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Winter of the World | [Ken Follett]

Winter of the World

Five linked families live out their destinies as the world is shaken by tyranny and war in the mid-20th century. Berlin in 1933 is in upheaval. Eleven-year-old Carla von Ulrich struggles to understand the tensions disrupting her family as Hitler strengthens his grip on Germany. Into this turmoil step her mother’s formidable friend and former British MP, Ethel Leckwith, and her student son, Lloyd, who soon learns for himself the brutal reality of Nazism.
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Publisher's Summary

Five linked families live out their destinies as the world is shaken by tyranny and war in the mid-20th century. Berlin in 1933 is in upheaval. Eleven-year-old Carla von Ulrich struggles to understand the tensions disrupting her family as Hitler strengthens his grip on Germany. Into this turmoil step her mother’s formidable friend and former British MP, Ethel Leckwith, and her student son, Lloyd, who soon learns for himself the brutal reality of Nazism.

He also encounters a group of Germans resolved to oppose Hitler - but are they willing to go so far as to betray their country? Such people are closely watched by Volodya, a Russian with a bright future in Red Army Intelligence. The international clash of military power and personal beliefs that ensues will sweep over them all as it ranges from Cable Street in London’s East End to Pearl Harbour in Hawaii, from Spain to Stalingrad, from Dresden to Hiroshima.

At Cambridge Lloyd is irresistibly drawn to dazzling American socialite Daisy Peshkov, who represents everything his left-wing family despise. But Daisy is more interested in aristocratic Boy Fitzherbert - amateur pilot, party lover, and leading light of the British Union of Fascists. Back in Berlin, Carla worships golden boy Werner from afar. But nothing will work out the way they expect as their lives and the hopes of the world are smashed by the greatest and cruellest war in the history of the human race.

Winter of the World is the second novel in Ken Follett’s uniquely ambitious and deeply satisfying trilogy The Century. On its own or read in sequence with Fall of Giants, this is a magnificent, spellbinding epic of global conflict and personal drama.

©2012 Ken Follett (P)2012 Penguin US/Macmillan Digital Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (205 )
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  •  
    sherry Salamina, Greece 01-29-13
    sherry Salamina, Greece 01-29-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    3
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    "Ken Follett...need I say more?"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Definitely. It is an interesting tale, woven thru WWII history, told thru the eyes of very real and vivid characters.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I learned so much about the facts behind the facts of WWII.


    What about John Lee’s performance did you like?

    I usually prefer to hear a man reading; I don't know why, but there it is. John Lee has a strong easy to listen to voice.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    lloyd mollymook, Australia 01-25-13
    lloyd mollymook, Australia 01-25-13
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    "ALONZO"

    A book easily read, my first Kollett book. I will certainly read others. The characters, as well as the times are well drawn.. Whilst I generally thought the book met all criteria as far as entertainment went, I felt there were times that it dragged perhaps it is to long and at times a little to much detail. Was I pleased to have bought it?, certainly, would I recommend purchase? very much so.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joon USA 01-08-13
    Joon USA 01-08-13 Member Since 2011
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    "A solid follow up to Fall of Giants"

    I read it almost immediately after Fall of Giants. Maybe for that reason, the characters came alive and more vivid. I could get a better feel for the period and the circumstances surrounding some momentous events in WW2 than any history books.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Phil Wollongong West, Australia 12-28-12
    Phil Wollongong West, Australia 12-28-12 Member Since 2012
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    4
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    "Not bad, but not Follett's best work"
    Any additional comments?

    This was an ok effort but not Follett's best work. The narration was high quality and the accents helped keep track of the characters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brodie Mornington, Australia 12-04-12
    Brodie Mornington, Australia 12-04-12 Member Since 2009

    An unashamed Audiophile who has his own studio and business called iZENEARS which brings Australian travel and history to life for locals and visitor's alike.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    166
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    Story
    "How does he do it?"

    When you have a book of four or more 'discs' you have a long tale. Migrating a positive army of characters through time and place and keeping them working is a masterful skill and Follett is indeed a master. John Lee takes a bit of getting used to but when you get into his idiosyncratic delivery it works and works well. If you are a 'boomer' from this period it will have extra resonances bringing things into focus often not explored in period specific books. If you like modern history that is tweeked with a reasonable amount of literary spice licence then put this on your list.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brian BALMORAL,Brisbane Australia 11-13-12
    Brian BALMORAL,Brisbane Australia 11-13-12
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    "Excellent Entertainment"

    This is a great story. Ken Follett's stories are magnificent, the characters woven with the history is so stimulating. I really liked the interweaving of the cultures, nationality and classes. The children of the characters of the first book grow and take centre stage.

