A masterpiece of historical fiction, this is the Great Novel of America's "Greatest Generation".
Herman Wouk's sweeping epic of World War II, which begins with The Winds of War and continues in War and Remembrance, stands as the crowning achievement of one of America's most celebrated storytellers. Like no other books about the war, Wouk's spellbinding narrative captures the tide of global events - and all the drama, romance, heroism, and tragedy of World War II - as it immerses us in the lives of a single American family drawn into the very center of the war's maelstrom.
Also listen to War and Remembrance.
©1971 Herman Wouk (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
"Wouk's real genius lies not just in the narrative power of his books, but in his empathy with the people and the times of which he writes…. The genius of The Winds of War and War and Remembrance is that they not only tell the story of the Holocaust, but tell it within the context of World War II, without which there is no understanding it." (The Washington Post)
I don't know about you, but why are there so so so many 5 star reviews. I LOVE books, but so few are 5 star.
Someone wrote that the book was dated... I'm not sure how that applies to a book written in 1971 about the beginning of WWII, dialog, attitudes and most especially gender roles were different. I was born in the late sixties and did not find it to be dated.
This was an excellent story full of detail and history, mostly accurate with a little poetic license. It brought home the reality that although the means of war change with technology, the fact of war is never as simple as good versus evil. The winners write the history books. There is much evil in the world, but sometimes we don't take action because of, maybe despite it.
Even for a non politico like me, the book was engrossing. Excellent narration.
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.
I read this when it came out. For years, I gave this book with War and Remembrance as gifts and never came across anyone who didn't share my love of this story.
The history is fascinating, though it definitely has a point of view and you may disagree with some interpretation of events.
The narrator does a great job. When I first started, I felt he didn't get Pug right, but as I went along, I warmed to his interpretation.
I can't recommend this enough, it is worthy of six stars in every category.
I don't know when I've enjoyed a book more. This is a really interesting book with multiple plot lines. I've listened to a LOT of WWII history. This brought the first part of the war to life. I hope Audible has War and Remembrance soon.
I liked this book so much that I ordered the mini-series so I can watch it.
I seem to fit in the same demographic as many other reviewers of this book. I first read it about 40 years ago when it was released and then saw the made-for-TV movie. In the intervening years I had forgotten how well Herman Wouk wrote (as of today he is still alive but no longer writing) and how well drawn and compelling the main characters of the book are.
The story, of course, is that of a naval family drawn into the start of World War II up to the point of America's entry into the war. As a vehicle for telling the story of the period up to the Pearl Harbor attack the main character, "Pug" Henry, ends up being assigned to posts that have him, or members of his family, at important places during important times. Thus we get to see vignettes of Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Joesph Stalin and Adolph Hitler as well as those around all of them.
The characters are compelling, the events were real, the story well-drawn and important and the family large enough to have members scattered around the globe and seeing events from many different perspectives. This is a first class book, extremely well read and highly recommended.
I am a retired Dressmaker living in a village in semi-rural Ohio.
I love epic histories that follow families over a period of time, and this one was exceptionable.
Definitely Victor Henry. But the narrator did an excellent job with all the characters, especially since there were so many different accents involved.
I was on pins and needles to see who would make it through Pearl Harbor.
This book covers the events leading up to the United States involvement in WWII. It is not dry history. Although some historical narrative is necessary to provide the backdrop to what the characters are going through, the author handles it with a unique method that makes it much more interesting.
I am going to jump the gun here, because I have not yet listened to this, but I recommended it to Audible some time back, and I am thrilled that it is now available. I am writing this review early, because I want to encourage Audible listeners to purchase it immediately. This book and its sequel, "War and Remembrance," are stunning works of historical fiction. I very much hope Audible is preparing the sequel. Thank you, Audible, for listening to your customers!
I usually get books that are relatively new, but I've been on an historical fiction bent lately and recently completed some WW2-era best sellers, so I figured I'd try this one. I'm so glad I did. I went straight from this one to the sequel, War and Remembrance. About 100 hours, but I savored every minute of it. Wouk creates wonderfully full characters and weaves them through the run-up to WW2. Masterfully done. And Kevin Pariseau was the perfect choice for narrator. Each character was consistently voiced and unique. Made listening a pleasure. I was very happy to see that he was also the narrator for War and Remembrance.
Top Five of all time
I am really enjoying Ken Follett's Century trilogy, but this surpassed.
I have not, but would rank him equal with Jon Lee
This is simply a must read. I switch between the kindle and audible copy (with some challenges) to enhance the experiences.
This is very well done and is a classic and is narrated by Kevin Pariseau. This is a good one for only 1 credit!
"Winds of War"
An absolutely amazing book! This is meticulously researched historically and a must read for anyone. I was never interested in the history and facts of WW II even though five uncles served. My father served as a Captain in the Medical Corps in the Pacific. I wish he was still alive. I have so many questions I wish I could ask. I guarantee even if you don't like "war stories" this book will have you hanging on every word. Thanks Audible!
I have loved every minute over this incredibly long book!! My ipod earphones have been glued into my ears for days...I now fear there may be permanent damage. Despite that fact this book is over 45 hours long, it still rockets along nicely.
My one tiny issue is the narrator's attempt at some English accents, but hey, my New York accent is appalling!!!
I would strongly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in WW2 novels.
Compelling.. there is so much in this book to digest that it will have to be reread, it will be no hardship. I thought I was pretty knowledgeable on the WWII but I was wrong, and it was so refreshing to see it from different POV's, it only takes you up to Pearl Harbour so looking forward to the next one in series... recommended.. the type of novel that does not get old or out of date, wonderful wish I had read it years ago.. I know it will stay with me in many years to come.
"I can listen this book again & again"
Magnificently read by Kevin Pariseau, this history of the second world war as seen by Americans through the lives of an American family and their English friends was a great experience. The characters came alive and you feel their hopes, loses, happiness and sorrows.
"A view from a different angle."
A history af the run up to and the beginning of the second world war from the American viewpoint. up to thethe forced entry of the USA Into the conflict. Telling of the crucial mistakes of the leaders that contributed to the outcome.
"An epic story of love and war"
I remember reading this book many years ago and was delighted to see it appear here as an audio book. I was concerned that my memories of Victor 'Pug' Henry and his family would not be as I remembered but I was not disapointed. Beautifully told and a joy to listen to. I would recommend this to both people with a love a huge sweeping stories and anyone interested in our recent history,
"Well researched, but not well written"
I am in two minds about this book. The research and detail were brilliant, but the writing style is stilted. Conversations don't sound like real people. Almost all of the characters come across as synthetic. Having said that, I did enjoy listening to it. Maybe a better narrator would have helped.
"Reader only so-so but story surmounts it"
This is a bargain listen, worth every minute. It's a fascinating story. For me the reader is only so-so. His voices are not very individual so if your attention wanders you can lost track of who is speaking. And his accents are not very good - Englishmen saying "Toodur" and so forth. But the tale overcomes these irritations.
"Best book in a while"
Loved it, great story but even better narrator. Really brought the story to life. Will recommend to friends and I can't wait to read the second part.
This is a wonderful book which I have read many times. Kevin Pariseau's narration is outstanding.
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