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Winter of the World

(The Century Trilogy #2)

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  135,315 ratings  ·  8,271 reviews
Winter of the World picks up right where the first book left off, as its five interrelated families—American, German, Russian, English, Welsh—enter a time of enormous social, political, and economic turmoil, beginning with the rise of the Third Reich, through the Spanish Civil War and the great dramas of World War II, up to the explosions of the American and Soviet atomic ...more
Hardcover, 940 pages
Published September 18th 2012 by Berkley
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Patricia I would start with Fall of the Giants, as it is about families and history through their experiences. I am on Winter of the World, and am going to fin…moreI would start with Fall of the Giants, as it is about families and history through their experiences. I am on Winter of the World, and am going to finish soon. I want to read the third, as I find them compelling. I own and operate a tiny pub in northern Canada. A traveller about 25 told me that as I love history that they are essential reading!(less)
Rick I just finished Edge of Eternity. All three books were a treat. I would suggest taking a break between each because they are all fantastic reads. It's…moreI just finished Edge of Eternity. All three books were a treat. I would suggest taking a break between each because they are all fantastic reads. It's like eating your favourite candy. You don't want to risk too much of a good thing. I am sure that each time you come back to start another one you will find its like visiting an old friend.(less)

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Max de Freitas
Sep 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I read the first of this trilogy – Fall of Giants. It was excellent. Winter of the World continues in the same superlative fashion. The narrative is quick and absorbing. Through the eyes of interesting characters, you get a front row seat in the most memorable historical events that were really not that long ago. The first book took me inside the world my grandparents experienced. This one transported me into the events that shaped my parents. The book provides in-depth perspectives and describe ...more
Jay Connor
Oct 26, 2012 rated it liked it
My rating would have been 2 and one-half stars if Goodreads had given me the option. Plus I think the divergence of this review from the "average" of the reviews for the book is as much due to the cognitive dissonance of not "really enjoying" a book that you've slogged thru 960 pages to complete, than a passionate embrace of "Winter."

As much as I liked the first volume of Follett's 20th Century Trilogy -- Fall of Giants -- I was disappointed by this second installment. The back cover blurb: "The
Jan 08, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A little disappointed by this volume ... Too much romance, hard-to-believe coincidences and twists and turns. I suppose Part One of the trilogy would suffice ... Most characters act unnaturally or unbelieveably, and at times it feels like Mr Follet struggles to connect the loose ends.
I survived despite the book being rather long, mainly to John Lee, the narrator, who in my opinion found it challenging to keep the straight face.
This is a good book but definitely not a masterpiece and I will not
Nov 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Ken Follett is a mediocre writer, but a stellar storyteller. His characters are cardboard, his dialogue wooden and on the nose, his prose pedestrian and perfunctory. As for his punctuation of dialogue: ugh. I said: "Please take away Follett's colon key, stat." (No, Ken, a colon is not interchangeable with a comma.)

But still - the pages demand to be turned.

WINTER OF THE WORLD picks up right after FALL OF THE GIANTS, with the sons and daughters of the latter novel's characters facing the Spanish C
Dana Ilie
Sep 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The second in Follett’s Century Trilogy follows the main characters from Fall of Giants and their children as they navigate the major events of the 1930s and 1940s. Readers will see the rise of Nazi Germany, the epic battles of World War II, and the birth of the atomic era through the eyes of men and women from several countries.

Winter of the World is a grand accomplishment, and one of the most thoroughly enjoyable books I’ve read this year. I’m looking forward to the next installment. The novel
R.K. Gold
Mar 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Just finished my second read through. I’m so happy to dive back into this trilogy full of amazing characters. This book makes me the most uncomfortable—it deals with the most lose and offers little relief to the reader. For every triumph you see another character pushed to the breaking point.
Jul 04, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: reviewed
Congratulations, Ken Follett! You've taken the most destructive conflict this world has ever seen and turned it into a wan and tawdry soap opera! Worse yet, you have cribbed unmercifully from Herman Wouk's Winds of War. I'm assuming Kenny is hoping that readers will be unaware that a 40-plus-year-old book already covered the same globe-trotting style and settings that is the backbone for both novels. If that was his aim, I can only envy the readers who haven't sampled Wouk's superior effort. Per ...more
Sep 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2014
A journey through the horrors of World War 2 through the eyes of different people from England, the USA, Russia, and of course, Germany. This starts with the NSDAP taking over German politics in 1933 and ends in 1949 with the separation of Germany into West and East. Reading these 1000 pages was an emotional roller coaster.

