In the past month, I have waded through both Winds of War and War and Remembrance. I suppose preferences for narrators are highly personal, but I cannot understand any of the objections to Kevin Pariseau. I found his work delightful, with particular regard for the voice he assigns Pug Henry. With dozens of voices in an epic of this magnitude, Pariseau makes each character recognizably new.
The quality of Wouk's fiction is unimpeachable. The epilogue clarifies historical points and the specific points at which the fiction digresses from history. Within the genre of historical fiction, this work commands both respect and engagement of the reader.
This book, and the first, are enthralling works of literature - each character, each story line, each word - simply outstanding. The performer is as magnificent as the writer. Worth every minute.
This second and final book in Wouk's series is easily as engrossing and mesmerizing as the first. With detailed character development, some twists you expect, others you don't, it was hard to stop listening. There is so much that has already been said about this novel that I doubt I could add anything of value. What I would like to comment on is the narration. I think I'd enjoy listening to Kevin Pariseau read the phone book. This was by far the best narration in an audiobook I have ever heard. The voices he used for each of the characters was magnificent without ever becoming cheesy and how he kept track of all them and kept them separate, I have no idea. His narration helps the listener fall into an ease of experience as if you were actually there talking to and interacting with characters heroic and villainous alike. I truly have never been more impressed with an audiobook performance and could not rate this story or narration as high as it deserves. Simply outstanding.
Herman Wouk and Kevin Pariseau are simply an unbeatable combo. They combined to make this the best listening experience I've had in my five years with Audible.
I must add that you need to read Winds of War first, as that is part one of the story/history. I chose to read these books in my ongoing attempt to try to comprehend how a monster such as Hitler could have arisen and caused so much carnage. I shutter to think that if I or my family lived in Europe during his reign, we would likely have been eradicated, too. I previously read The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. I hoped that reading Wouk's books would give me a different perspective on how individual lives were affected.
Wouk's characters were wonderfully developed and acted in believable ways. I really cared what happened to them. I enjoyed how he interwove the individual stories, particularly the way he quoted from books purported to be written at the time (Von Roon and Jastro.) While this is considered historical fiction, the historical parts are true to what happened with most of the major players in the war. This is all explained by the author after the ending of the book.
Kevin Pariseau surpassed anything I have experienced from a narrator. I could immediately tell which character was speaking and it seemed, he never slipped up. He added so much to the telling of this story. I never felt the book lagged or slowed down. I savored every moment of this listening experience.
I would highly recommend this book (and Winds of War) to all readers, even if you think a war story is not your cup of tea. I keep hoping that the more we know of our world's history, the less chance we have of repeating our most egregious mistakes.
I thought I would really like this book especially since I read some of the reviews before I bought it. Yes, it is an accurate account of WWII but what I found irritating was some of the character's behavior. Too much of a soap opera. Everyone is cheating on their spouses. A mother loses her son in Mid-Way, and then in the next chapter she's gushing about meeting movie stars and shopping in Hollywood! I almost stopped listening a few times but decided to tough it out. Except for the historical events, I wouldn't recommend this book unless you like cheesy romance novels.
I listened to Winds of War followed immediately by this War and Remembrance. This meant over 100 hours of story. The time passed so quickly and I would often find myself sitting in the car at the end of my driving listening to the story rather than getting out of the car.
Fantastic story telling, brilliant narrator and a history lesson unlike any I had experienced before. All the characters - both likeable or not - were real and vivid. Story telling at its very best. I highly recommend it.
Taken together, Winds of War and War and Remembrance are an enormous undertaking which succeeds marvelously. I read these books when I was much younger and I liked them a lot. Today I like them even more. At the risk of being hyperbolic, I think these are the best stories about war I've ever read. I have no reservations about recommending them. They are a marvel of modern storytelling.
Special thanks to the narrator, Kevin Pariseau, who is terrific. Pariseau is a varsity player, up there with Jim Dale, John Lee, Scott Brick, Lou Diamond Phillips, Barabara Rosenblatt, Davina Porter, and Ed Hermann.
This book is a masterpiece! It is a learning experience, wrapped up in a good story... Exciting, interesting, heart-rending... I just couldn't wait for my next "session". I listened to it while commuting, doing my yoga, painting, cleaning, picking berries... It was 55 hours of GREAT entertainment! Some people might find the battle details a bit boring, but I enjoyed them because I learned so much about WW II, and the forgotten heroes.
The narrator was incredible! He did accents from Roosevelt's, Churchill's, Hitler's, Stalin's, and Polish, Russian, German, British, Southern,.... I was so impressed, I just wanted to shake his hand and congratulate him personally! Haha!
The Winds of War, and this sequel, War and Remembrance stand out among the great books of the 20th century... The don't make 'em like that anymore... If you have the attention span for a great work, this is it!
This book has it all, a great story, characters you care for, great narration, and a great history lesson.