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Publisher's Summary

Ken Follett follows up his number one New York Times best seller Fall of Giants with a brilliant, pause-resisting epic about the heroism and honor of World War II, and the dawn of the atomic age.

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 Audio

Critic Reviews

"Gripping...powerful." (The New York Times)

"Some of the biggest-picture fiction being written today." (The Seattle Times)

"A consistently compelling portrait of a world in crisis." (The Washington Post)

What listeners say about Winter of the World

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My view

As a child and teenager during the Second World War I certainly didn't
Understand the tides of history. Now after reading a lot of nonfiction about those years, and as a widow of 80, I listened to this book twice, one right after another, as I unpacked in my "forever" home. At least for me that era now seems more real. I'm so looking forward to listening to that third book as I finish putting my home together. He really is one of my favorite storytellers.

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several parts left out of the book.

This is one of my favorite series of books and I was excited to get it on audio so I could listen in my car. I like John Lee's performance but several chapters just cut-off or are left out entirely. I'm only a quarter of the way into the audiobook and after checking with my copy at home I counted at least 12 pages left out of the audiobook. I feel a bit cheated out of purchasing the audio file because it's frustrating in a story where so much is lost in those few pages.

3 people found this helpful

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Incredible depiction of historical events

The historical events in this book were made very real through the 2nd generation of families and feel as familiar as your own family. The horrors of the historical times and events these characters endure felt like they were happening to my own close friends. This book gave me a perspective and appreciation which I have never had about so many unspeakable historic tragedies. Chapter 88 about the bombing at Pearl Harbor was exceptional.

The narrator for this book is one of most talented and entertaining storytellers of all audio books I have ever heard.

Thank you for this masterpiece and for a stellar performance!


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History told by a master storyteller

If you could sum up Winter of the World in three words, what would they be?

EpicWell-researched clear

What did you like best about this story?

Ken Follett tells his 5 family stories with confidence and clarity. The reader always knows and cares who and where the characters are and can identify them and follow them. At the same time there is enough detail to be interesting and informative. We learn many things we're not taught much about -- how US radio intelligence decoded Japanese military strategies in the Pacific, how the Russians betrayed the Loyalists in the Spanish Civil War, the brutality of the Soviet occupiers after the defeat of Germany.

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

John Lee reads beautifully. I love his Welsh lilt. the only thing that bothers me is that he pronounced "fraulein" "frowline."

Who was the most memorable character of Winter of the World and why?

This is the problem -- the characters are all pretty wooden. I think probably Chuck Dewar, the gay in navy intelligence was the most interesting.

Any additional comments?

A painless and worthwhile way to learn a lot about the history of WWII.

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Another hit

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Definitely captures the reality of history.

What did you like best about this story?

I love the character development Follett gives. He is a master at dialogue.

Which scene was your favorite?

I was especially moved when the air crash near the train explosion brought two brothers together for the last time.

If you could take any character from Winter of the World out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Daisy was one of my favorites because of her transformation from socialite to ambulance driver.

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Chapters Missing

I’ve read this book before, and I noticed that whole scenes were missing from the recorded audio. I had a small hunch until

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  • JB
  • 02-19-21

Abridged Version

Be aware of the fact that this is the abridged version of the book - only 12 hours long.

1 person found this helpful

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Loved this book!

What did you love best about Winter of the World?

I loved the story line, and I have to say, it really came to life under the narration of John Lee.

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Poor follow up to Fall of Giants

I looked forward to this book since Fall of Giants was so good but I was sorely disappointed. The characters never developed and the story was rushed. Follet jumps all over historical timelines and gets some pretty important facts wrong. He also doesn’t provide the details and backstory for the new characters which left me confused and a bit lost. This book is cheesy at best, I’m not going to finish the trilogy

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Fantastic

I really liked everything about the book ! Great story & Fantastic conclusion of the Century Trilogy !