Compelling and I must agree wholeheartedly I just finished this huge classic wonderful piece of engrossing fiction based on the beginning of WWII history It begins in 1939 Vicariously through a military family named the Henry s, we get than a birds eye view of how things manifested In this book, I swear, every page you feel as though you must have taken a trip back in time I chose this book because I m quite attracted to WWII fiction but I wanted to read something where someone tells me why What was it like before How did it get to the point of war and why I know it was Europe Pacific but how and why This book tackles all of my curious questions all rolled up into a family saga with romance, adventure, countless facts and irresistible story What can I say It was over a thousand pages There is too much to say But I enjoyed every bit of it I learned so much It made me even intrigued and caused me to do online historical research What can be asked for when it comes to Historical Fiction To be entertained and learn at the same time is everything I love about this genre I have the second book and look forward to starting it soon This book stops at 1941 as the Henry s and the United States get into the war I look forward to the second book to learn about my country s involvement and the Henry s in the war I give this 6 stars Pretty close to perfect for me I will read books by this author He is definitely to be heralded for such a saga, such a large successful work I do recommend this to real Historical Fiction lovers and those who are willing to give some time to its 1047 pages.
but you won t be sorry for devoting the time I m going to be jumping back in soon.
There is a whole lot to like in this sprawling family saga that takes us on the journey of the Henry Family from the late 1930 s through the bombing of Pearl Harbor and then Clark Field in the Philippines I had this book on my Kindle for over a year and one day I was talking to the family about the old Mini Series format from the 70 s and 80 s by the way are the 10 episode cable series that dominate todays TV really any different from these I think not , and I remembered this show and the book So I began this almost 900 page book and a lot of things popped out at me First of all, how horrid the TV casting was of the characters in the book I know this is a book review, but the mini series played a big part in why I read this and so I must digress a bit.
One thing that I have always read is that TV shows or movies always seem to get the ages wrong on the participants in these historic events In the book Pug Henry is 49 and his kids are in the early to mid 20 s In the mini series we have 64 year old Robert Mitchum trying to portray this character and then all the other casting runs from there with actors portraying characters who are all 15 20 years younger than the actor And who in their right mind would cast Ali McGraw and Jan Michael Vincent in their roles I know it is always about ratings but these were terrible choices As for the book, we have Pug Henry who is a 49 year old Navy man who has a wonderful sense of perspective and becomes FDR s eyes and ears to the early stages of WW2 His one son is a fighter pilot and other son eventually becomes a submariner, and a daughter who goes into the entertainment business Not sure what Madeline Henry really added to the book, but maybe that will become evident in the sequel War and Remembrance.
Here we get to see the buildup of WW2, the invasion of Poland which was allegedly due to the Poles invasion of Germany a deliberate faked invasion made up by Hitler as well as his defensive invasion into Russia There is a ton of really great history in this book, including portions which give the German point of view and which are very informative and thought provoking.
We see the plight of the Jews, the plight of the Russians, the desperate attempts by Churchill and Stalin to get the US into the war, the Lend Lease program that was approved by a Congress that did not want to supply arms or supplies to England or Russia but who approved this subterfuge, the mixed convictions of the US populace that wished to remain neutral but also which had a great deal of support for helping our Allies I will also give this to Wouk, he made up some very unlikeable characters Pug s wife Rhoda who is a flighty flirt who drinks to much and is a spoiled brat worrying about what she will wear to meet Hitler at a reception than the fact that the Jews of Berlin are starving and being dispossessed of their businesses and property, and a woman who loves nothing than shopping his son Briny who is just an arrogant and moody person who falls in love with the half Jewish Natalie Jastrow who herself has few redeeming qualities other than dashing throughout war torn Europe to see her relatives and then having Briny chase after her and continually rescue her and I could go on for a few others, but Wouk shows that families are made of noble stock like Pug, and son Warren, and then there is the flip side of Rhoda, Briny and Madeline We follow this crew through all these pages and know that we are slowly going to reach the inevitable climax of Pearl Harbor which sets up the next book that will dwell on the actual time the US is at War with the Axis forces of Germany, Italy and Japan.
While this was of a 4.
5 on my scale I rounded the book up because of all the historical research and many of the additional facts that I learned through Wouk s writing I will take a bit of a break now because the next book in the series is over 1050 pages long on my Kindle and for now the Henry family can blaze away in defense of America and democracy and I will catch up with their saga later.
Like No Other Masterpiece Of Historical Fiction, Herman Wouk S Sweeping Epic Of World War II Is The Great Novel Of America S Greatest GenerationWouk S Spellbinding Narrative Captures The Tide Of Global Events, As Well As 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 The Winds of War And Its Sequel War And Remembrance Stand As The Crowning Achievement Of One Of America S Most Celebrated Storytellers The Winds of War is the first of a 2 part series comprised of The Winds of War and War and Remembrance This book was impossible to put down The story of the lead up to WWII told primarily through the lens of the American Henry family, The Winds of War gives a comprehensive background on the military and political situation in a much engaging way than a non fiction book could It also paints a broader picture by looking at the situation on the ground in both Europe as well as America Despite its gigantic heft, the book moves very fast I was sad to turn the last page, although since we were only at Pearl Harbor, I knew we still had a ways to go.
The Winds of War was published in 1971, apparently after approximately 13 years of research and writing, meaning Wouk got started on it in 1958 The book does not seem dated at all if anything, the opposite is true Because the book was worked on and written closer to the time of WWII itself by a WWII veteran , the story seems much immediate and much realistic than recent books about WWII I will definitely be moving on to War and Remembrance.
