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The Winds of War | [Herman Wouk]

The Winds of War

Herman Wouk's sweeping epic of World War II 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.
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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

4.4 (2669 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Kathy Davis, CA, United States 02-24-13
    Kathy Davis, CA, United States 02-24-13 Member Since 2008

    Newly retired, I am a reading fiend! I like many types of books, both fiction and non-fiction, with the exception of romance and fantasy

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Everything going for it--superb!"

    I put off listening to it WoW due to the sheer length of the book. It intimidated me and I wondered how I could listen to one book for so long. However, I am on a quest to know all I can about this second World War and how it came about. I began the book thinking that I would eventually finish it and reward myself with a book of pure fluff, thereafter.

    I was blown away by the story, the character development, the variety of characters, and the real feel to the story. It is so much more than just historical fiction. I felt like the characters became family members or old friends, and I really cared about what happened to them. Herman Wouk is a great novelist.

    And, I must add, the narrator, Kevin Pariseau, is spectacular. He deserves 10 stars! I am so glad he was chosen to narrate this book, as he does a masterful job of capturing the characters, their accents, and the women's voices. He is truly a master of narration.

    As I progressed through the book, I started imagining which "fun" book I would choose next. As I got closer and closer to the end, I began to think that maybe I should just go on to War and Remembrance, as I did not want to leave the story and characters. I really want to know how they fare as the war rolls on. This is good stuff. This is a wonderful way to learn about our last world war, and we owe it to ourselves to know what actually happened. Only if people know what really happened can they avoid repeating history. At least, that is what I believe.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rebecca brentwood, CA, United States 07-21-12
    Rebecca brentwood, CA, United States 07-21-12 Member Since 2007

    Daily Dog Walker and LONG Silicon Valley commutes, so I gulp through and love lotsa books, especially literary fiction and Mystery.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Storytelling + History = Worth the time!"
    Would you listen to The Winds of War again? Why?

    Probably not! But that's not a slam, it's a saga, but not...an Epic


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

    Michener's books


    What about Kevin Pariseau’s performance did you like?

    Excellent command of multiple characters/intonations - superb actor


    If you could rename The Winds of War, what would you call it?

    Wouldn't. It's a good name.


    Any additional comments?

    Brought pre-World War II and beginning of World War II to life through eyes and hearts of one family, making what seems already ancient and long ago deeply personal. An excellent introduction to the era from a very American family/set of eyes.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarah Philadelphia, PA, United States 11-15-11
    Sarah Philadelphia, PA, United States 11-15-11 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "splendid narration"

    I have enjoyed the story so much: Wouk combined interesting, engaging characters with fantastically well-researched historical information, described in an approachable way. The narration takes this production to the next level, though; Kevin Pariseau gets the accents, personalities, and even the songs down pat. Wonderful. I went through the first 24 hours of the book in no time, shocking myself every time I reached the end of an 8-hr section and had to download the next!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Margaret Campbell Palm Coast, FL USA 11-14-11
    Margaret Campbell Palm Coast, FL USA 11-14-11 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Just The Way I Remembered It!"

    I read this book when it first came out over 30 years ago and I enjoyed listening to these 45 hours just as much as I enjoyed reading it back then. A delightful family saga with the added bonus of making you feel like you were right there during all the events leading up to World War II. Hopefully Audible will follow quickly with the sequel...........War and Remembrance.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Delmar ALBUQUERQUE, NM, United States 11-10-11
    Delmar ALBUQUERQUE, NM, United States 11-10-11 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good overview of history leading up to WWII"

    A very good audio book. Having read the book, in print, and seen the movie, I was able to concentrate a little more on the major historical events--apart from the story line. Interesting conflicts in viewpoints by the German General in his historical perspectives from that of an American Naval Officer, Victor Henry. Thoroughly enjoyed the book and wish that Audiobooks would also do War and Remembrance--which covers the rest of WWII. I believe "Winds of War" would be a great book to put on the reading liist of today's high school students for a more personal view of events, attitudes and personalities, and how the world political situation prior to, and at the beginning of WWII has shaped todays world.

    3 of 3 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 2007
    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.

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Judith Mesa, AZ 10-31-11
    Judith Mesa, AZ 10-31-11
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    "Great"

    All I can say is, I loved this novel. I read it 30 years ago and enjoyed it as much from Audible. Great performance.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike From Mesa Mesa, AZ 01-07-12
    Mike From Mesa Mesa, AZ 01-07-12 Member Since 2003

    MikeFromMesa

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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 2011
    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
  •  
    Phillip Arlington, TX 01-10-14
    Phillip Arlington, TX 01-10-14 Member Since 2012
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    "Masterful work of historical fiction"

    This is one of the top 5 Audible books I have read/listened to. Wouk does a masterful job of creating fully realized characters who are geographically positioned in such a way that we are offered an almost comprehensive view of the years leading to the outbreak of World War II in both the West and the East. The only aspect that we are not privy to is that of the Sino-Japanese front.

    The majority of the story is told through the eyes of the Henry and Jastrow families. The patriarch of the Henry family, Victor, is a high-ranking Naval officer and is thus able to traverse the globe in his military duties from Germany to Washington to London, the Soviet Union and Hawaii and so offer the reader a glimpse of the unique situation in each of these locales from 1938-1942. In addition, his son, Byron, and the Jastrow family give us an eyewitness account of both Italy under Mussolini and the outbreak of the war in Poland. And the Jastrow's also offer a Jewish point-of-view of the series of events leading up to World War II and the beginnings of the Holocaust in Eastern Europe.

    Between sections of the main narrative, Wouk also adds excerpts of a book he titles "World Holocaust" which was written by the fictional General Armin von Roon, a Wehrmacht officer, and translated by Victor Henry. These excerpts give the battlefield conditions of each theater of operations as we progress through the years of World War II. It is a brilliant device that ties the story of the main characters and their narrow scope of events to the broad, global scope of the war that threatens the entire globe.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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