Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Jenn's Review: The Winds of War

Summary:  A Masterpiece of Historical Fiction-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.


Review:  When I think historical fiction, this is the standard to which I compare it.  This is one of my favorite mini-series of all time, so it's no wonder I adore the novel.  


The story covers the period from 1939 right through the bombing of Pearl Harbor with incredible attention to historical details.  It follows the struggles of the Henry family, a naval family, across continents and through life in a constant state of upheaval.  I love the relationships in the novel and all the characters, though on occasionally I would forget a name or two, it never took me long to get up to speed.  Herman Wouk was a screen writer before he became a published author, so, as so rarely happens, he wrote his own script for the miniseries...  it may be the most literal translation of book to screen I have ever seen, and that makes me love it all the more.


 There are several rather heavy passages that discuss the world events as they occur, and I won't pretend I didn't skim them a little when I started to get tired.  I think they come off better in the mini-series where they were able to cut actual clips into the re-enacted moments.  However, I still marvel at the detail and research in this novel.  Following this families story really makes the history come a live, and frankly, if more history was taught this way, no one would ever loose interest.  


This story is perfect for the WWII buff and those who enjoy realistic familial stories.  I look forward to having the time to jump into War and Remembrance, for though it is the most difficult part of the story emotionally, and historically, it is also the most rewarding. 

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