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
Best: A look at the transition from Nazi to Communist (with a capital C) and similar weaknesses
Worst: Story was too contrived with characters showing up at every important historical moment. Also horrible Buffalo accent.
Depends on what the reader's goal of reading this is. For someone who has very limited knowledge of WWII it is a good review.
Again, horrible Buffalo accent, sounded like lower Brooklyn
It made me hesitant to read the third segment of the trilogy
Reading, the arts and physical activity clarify, explain, illustrate, and interpret life’s goods and bads.
Same review for all three books in the Century Trilogy by Ken Follett.
I suggest you go directly through all the books at once; Fall of Giants, Winter World and then Edge of Eternity – you will have no trouble in keeping your interest. In fact, it’s not easy to go away from the stories. The novels are an entertaining and educational auscultation. They take you around and through the major happenings of the twentieth century. The characters, whether real life icons or plot progressors and their individual stories make the sojourn an easy read while reconnoitering the span of time. From WW I to the fall of the Berlin Wall.
A Follett read is always a good time; the book, though, provides more. A wonderful insight into what went wrong in the century. Follett’s demonic progenitor of the era’s evil: the denial of one’s right to voice his/her opinion. According to the Century Trilogy, Evil harbors itself in intolerance to criticism. The harm does not come from socialism, centralism, or too much or not enough religion. All the malevolency in his story comes from the fanaticism in not allowing other’s view to have logical consideration. Follett’s makes a wonderful study of humankind in convincing of intolerance’s reach and harmfulness.
I tend to believe Mr. Follett is more liberal than conservative. Yet, some of the ranting and ravings in other Audible reviews that he leans to the left, is a bit demonstrative of the book’s study of intolerance. Yes, Follett does seem to hold dismay for our former Republican leaders Nixon and Reagan. In response I can only lean upon the biblical instruction “you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free,” John 8:33.
I read the first novel in The Century Trilogy, Fall of Giants a couple of years back. I enjoyed it a lot but for some reason I put off reading the second book. After starting a couple of books that I couldn't get into I decided to jump back in. For those that don't know this is a trilogy of novels that takes place from 1900-2000 and follow a number of different families from the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and Russia.
Winter of the World takes place right after the events of Fall of Giants. So right right at the end of World War I and the rise of Nazi Germany. What's fascinating about these novels are reading about the daily lives of those who lived through these world wars. Forget the battles but what about the people back at home? What was it like for a young German girl in Berlin for example who opposed to Nazi's? It's an interesting question and one that Follett does a great job with and was by far my favorite part of both Winter of the World and Fall of Giants.
My biggest issue with both books but more so Winter of the World was keeping track of all the moving parts. There were a number of characters in the first book that now have families of their own and trying to keep track of it all is difficult. There were several times where I knew there was significance to an interaction but couldn't place where these characters paths crossed in earlier novels.
Needless to say even though I couldn't place all of the characters I still really enjoyed Winter of the World. It does a great job of having some of the key characters involved with many of the major world events of the time period (WWII, Pearl Harbor, Atom Bombs). I'm now even more excited to finish off the trilogy this fall when Follett releases the final book in the series.
Like action, adventures, war stories, militay happenings, historical readings-fiction, & mysteries. Unabridged only! Reader IMPORT!
Even though I have read other books of this era --- THIS ONE MADE THE ERA COME TO LIFE IN A PERSONAL SIGNIFICANCE! The reader was great.
The book is well worth a listen!
I have seen Ken Follet's books in print for many years but never got around to reading any of them. I decided to give them a shot on audio especially since being narrated by John Lee who was fabulous. What a great decision. I read his first trilogy and was sooo sorry to see them end that I started on this one and feel the same way about this. GREAT story telling where you fall in love with the characters and get caught up in their lives. If you love a good long listen of a great story this is the series for you.
Tell us about yourself!I am an avid reader but enjoy listening while waking to work, ironing, doing dishes, etc. Listening to novels is an entirely different experience than reading; a well narrated story is a cross between drama and written fiction. Listening to books on Audible has been a wonderful experience.
This story is compelling and tightly woven with flawless interweaving of historical events. This is a great historical novel. My only comment is that the numerous plot coincidences were a little contrived but served the story well in the end. I couldn't stop listening and looked forward to ironing every week!
An old broad that enjoys books of all types. Would rather read than write reviews though. I know what I like, and won't be bothered by crap.
Absolutely! This is the second book in a trilogy and filled with great characters and well known history along with little known facts. This book is wonderfully written and narrated. A must for anyone interested in history.
This is a book that James Michener would have written if he still lived. I would compare it to Hawaii, but split into 3 books instead of just one big one.
The same character development and interwoven history.
He is my favorite reader and this is one of his best. My husband recently said that all my books sound the same, and that is because if I see John Lee as narrator I am apt to buy the book!
When Werner comes back and sees Karla with a baby. It nearly broke my heart when she had to explain to him what happened and his reaction. The whole story is full of bits like that.
Can't wait for the next one!
The author is a long-time supporter of Britain's Labour party and it sure shows in the way that he tells the story. All supporters of the Labour Party are intelligent, articulate, kind, etc. Any supporters of other parties are foolish, vain and wrong-headed. And it doesn't stop in Britain. Labour's closest equivalent in Germany (i.e. left of centre) are the Social Democratic Party. All Social Democrats in the books share all of the sterling qualities of Labour party supporters mentioned above. No other German party (including other democratic ones) has any good qualities, intelligent or thoughtful supporters.
I get that the author doesn't like Nazism or communism but that he paints such a black-and-white picture of democratic parties and all of their supporters that it becomes tiresome to say the least.
The ridiculous number of coincidences (the 4-5 main characters experience so many of the major episode/issue over the 1933-49) that it becomes laughable. Walk down the street in Berlin to see the commotion? Happen to overhear Hitler discuss the Reichstag fire in the Reichstag itself. Short trip to Hawaii? That turns out to be the weekend of bombing of Pearl Harbour. And on and on.
Interesting story in places but it comes across as being amateurish in so many ways.
This history was interesting, but the way Follett places his characters into key historical circumstances and intersects them is too contrived and by midway through the book becomes predictable and laughable.
Would I recommend this book to a friend? Depends on the friend. If this friend were a Liberal, a Socialist, or even a Communist, s/he would eat it up and beg for more. If this friend were a Republican and/or Free Market Capitalist, then this series (especially Book 2) would, at the very least, leave them scratching their heads at just how little impact Social Conservatives, Capitalism, and Western Individualism apparently had on the course of World War II. This friend might be especially disheartened to read that, for example, Winston Churchill played virtually no role in the Allied victory, other than getting in the way of the more enlightened Socialists. Finally, if this friend were a Libertarian, they would quickly realize that this is history presented with an unmistakable slant, transparently written to further a personal polical and social agenda (Liberalism/Socialism/Collectivism = Good; Conservatism/Capitalism/Individualism = Bad), and therefore, is a very subjective -- and thus ersatz -- "historical" fiction cloaked in a solemn -- and unearned -- mantle of Objective History.
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