Monday, August 18, 2014

Julie's Review: The Winds of War

Author: Herman Wouk
Series: The Henry Family #1
Publication Date:October 18, 2011; original publication of hardcover - 1971
Publisher: Audible Services
Narrator: Kevin Pariseau
Length: 45 Hours and 53 Minutes
Obtained: Audible;Mine
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Rating: 4.75/5
Bottom Line: A must for fans of historical fiction
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab!
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: Holy Cow! I now know why The Winds of War holds up over decades. It is a sweeping family saga set with the beginning of World War II as it's backdrop. You could even say that the war is it's own character that allows the rest of the characters to exist. There are a lot of characters to follow since the book follows the Henry's and the Jastrow's. You quickly figure out who is important and who isn't. There are a lot of them that come and go throughout the story.

As with any family, each member ends up annoying you at times. Rhoda was the one that got on my nerves the most. She was truly all about appearances and status. She came from old money and still wants to act like she's old money. Truth is, while being a Navy Officers wife is prestigious, it definitely doesn't pull in the cash like Rhoda would like to think.

The Henry's boys, Bryon and Warren couldn't be more different.  Bryon is more of a free spirit trying to find his way in life; whereas Warren is more career driven. As they are different, they both marry two completely different women. For me, Janice, who marries Warren, is a lot similar to Rhoda. She is all about climbing the career ladder through her husband. I'm not so sure she's cut out for the Navy life. Natalie, while at times I thought she made poor decisions, is probably my favorite character in the whole novel. She is bright, resourceful and stubborn. She also falls for Byron while having other plans of marrying another man.

I really wish that they would have focused more on the Henry's daughter, Madeleine. I would have liked to have gotten the perspective of the war from her vantage point in NYC working in media.  It would have been interesting to see how she was fairing not going back to school and working in the Big Apple.

Mr. Wouk does a fantastic job of getting in the details of war and the effects of it. What astounded me was the amount of research that must have gone into getting the details right. I loved the "behind the curtain" view of it all.  Pug Henry's correspondence with President Roosevelt are so interesting and add a whole different dimension to the storyline.

There is a lot of ground covered in The Winds of War but it leaves off just as the attack on Pearl Harbor has occurred. I look forward to continue this family saga in War & Remembrance to see how what happens to the Henry's and Jastrow's. If you are a WWII novel addict, then you must read or listen to The Winds of War, while it might take a bit to read all of it, you won't regret it.

Jenn's Review



Jenn August 18, 2014 at 7:07 AM  

The TV miniseries is pretty fabulous too in that Wouk oversaw it (which is why it's so long) so there aren't huge cuts to the storyline.

Julie August 18, 2014 at 10:35 PM  

I saw that he was the screenwriter.

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