William's Reviews > The Winds of War

The Winds of War by Herman Wouk
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's review
Aug 06, 12

bookshelves: germany, nook, world-war-2, history, italy, romantic
Read from July 12 to August 05, 2012

If a person should somehow not know anything about America's path to involvement in World War II, there are much worse ways to learn about it than by reading this epic historical novel. Winds is completely successful at capturing, though the Henry family and its closest friends, the gradual enveloping of the world in Germany's aggression. That the story, at over 1,000 pages, remains personal, moving, and tense, despite all our foreknowledge of its outcome, is an accomplishment of the best kind of author. There are passages that leave a reader in shock, and others that carry a foreboding dread.

The story strays from its narrative only to "reprint" excerpts from Victor Henry's [fictional] translations of "World Empire Lost," a German military memoir. These passages give Wouk the opportunity to frame his scene and impart more particular lessons in history to his readers, but they sometimes felt like homework to finish before continuing the novel's main thread.

Nevertheless, this is an amazing novel, with gargantuan ambition, and brilliant for its accomplishment of making a global war feel completely human and deeply personal.
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