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
I hear voices. But maybe that's because there's always an Audible book in my ear.
Herman Wouk already did this book and did it better. "War and Remembrance" has all the aspects of history written from a personal perspective. It does a great job of tying people together into a fascinating whole. This book feels like a cheap imitation of that. All the interrelatedness of the characters is overkill and can be a pain to track without a character summary. From the Pearl Harbor scene on, I kept wondering why he even bothered to write it. Do yourself a favor. If you like historical fiction and you want the real deal, download "The Winds of War" and "War and Remembrance" and just skip this one.
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!
Very enjoyable sweeping historical novel on WWII. Again amazed at Folet's ability to write a compelling story on so broad a subject in such an engrossing way. He's definitely grown as a writer. Also, I liked the narration.
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!
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.
"When I finish a good book, I feel like I've lost a friend." -- My Mom
We gave Fall of Giants very high marks and looked forward to #2. But this one fell flat for us. Too many characters involved in old-fashioned soap opera drama, drama, drama. Gave up on keeping names straight and the historical situations and just got through it.
Ken Follett knows how to tell a good story, but the characters are stock and there's nothing really surprising about what happens. While his books are a good way to learn history, Follett spends way too much time explaining things that are obvious to anyone above 3rd grade. And, his sex scenes are adolescent and cringe-inducing (come on Ken, the word "ejaculation" should never be used except in a sex-ed textbook). But, I managed to get through this book and the one before it, and I might even listen to the third when it comes out. They are embarrassingly addictive.
Possibly Follett, definitely Lee.
I had guessed from listening to this book and Fall of Giants that Follett must be atheist and very liberal. Research confirmed both.
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