Ken Follett here follows up his number-one New York Times best-seller Fall of Giants with a brilliant, pause-resistant epic about the heroism and honor of World War II and the dawn of the atomic age.
Fall of Giants, the first novel in his extraordinary new historical epic, The Century Trilogy, was an international sensation, acclaimed as "sweeping and fascinating, a book that will consume you for days or weeks" (USA Today) and "grippingly told and readable to the end" (The New York Times Book Review). "If the next two volumes are as lively and entertaining as Fall of Giants," said The Washington Post, "they should be well worth waiting for."
Winter of the World picks up right where the first book left off, as its five interrelated families - American, German, Russian, English, Welsh - enter a time of enormous social, political, and economic turmoil, beginning with the rise of the Third Reich, through the Spanish Civil War and the great dramas of World War II, up to the explosions of the American and Soviet atomic bombs.
Carla von Ulrich, born of German and English parents, finds her life engulfed by the Nazi tide until she commits a deed of great courage and heartbreak.... American brothers Woody and Chuck Dewar, each with a secret, take separate paths to momentous events, one in Washington, the other in the bloody jungles of the Pacific.... English student Lloyd Williams discovers in the crucible of the Spanish Civil War that he must fight Communism just as hard as Fascism.... Daisy Peshkov, a driven American social climber, cares only for popularity and the fast set, until the war transforms her life, not just once but twice, while her cousin Volodya carves out a position in Soviet intelligence that will affect not only this war - but the war to come.
These characters and many others find their lives inextricably entangled as their experiences illuminate the cataclysms that marked the century. From the drawing rooms of the rich to the blood and smoke of battle, their lives intertwine, propelling the reader into dramas of ever-increasing complexity.
As always with Ken Follett, the historical background is brilliantly researched and rendered, the action fast-moving, the characters rich in nuance and emotion. With passion and the hand of a master, he brings us into a world we thought we knew, but now will never seem the same again.
©2012 Ken Follett (P)2012 Penguin Audiobooks
This was very informative and interesting but very gory in the torture details and other horrifying acts of WWII
Pillars of the Earth
Daisy.. she was an American heiress who was outspoken and fluid.
I skipped some of the worst excesses of the Gestapo, and then went back and listened bit by bit. Unbelieveable! But I think it actually is more prevelant than we think even now and that is the scariest part!
The audio is better for me because the narrator brings to life all of the characters that would otherwise be mute through reading.
Carla would be my choice for favorite character because of her willingness to put everyone before her own needs.
A personality to all of the characters
John Lee's impeccable linguistic transitions.
Lloyd won my heart early on, with his youthful enthusiasm for political idealism and his undying pursuit of what he believed in, in spite of the collapse of everything he knew of the world he lived in, across borders and over time.
Carla's ability to know intuitively what a rape would have done to Rachael, and yet willingly take that personal nightmare on herself, physically and emotionally, made her the hero she proved to be in so many ways, throughout the impoverishment of family and neighbors, and degradation of homeland.
Forget your childhood recollections and your history lessons. Here's the fluid, seamless unfolding of events that molded the world as we know it today.
We all have favorites books, for whatever reason, but here is a book that is justified in being chosen as an all time favorite. Ken Follett had been a lifelong favorite author for one of his earlier works, but this is in a league of its own. It was an amazing research undertaking, and a piece worthy of being called a masterpiece in areas of history, sociology, culture, economy, warfare and knowledge of the human spirit.
I listened to Fall of Giants and was captivated. I love Follett's historical fiction and Winter of the World did not disappoint. As he did with Giants, Follett does an amazing job of researching the events and incorporating them so seamlessly into the storyline. Yes, it's a bit of a stretch to believe that these few characters were so involved in every single important event but one must put aside those misgivings and allow the story to happen. He does not shy away from controversial issues and tells it like it is; no revisionist history here. It's amazing that I found myself feeling bad for many of the Germans. WWII was a brutal war from any angle and this book highlights the atrocities without being too grotesque.
John Lee continues to be my all time favorite narrator. Not much can be said about him since he's so amazing. I could listen to him read an instruction manual in Latin and be completely satisfied!
Overall, if you have read and enjoyed Giants, you definitely need to read Winter.
I realize there were unmentionable horrors during World War II due to hatred and misuse/abuse of power. But I was sickened by the graphic illustration of the hatred and violence. I don't think that it was necessary to support the story line. I forced myself to listen made it 3 hours and really I can't go any further. I listened to the first book and mostly enjoyed it. I am in no way saying we should close our eyes to what happened or forget it, and I think we should be aware of the horrors that happen now and we should do everything in our power to not participate in hatred so these atrocities don't happen in our country in the future. But I can't listen to it as if it were entertainment.
Can't say enough about the way Follet makes world war ii come alive through the eyes of people of all the main countries. While battling their own personal challenges they battle each other from other countries. Puts a very personalized view on the events of the war and the actions that made some people despicable, some countries terrible and yet humanized others to show their compassion.
As with Follett's Pillars of the Earth, I really fell in love with the characters in the first installment of this trilogy Fall of Giants. So, I was really worried when Follett said that the sequel, Winter of the World, would deal more with their offspring than the original characters themselves. I was pleasantly surprised to see how masterfully he wove his preceding cast of characters into the tableau with the new set. It was an excellent continuation of the saga.
Some will complain that Follett glosses over many of the aspects and atrocities of WWII, and, indeed, he does little more than dipping the readers' toes into the holocaust. However, as Follet's goal is not education but entertainment, and considering the vast amount of writing that has already been done on the topic, I would say that Follett did an excellent job of protraying the flavor and feel of the age without belaboring facts that are already well known to any semi-educated reader.
All-in-all an excellent listen from an accomplished Author and a wonderful Narrator!
Audio experience adds a personal voice that livens story as it's a blend of theatre with action on the page. One begins to associate the descriptions with the words and feelings of the people taking part.
Equal emotional attachment to each of the lead characters with saga attached to them.
Authoritative and distinctly accented.
John Lee was his normal great narrator. Ken Follett does a masterful job of bringing to life the horror of living in Germany during WWII. I hope the third book is as good as the first two.
Great story and I can't wait for book 3, come on Ken.
Excellent character development and the storyline is well continued from the first book to the second. I will confess that keeping all the different characters and storyline straight was a challenge and I believe a second reading will be required.
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