly destined for Auschwitz.
About mid-way through Winds of War, it occurred to me that plunging into a good, general history of WWII would be considerably more interesting than Wouk's fictionalized version--not to mention the many great works of fiction set during that time period (two of my favorites are Erich Maria Remarque and Irene Nemirovsky) that plunge the reader into a Europe turned upside down and force us to confront that most disturbing of moral dilemmas: what would YOU do in this situation? would you act any differently? And there are so many fascinating, real-life stories from WWII that can't be topped by any fiction (read Studs Terkel, The Good War). Winds of War just doesn't measure up, I'm sorry to have wasted an audible credit on it.
Its not my usual genre but I found it entertaining and absorbing. I felt like I knew how things were back then. The characters were well written and complex.
While unbelievably long, detailed, even mundane at times, this book is the best way imaginable to digest the history of the era leading up to America's entry into World War II. Herman Wouk's work is amazingly detailed, and provides so many different perspectives into the global climate that produced "the winds of war." My parents were of the WWII era, I lived one year in Germany (1968), and visited Pearl Harbor, and I was a history major in college. This book is real, humbling, eye-opening and passionate. It is a perfect summation of all I have read, heard, and seen of the juxtaposition of people, places, and politics that forever changed the World.
After weeks of having Mr. Wouk and Mr. Pariseau (who is nothing short of brilliant) in my car with me - I'm looking forward to more by diving into "War and Remembrance".