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The Winds of War Audiobook
The Winds of War
Written by: 
Herman Wouk
Narrated by: 
Kevin Pariseau
 >   > 
The Winds of War Audiobook

The Winds of War

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Audible Editor Reviews

Why we think it's Essential - Has any lengthy, sweeping epic ever felt more personal than The Winds of War? Kevin Pariseau helps the listener inhabit the events and relationships of this massive and beautifully-told story with a palette of vividly imagined characters, each with a well-defined voice and perfect accent. His transcendent performance makes the hours fly, but don't worry - when the book ends you can still enjoy more with the sequel, War and Remembrance. —David

Publisher's Summary

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.

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (3773 )
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4.6 (3266 )
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4.6 (3252 )
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Timothy 03-04-13
    Timothy 03-04-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Perhaps a bit dated..."

    I love historical fiction but this one just didn't work for me. Perhaps because I recently finished the first two volumes of Ken Follet's new trilogy (Fall of Titans, Winter of the World), which are in a completely different class. I'm sure that Wouk's book made fascinating reading in the period shortly after World War II, but now it's just a little flat and probably dated. The characterization is on the level of Bonanza or The Waltons, and I just couldn't find it in myself to be interested in these shallow and really rather uninteresting people, particularly since the focus is so much more on their story than on the actual history of the War.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bebe El Dorado, AR, United States 11-02-11
    Bebe El Dorado, AR, United States 11-02-11 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A good old-fashioned historical epic novel"

    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.

    19 of 23 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike From Mesa 01-07-12 Member Since 2015

    MikeFromMesa

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I had forgotten"

    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.

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Connie Lebanon, Ohio, United States 10-24-11
    Connie Lebanon, Ohio, United States 10-24-11 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Very enjoyable"
    What did you like best about this story?

    I love epic histories that follow families over a period of time, and this one was exceptionable.


    Which character – as performed by Kevin Pariseau – was your favorite?

    Definitely Victor Henry. But the narrator did an excellent job with all the characters, especially since there were so many different accents involved.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I was on pins and needles to see who would make it through Pearl Harbor.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lee Blue Anchor, NJ, United States 11-03-11
    Lee Blue Anchor, NJ, United States 11-03-11 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "one of the best books I've ever read"

    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.

    12 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John-Mark Stensvaag 10-18-11

    John-Mark

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Stunning Novel by a Great Writer"

    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!

    49 of 64 people found this review helpful
  •  
    W. Brooks Seattle, WA United States 06-04-15
    W. Brooks Seattle, WA United States 06-04-15 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wow. A great book"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan Somerville, MA, United States 09-06-14
    Ryan Somerville, MA, United States 09-06-14 Member Since 2005

    Gen-Xer, software engineer, and lifelong avid reader. Soft spots for sci-fi, fantasy, and history, but I'll read anything good.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2515
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    "Epic historical drama"

    At over 100 hours, this audiobook and its sequel are a commitment, a 20th century War and Peace. Over 2000 pages, Herman Wouk spins both a family saga and a sort of “bearing witness” document, a detailed history of World War Two that leaves no one excused for humanity’s greatest calamity (so far) and the many acts of blindness on both sides that allowed it to unfold as it did

    The fictional narrative centers around an American naval family headed by one Victor “Pug” Henry, a stolid, unpretentious career officer of classic mold. Yearning for a battleship command, Victor is instead sent to be the US’s naval attache in 1939 Berlin, at a time well before most Americans had any desire to get embroiled in another European mess. Because of his thorough reports, Victor finds himself coming to the attention of FDR, who makes him a high-powered informal go-between. Meanwhile, Victor’s two sons have their own stories -- one training as a Navy pilot, while the other “finds himself” in Italy, where he gets involved with a Jewish author and his lovely, headstrong niece. These two, trapped in Europe, become significant viewpoint characters in their own right. Others enter the narrative, too, including Victor’s wife, who is beginning to chafe at the sacrifices of being a Navy wife, and his daughter, who takes a job at a NYC radio station. While most of the action happens behind the lines, we do get a few tastes of the shooting war.

    Wouk’s style is a bit nostalgic, but the characters are well-written and credible. For all the contrivances in the plot -- such as Victor managing to meet Hitler, FDR, Churchill, *and* Stalin -- Wouk makes us believe that such path-crossings were plausible. Maybe one family wasn’t in so many places, but history did have plenty of small actors who played such roles. In any case, the small details of the characters’ thoughts and actions give events a full, living color. Sometimes Wouk pulls the camera back and explains in a clear, compelling way what was happening on the broader stage, which was a counterpoint that appealed to me, since the protagonists seldom have all the facts themselves. It’s to his credit that almost nothing feels irrelevant -- personalities and family lives seem to dovetail neatly into greater events and vice-versa.

    No, Herman Wouk isn’t Tolstoy, but he’s certainly a writer with a strong grasp of the forces of history, gentle insight into human behavior, the ability to connect small-scale events with large ones, and a storyteller’s gift for putting it all in familiar terms, through the eyes of some memorable characters.

    What pleased me most about this book, though, and a big reason for my enthusiastic recommendation, is its absence of simplistic rah-rah patriotism. Instead, Wouk soberly examines the causes of the war and the dangers of nationalism and ideology. He also notes the hypocrisies of British and American imperialism, and the self-absorbed apathy of both countries in the face of fascism’s self-image of surety. One of the most fascinating features of the novel is the inclusion of the memoirs of a German general, translated decades after the war by Pug himself. There’s a creepy familiarity to his critiques of the “decadent” West, and one begins to remember that evil is often rationalized away, sometime quite convincingly, by those who worship strength and power. This mattered at the time the author was writing, around the height of the Vietnam War, and it matters now.

    Ultimately, this novel and its sequel are a rich mix of intimate and broad-scale human themes, 20th century history, and wistful nostalgia for a time when the American middle class family embodied all that was hopeful. Audiobook narrator Kevin Pariseau rises to the occasion, with some impressive imitations of certain famous figures, a range of accents, and a narration voice that has both friendliness and gravity. Put the sequel on standby, because you’ll want to know what happens next.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jerry Austin, TX USA 01-21-13
    Jerry Austin, TX USA 01-21-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Absolutely amazing w/ equally amazing performance"
    Where does The Winds of War rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Top Five of all time


    What other book might you compare The Winds of War to and why?

    I am really enjoying Ken Follett's Century trilogy, but this surpassed.


    Have you listened to any of Kevin Pariseau’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have not, but would rank him equal with Jon Lee


    Any additional comments?

    This is simply a must read. I switch between the kindle and audible copy (with some challenges) to enhance the experiences.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John bakersfield, CA, United States 12-24-11
    John bakersfield, CA, United States 12-24-11 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    34
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    "Well done"

    This is very well done and is a classic and is narrated by Kevin Pariseau. This is a good one for only 1 credit!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Rachel
    Ireland
    11/22/12
    Overall
    "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!

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Julie
    Worcester, United Kingdom
    11/11/12
    Overall
    "Incredible!!!!"

    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.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • sharon
    Falmouth, United Kingdom
    7/15/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Absolutely Wonderful.."

    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.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Irene
    London, United Kingdom
    5/5/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • James
    United Kingdom
    4/7/13
    Overall
    "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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs. J. L. Reed
    12/23/12
    Overall
    "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,

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    2/7/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Lynne
    New Quay, United Kingdom
    12/23/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • StuartS
    4/20/16
    Overall
    "Great narration"

    This is a wonderful book which I have read many times. Kevin Pariseau's narration is outstanding.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dot
    9/20/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great book"

    A must listen didn't want to stop listening to it.
    2nd book is a must too.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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