Engineer the Bass Player
This book is a bit of a mess. It mixes parts that read like a popular history of the war with parts of a novel (written in the past tense) with other parts that are written like a silent movie (with no dialogue in the present tense) along with lots of big epistolary chunks. It's as if Wouk could not decide what he wanted to write and so wrote everything. The result is that there are better histories and better novels. This whole mess is made worse by the narrator who makes most of the male characters sound either arrogant or stodgy and whose reading of the narration is frustratingly melodramatic. Overall, I'm glad I got through it (and it was a struggle) since I suppose it is considered a "modern classic", but I'll never pick it up again in audio or paper format. I'll also avoid books read by this narrator.
Increasing my ops tempo by allowing storytellers to whisper in my ear(buds).
This is the less a sequel to The Winds of War than it is part two of one huge novel. The account of the Henry family is laid out here. I found this book to be less significant than the first volume. The people are so driven by their romantic passions, both in and outside the bounds of marriage that is becomes a bit of a Soap Opera for the greatest generation. I found the Henry saga to be tedious.
The inexorable march toward the Jewish Holocaust is excruciatingly slow and tragic. But the result, for some of the main characters, is so oft foreshadowed that the culmination is entirely anti-climatic.
As in the previous volume, Wouk intersperses historical sections liberally through the novel. He has constructed several imaginary historical works from which to quote to allow him to promote his historical opinion. Victor Henry reads lengthy sections from his translation of the memoirs of a German General. And we are also treated to the musings of Aaron Jastrow through his journal entries as he slips further and further into the Nazi concentration camp system.
I knew this was a long book when I began, and so did not expect a rapid pace, but I eventually tired of following the adventures of the main characters. Once my fascination for the fictional characters ws lost the book became a slog.
Kevin Pariseau is again excellent possessing a wide range of male character voices. He is somewhat limited in his expression of the female voice but manages to make them sound distinctive, if not convincing.
First, an incredible performance!! I would easily give it a 10+ if possible. The story as historical fiction is beyond words. The characters are so well developed and very credible. I learned much about the war that I did not know. Overall, listening to this was an incredible, deeply moving experience although very difficult to listen to at times, especially the portrayal of the atrocities in the death camps. The world must never forget this horrible war and all of the gore.
Learn much about WWII and enjoy an engaging story simultaneously. What could be better? My only criticism is minor: Mr. Pariseau's voice has a pleasing sound, and he does a fine job with diction, pronunciation and accents, but he isn't always conscientious about emphasizing key words in the sentences he's reading. He could do a better job of illuminating meaning. The listener is forced to do a bit of that work for him. Still, I highly recommend this audiobook.
and a penny for your thoughts
"Winds of War" and "War and Remembrance" are two books that have been on my reading list for years but I just never seemed to get to. Finally, thanks to audible and Kevin Pariseau's wonderful narration, I had an even better experience than reading it myself.
I won't recount the plot. The publishers summary does that and I hate it when people print spoilers. I will say that Wouk's story is a wonderful way to experience history using factual data told through the experience of a fictional character. The characters were interesting, the story well told and all in all I highly recommend it.
Extraordinary saga - engaging and historically accurate. Kudos to Herman Wouk for his sensitive reminder of why we need to remember the holocaust. Beautifully narrated by K. Pariseau.
An unbelievable performance by Kevin Pariseau, that has to be heard to be believed, brings to life a story that has everything. History, tragedy, love, loss and victory. An awful war... Thank god we won. Perhaps the only war ever worth fighting.
Very thorough, emotional, vivid, and historically accurate epic scaling the entire war through the main characters' eyes.
Highly recommended if you love WWII history, and both books are well written.