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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.

Critic Reviews

"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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    3,550
  • 4 Stars
    1,080
  • 3 Stars
    350
  • 2 Stars
    94
  • 1 Stars
    82

Performance

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
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    3,380
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    820
  • 3 Stars
    237
  • 2 Stars
    50
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    57

Story

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
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  • 2 Stars
    63
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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Good story but I cannot stand this reader.

I wish this book was available by another narrator. I am intrigued by the story but will probably have to give up on it because I am increasingly distracted and annoyed by the choppy cadence of the reader. He pauses after every second or third word, regardless of whether the pause makes sense syntactically. It sounds pretentious and overdone, and I find myself getting extremely impatient for him just to "spit it out!" I would increase the narration speed, but the reader only uses this tortured, choppy pace when he is doing the descriptive narration parts, not when he speaks in character. So if I tick the speed up to 1.5x, I miss important parts of the dialog.

I would encourage listeners to spend some time listening to a sample before they buy this book.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Captivating

What did you love best about The Winds of War?

I loved Kevin Pariseau's extraordinary reading. Every character came alive - and he had no shortage of characters and accents to portray. Yes, the story was engrossing and this is Wouk's Great American Novel, but he couldn't have asked for a better reader. Pariseau is among the top two or three readers I've enjoyed listening to in more than 30 years of listening to audio books. He's a brilliant talent.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Winds of War?

Several characters being caught in Poland and barely escaping during the German invasion.

Which scene was your favorite?

See above, but it's a long book.

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

Practically impossible.

Any additional comments?

Just another endorsement for Pariseau. With all due respect to Herman Wouk's fine writing, Pariseau makes the story so enjoyable for the listener. The producer(s) were smart in finding the right actor because the wrong person reading such a long work would have been potentially disastrous.

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  • Story

A Great Story Told By a Great Narrator

Would you listen to The Winds of War again? Why?

Absolutely! The book is historically accurate. The characters are believable. And the narrator is outstanding.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Pug Henry. He is a great foil for characters with more dynamic and colorful personalities.

What does Kevin Pariseau bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Everything! His ability to speak multiple languages, change voices, and make you think you were listening to a radio show was truly amazing.

Who was the most memorable character of The Winds of War and why?

Talky Tudsberry. He was a comical but believable Brit.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Good history, middling characters

I listened to this very long book whilst making a quilt. I was half living in WW2 all this time. The atmosphere and informative nature of the book kept me involved. I learned heaps about events and the issues America faced regarding getting into the war. I also liked the military accounts cleverly written by a war criminal whilst serving his sentence after Nurenburg with translators comments attached.
I did not however care for most of the characters. There is a definite mysogynistic quality in the portrayal of the women whilst the men are (almost) all brave and resourceful. The book was written in the seventies which perhaps accounts for the use of terms like "yellow race" etc. as well as a distinctly moralistic attitude to sex.
For all that though I learned a lot from the book and got a lot of quilting done!

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  • Performance
  • Story

Amazing detailed account (but I prefer Ken Follet)

Good way to learn details of the 2nd world war but I found it a bit dry and ponderous. I prefer Ken Follet's account, which gripped me fully from start to finish.

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  • Performance
  • Story

Impressive Performance, Epic Story

I read this book and its sequel many years ago, and was so impressed then. It should be a classic. But the narration by Kevin Pariseau is stunning. He does various foreign accents: English, German, Italian, Russian, Polish, even different American accents. He even sings when the story quotes songs. His doesn't narrate this story, he PERFORMS the story. It truly comes alive.

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  • Story
  • Kelli
  • Birmingham, AL, United States
  • 02-03-13

Historical Fiction at its Finest

This is historical fiction at its finest. Even if you think you know all there is to know about World War II and its impact on American families living in the United States and abroad, think again and read this book. The Winds of War is to World War II what Gone With the Wind is to the Civil War. It expertly blends the history of the war itself with a family saga full of love, lust, disappointment and triumph. This book, however, strikes an even better balance and there is lots more political history. I would also recommend checking out the 1983 miniseries of the book which can be watched instantly on NetFlix. I actually watched as I read and found that the miniseries was a very true adaptation of the novel. Herman Wouk himself wrote the teleplay. On a final note, be warned. The Winds of War ends with lots of question marks making it nearly impossible not to reach for War and Remembrance next.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Wonderful book. I hated for it to end.

If you could sum up The Winds of War in three words, what would they be?

Well written & narrated. I have learned more about what led up to our involvement in WWII even after reading The Rise & Fall of theThird Reich!

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

No

Who was the most memorable character of The Winds of War and why?

Pug Henry. Because of his cool observation & assesment of people & events.

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  • Story

Truly the best historical fiction

Where does The Winds of War rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

By far, this was my favorite listen on Audible. Such a great story that I couldn't wait to listen to more.

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

Pillars of the Earth- both give a great story about fascinating times and processes. You fall in love with the characters.

Which character – as performed by Kevin Pariseau – was your favorite?

My favorite character was Victor Henry- he was a somewhat ordinary man living in extraordinary times. His sense of loyalty and love of his country and family made me just want to hear more about him.

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

It took me almost two weeks to get through the book and that is listening for 3 hours a day. You definitely don't want to put this title down but it does take a little bit of patience to get through.

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Jessica
  • minneapolis, MN, United States
  • 01-23-13

fantastic performance of a great historical drama

I love historical fiction when its done well. Done well to me means the social and political period is layed out and experienced through the life stories of actual people. There are several points of view in this third person narration and their stories are engaging and thoughtful.

The performance is one of the best I have heard yet. This art of performing books is a fine and subtle one. Too much and the story is cartoonish and painful, not enough and its a droning bore. This one is perfect.