THE WINDS OF WAR, the first of two sweeping sagas about World War
II, has been acclaimed by critics and readers for generations as
one of the best books about World War II ever written. The story
begins in 1939 Europe as the Nazis are gathering forces against
their neighbors and ends in the South Pacific with Pearl
U.S. Naval Commander Victor "Pug" Henry is assigned to Germany and
is joined by his wife, Rhoda. Their three grown children, Warren,
Byron and Madeline are variously employed in fields that will draw
them as inexorably into the whirlwinds of world events as their
parents. Byron, the youngest, will fall in love with Natalie, the
daughter of a renowned Hebrew scholar, Aaron Jastrow, with far
reaching implications that span this novel and carry on in its
sequel, WAR AND REMEMBRANCE.
Wouk's storytelling and masterful grasp of the huge stakes in what
has been called America's greatest war, bring us an engrossing
novel of the world in upheaval. Heroism and passion flow from
Roosevelt's Oval office to Hitler's Eagles Nest, from Berlin to
Washington to Pearl Harbor. Within the book lies a translation of
the fictional memoirs of a Nazi officer, General Armin Von Roon,
called World Empire Lost. This insert reveals the German point of
view and self-justification in Von Roon's ruminations on how and
why the Third Reich failed.
WINDS OF WAR has been hailed by critics as "grandiose,"
"hypnotically readable," "panoramic," "kinetic" and "absorbing."
The Political Science Quarterly said "Fiction is better than
history at showing 'how it really was' where matters of human
character are concerned."
Wouk is better than most at bringing history alive through his
fiction. At over a thousand pages, WINDS OF WAR is a grand, juicy,
get-your-teeth-into-it novel that, along with its companion, WAR
AND REMEMBRANCE will fill long summer days with captivating
Reviewed by Roz Shea on January 24, 2011