    I really like the way Audio books makes really large books accessible, I used to find them daunting , now I enjoy the alone times in cars, in motels, doing the washing and ironing and sharing the time with "my friends" in these long wonderful stories ...

    If you read the first ... you cannot miss this one.

    Brian

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nicola 10-29-12
    Nicola 10-29-12 Member Since 2011
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    2
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    "Enjoyable and addictive Ken Follett epic"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. It's a stand alone, although nice if you have read the first one. It draws you in following all the interwoven characters.


    What other book might you compare Winter of the World to and why?

    I'm not sure anything can compare to Pillars of the Earth but it is similar.


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

    John Lee always does a great job. It wouldn't be the same to listen to anyone else read a Ken Follett!


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I certainly laughed and had a tear in my eye at times, but now its finished I'm missing it! Looking forward to the next instalment


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Glenhazel, South Africa 10-29-12
    David Glenhazel, South Africa 10-29-12 Member Since 2009
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    "Great read, great history, but average writing"

    If you like Ken Follett (I do) you will not be disappointed with the this continuation of Fall of Giants. It carries on with the same characters and same style; lots of historical detail, amazing coincidences where his characters by chance meet on city streets or in the midst of battle, and unfortunately many anachronisms. Still the ride is a fun one. John Lee is an excellent narrator. Each book is about 30 hours, so you need to enjoy his voice to get through them. He does the various accents and women's voices well without overdoing it or intruding into the story.

    What I think Follett does best is provide good historical background and insights into the great events of the twentieth century. I am 53 and after reading (hearing) this book I have a clearer understanding of the rise of fascism in Europe than from all my previous reading.

    The battle scenes and the romantic interludes are all rather predictable. It becomes hard to tell one from the other and the course of the relationships become so well worn that we feel we could write them for him.

    Overall, I would say that Follett appeals to the boy in us. While I have enjoyed this and the previous book tremendously, I would not recommend them to my wife, who is quite a serious reader. I can just see her turn her nose up in in distaste. Rather it takes me back to the cracking good reads of my adolescence and for that I am very grateful.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Luis SALTILLO, Mexico 09-25-12
    Luis SALTILLO, Mexico 09-25-12 Member Since 2005
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    "Nice story great narration."

    Good story, but the characters' part in most historic milestones reminds me a bit of Forrest Gump and requires some naiveté. Still, can’t wait for the last instalment.

    John Lee is a master, great narration.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 11-19 of 19 results PREVIOUS12NEXT
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  • Gabriel
    east kilbride, United Kingdom
    11/7/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Gripping 20th Century Historical Drama"
    What did you like most about Winter of the World?

    the reading and the story are superb. Really brings the 30's and 40's too life.


    What other book might you compare Winter of the World to, and why?

    I haven't listened to anything as good as this trilogy


    Which character – as performed by John Lee – was your favourite?

    Lloyd Williams


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Laugh out loud and moments of anger. Well told story that brought the horrors of 1930's Germany to life.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Denise Angela Robinson
    10/28/14
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    Story
    "An informative read"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes the book is very good, easy to get involved with the story.


    What other book might you compare Winter of the World to, and why?

    I've already read Fall of Giants which was also excellent, I haven't read anything else like it.


    Have you listened to any of John Lee’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    Only Fall of Giants, he does a great job!


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Hardly as its 36 hours long.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Bryan Davies
    8/9/14
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    Story
    "What a way to listen to History"
    What made the experience of listening to Winter of the World the most enjoyable?

    Started to listen to the book, expecting it to be a bit of a drag, But the book was divided into parts Germans, Americans, Russions and the English, it started with the start of the Nazi,es and it finished with the start of the cold War.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Winter of the World?

    The murdering of the disabled Men, Women and Children so that Hitler could have is perfect race, Pearl Harbour.


    What does John Lee bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    He puts youin the story.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It made me have a few tears


    Any additional comments?

    I once said to Audible that once i have listened to a book i need it to be removed But not this one

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Emmily
    7/7/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Brings history and the world close"
    If you could sum up Winter of the World in three words, what would they be?

    Epic living history.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I had a particular soft spot for Chuck, whose story was touching and tragic, and for Daisy who in the end reminded me more of her uncle than her father.


    Have you listened to any of John Lee’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    John Lee is a delight to listen to, as he has been in all the audiobooks of his that I've had the pleasure of hearing. Particularly impressive in the Century series is that it seems John is able to give just about every one of the numerous characters their own voice, and make them easily recognisable to the listener from only hearing the character speak.