Huge, compelling read Though I may hesitate to call the book enlightening , I d probably feel comfortable describing it as broadening , particularly regarding the range of viewpoints on various players roles and motives in the war It contains plenteous opinions about martial tactics particularly Germany s and the effects of politics particularly the US s on the outcomes in WWII Opinions or not, it was refreshing to see unconventional views stated so thoroughly and convincingly I was also somewhat shocked to learn how virulently anti war the US populace was at the time Minor spoiler alert When the main character, Pug Henry, a Navy Captain having already spent one on one time with in order Hitler, Roosevelt, Mussolini and Churchill, obtains a private audience with Stalin, the needle on my disbelief suspension meter finally snapped clean off Fortunately, it didn t detract from the saga as a whole All in all, I enjoyed the book immensely and, through it, came by a number of new perspectives regarding the conduct of the war and it s key operatives It s a fascinating study of the personalities involved and the effects for which each of them were, arguably, responsible Wouk has an amazing grasp of history and research, combined with a marvelous ability to keep a tale compelling through some 250,000 words via the use of a seemingly endless array of story telling devices There s no deus ex machina and there s plenty of unfinished business in the end all as it should be I enjoyed it enough to have already begun the follow up novel, War Remembrance and I ll soon enough read his Pulitzer winner, The Caine Mutiny.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I found it particularly enlightening, in light of the current state of American and European realpolitik, to learn how Roosevelt was viewed by many at the time vs how he s generally viewed today A fascinating contrast, and particularly pertinent at this moment in history.
If you listen carefully, you might just hear my screams of absolute euphoria that I have completely finished my longest audio yet At almost 46 hours in length, it s been over a month since I started this bookThe Winds of War has lingered on my Goodreads shelf since I began using the site in 2013 It feels really good to have given this WWII historical a listen.
Focusing on the five members of the American Henry family Victor Pug Henry, his wife Rhoda, sons Warren and Byron, and daughter Madeline, the book travels quite vast from the US to many countries throughout Europe and Asia in the first few years of the war Interwoven with this family saga is a novel inside the novel, written in the 1960 s and discussing all the political atmosphere and military strategies of the war Although there were times when the melodrama of the Henry s extracurricular activities made me frustrated, I did enjoy the way in which Wouk presents the historical record My one wish is that Madeline might have been given a fascinating storyline Eventually I will select the sequel but for now I think I shall stick to shorter Audiobooks for the next while Audiobook narrated by Kevin Pariseau 45h 48 mins 41 secs.
This novel was well worth every one of its 850 plus pages I loved how Wouk presented all sides of WWII and how the countries involved made the choices they did What a wonderful history lesson camouflaged in a great story In many ways this reminded me a lot of a Ken Follett novel Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.
This story, told through the eyes and lives of a Navy family, begins in 1939 and ends right after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 It s certainly not a quick read It s long, over 800 pages long Reading it was tedious at times, especially all the details with war strategy and military plans, neither of which interest me much at all However, I m so glad that I stuck with it It s not great literature, but the story and portrayal of characters are what made it for me I especially loved the patriarch of the family, Victor Pug Henry strong, upright, old school, my type of man I look forward to reading the sequel While writing this review, I just remembered that Herman Wouk also wrote Don t Stop the Carnival which I read than thirty years ago and loved Totally different subject matter however, but one that I can relate to somewhat, since we live in the Caribbean Here are some of my favorite quotes It is better to keep your mouth shut and let people think you re a fool, than to open it and remove all doubt This one refers to the relief that Victor Henry felt after being in Berlin for a while I can relate to this, since I feel that Americans are genuine than most I always say that you know where you stand with them I know that others reading this may not appreciate my generalization, but oh well Victor Henry loved being back among American faces, American talk, offhand open manners, laughter from the diaphragm and not from the face muscles, not a bow or a clicked pair of heels, not a woman s European smile, gleaming on and off like an electric sign I didn t even know that there s a miniseries based on the book, but I don t think I ll be rushing to see it anytime soon.
Winds of War isn t my favorite book of the almost dwindled year Nor does it break into my all time top 10 books What it is, is simply a balancing act In its bare bones, this book is a melodrama But this undesirable component is supported by a blissfully solemn narrative The main cast is the Henry family The book s entire length is about how different these people are from each other, and how much do they cross paths despite their nomadic existence All of which has World War 2 as a canvass The various big shots of history are not written into the book with equal effect Hitler, unsurprisingly, is given the most treatment In my mind I cast a Richard Dawkins lookalike as Roosevelt Worked for me Churchill is the one disappointment Stalin is just average The horrors of war are merely hinted at Bloodshed doesn t happen by the buckets here What we see is a world unprepared by modern warfare and global politics The proven wisdom caught with its pants down Since the War is not shown through the eyes of the soon to be dead, its harshness is lessened The best thing about this book is the twists These are plausible and satisfactory I loved the Natalie Jastrow, Leslie Slote, and Pamela Tudsbury characters I hated the Uncle Jastrow and had contempt for the disillusioned and delusional main character, Victor Henry So I had a blast living with this book for a couple of weeks It s much better than the pathetic Century trilogy by Ken Follett I want to know what happens next Nothing is guaranteed, but the story is not finished Which means that the sequel theoretically can be as good as this book.