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Where history and great stories meet.


    Any additional comments?

    Ken Follett's storytelling and John Lee's stellar performance combine to create an incredibly powerful and compelling experience that really allows the listener to actually empathise with individuals from just about every ideology and viewpoint.

    The first book, Fall of Giants, had even more magic and depth than Winter of the World, but this is certainly a very worthy sequel. I would recommend it to anyone.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • boosmummy
    Yorkshire, UK
    6/13/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Another Winner"
    Any additional comments?

    The second book in the Century Trilogy and was just as engaging and thrilling as the first. The 5 families are older and have their own offspring who now join in the story. This time the book moves alongside WW2 and it captures what ordinary people in the UK, US, Germany and Russia deal with it. Some surprising scenes that I didn't expect but the story wouldn't have been as good without them. Can't wait for book 3 to appear.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • elizabeth
    ALFORD, United Kingdom
    5/29/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Another great read"
    What made the experience of listening to Winter of the World the most enjoyable?

    John Lee is just the best narrator. He managed to continue with voices he had all ready created in the first novel and introduce a series of new ones for this.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I loved that the character focus had moved to a younger generation. Maud and her family's tale moved me the most.


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    All though Eric was only a small part character I enjoyed the opinion that his sister came to have for her brother


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes John Lee was able to magician project the words of the novel to keep you listening


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • mcchloe
    5/15/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Disappointing, cliche filled, cringe-fest"

    Having quite enjoyed "Fall of Giants" I was happy to spend one of my credits on this sequel so I wasn't expecting it to be a great work of literature. However, I found this novel took the soap-opera nature of the first book and pushed it to its trash limits resulting in a story that was almost unreadable for me. I only kept listening in the hope it would improve but it sadly didn't.

    I found the characters to be bland and one-dimensional meaning they were uninteresting and I was unmoved by their stories. I especially found "hero of the piece" Lloyd boring and couldn't really care about his storyline (especially the section in Spain) and found his eventual wife "snobby upper-class girl turned socialist" Daisy equally tedious. Their chemistry was non-existent and their relationship unbelievable.

    I understand this book is the sequel to "Fall of Giants" and as such it focuses on the next generation of characters although I couldn't help but think some of the characters from the first book were treated rather badly in this! Characters I had grown fond of and was interested to hear the rest of their story were relegated to bit-players. I was especially disappointed by the sudden death of Walter and the lack of attention given to Maude's grief. Having followed this couple's story throughout the previous novel I felt a little short-changed. Fitz became more or less an extra, along with Billy. About the only original character that is treated well is Ethel (if verging on canonisation).

    The story was full of cliches and therefore predictable which prompted many eye-rolling moments from me. I thought the writing was poor and clunky especially when it came to the dialogue which often felt stilted.

    The novel is pushed further into trash territory by the cringe inducing sex scenes/references to sex! I'm no prude and not averse to a well placed sex scene/reference that advances the plot or contributes to character development. However, I felt in this novel they were often superfluous and felt a little voyeuristic.

    I think John Lee as narrator was the saving grace of the audiobook. I think he did an excellent job providing different voices for each of the many, many characters. His foreign accents were excellent (to my ear anyway!). It really helped you to keep track of the characters as you instantly knew who was speaking.

    Must do better Ken Follett! Although based on the deterioration present in this book from the first, I don't hold out much hope for the next in the series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs C Edwards
    4/28/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Absolutely Brilliant"
    What made the experience of listening to Winter of the World the most enjoyable?

    The various accents used by John Lee


    Have you listened to any of John Lee’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    Not yet, narration.but have just bought Fall of Giants, partly because of the excellent


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Very emotional - I couldn't get it out of my mind for ages after each listening session


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Reader
    4/12/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Reader"
    Where does Winter of the World rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is one of the best of have listened to After fall of giants which was excellent


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Winter of the World?

    There are several moments - the descriptions of the people of the east end stopping the brown shirts marching through their streets - the descriptions of the rise of the Nazis in Berlin in 1933 and the rise of the soviets in Berlin in 1948 so very sad


    What does John Lee bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    The sheer detail and life he gives the book.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Definitely


    Any additional comments?

    Can't wait for the final book in the trilogy

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Joy
    St. Albans, United Kingdom
    2/19/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Another Masterpiece"

    What a wonderful way to learn history, the general outline of the story is all true and in my opinion the families depicted in this book could very well be our relatives stories. I know my family lived through very much the same things. Ken Follett is a master Story Teller!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 11-20 of 78 results PREVIOUS1238NEXT

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