After loving the Fall of Giants (centered around WWl) I had very high expectations. The historical content definitely didn't disappoint. Various POVs introduced British, Amer
Sep 07, 2012 rated it liked it
Well, I just finished this thing and I did like it, but not as much as the first installment.

The best part of this novel is the history, Follett is able to distill it into bite size little nuggets and integrate the info into readable dialogue. I learned a ton about China and her role in the remaking of the UN, new information on why Japan was so aggressive during the run up to Pearl Harbor, atomic bomb development in the US, and many other historical antecedents of the Cold War.

Follet just about
May 16, 2018 rated it liked it
*** 3 ***

Since I am on hiatus from writing reviews for the month, being a beach bum 😀, I just wanted to note that this was another typical for the author work of Historical Fiction. However, maybe it is me, maybe it is the fact that I grew up in the Eastern Block and have some knowledge of the history there, the author 's prejudices are even more obvious and no matter how unwillingly they might creep up, they hamstring him and put his writing in a box much too small for the scope he intends. I a
Feb 18, 2013 rated it it was ok
I was a fan of Ken Follett's previous books (Pillars of the Earth, World Without End, and, to an extent, Fall of Giants) but I really didn't enjoy this book. I felt like he "phoned it in" or rushed to get it out quickly, which was disappointing.

My main problems with the novel were: 1) unrealistic dialogue 2) extremely predictable plot points 3) characters you don't really care about (although I did have a warm spot for Daisy) and 4) lack of nuance/complexity in characters.

However, I did think
Aug 08, 2012 rated it liked it
The 20th century is the most dramatic and violent period in the history of the human race. We killed more people in the 20th century than in any previous century, in the trenches of World War I, in the Soviet Union under Stalin, in Germany under the Nazis, Spain under Franco. There was World War II and the bombing of Dresden by the British and Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It was a horrible century and yet it is also the century of liberty.

Very few countries were democratic before the First World War.
Christine Hughes
Sep 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Ken Follett's second book in his Century trilogy ' Winter of the
World ' is turning in to an excellent dramatisation of Eric Hobsbawm's ' The Age of Extremes '.

It has all the ingredients of ' Fall of Giants ' easy to read, absorbing, intriguing and never far from actuality of the age. I would recommend this book to anyone who is not really into History but likes a cracking story.
Waheed Rabbani
Sep 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Fall of Giants, Book One of Ken Follett’s The Century Trilogy, had ended in January 1924 at the finish of World War I and the Russian Revolution, showing a nine-year-old boy shaking hands with his father. Book Two, Winter of the World, commences in February 1933, with eleven-year-old Carla in the kitchen of her Berlin home wondering what her parents, English born Maud, and German born Walter von Ulrich, were arguing about. Book One’s readers would also be unsure what the quarrel was for, as they ...more
Aug 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I was a First Reads winner! I feel so lucky that I won a copy of this book. I have a habit of opening a book and reading the first couple of sentences in the book. If it doesn't grab my attention I have a hard time reading on. I can't actually review this book yet because I am not quite done with "Fall Of Giants" yet, which I insist on finishing first. I am really enjoying that book so far. I love the setting and the characters are interesting. I very much want to see what becomes of them. I di ...more
Hailey (Hailey in Bookland)
I DID IT hell yeah
So, I didn't enjoy this one quite as much as the first one but I still did love it. These books are so fascinating because they manage to cover so much information in only 900 pages. This one gave such an interesting perspective on World War II and the homefront. I love how you get to see all of the facets of the war, not just the battles. The characters were lovable as it follows the children of the characters from the first book so I felt like I already knew them. My one issu
Aug 31, 2012 rated it liked it
An interesting long....................long.................... read but not up to the standard of Pillars or Fall of Giants.
Nov 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Think you could never empathize with a communist, a socialist, the elitist, anarchist, or aristocrat? Think again, because Follett takes you front and center into the lives of such people in his second book of the Century Trilogy with a passion and clarity that delivers the story of their struggles and triumphs to a place beyond our manufactured understanding and created historical boxes.

I love a great familial pan-Atlantic historical epic, and KF is incredibly precise in describing the minutia
Matt Schiariti
Nov 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
There are reasons why Ken Follett is one of my favorites, if not THE favorites and Winter of the World is another shining example of why.

WOW picks up ten years after the end of Fall of Giants. While it does have the original cast from the previous installment, it's more about the second generation: their children. It spans the time from the rise of Hitler and his Nazi regime, through the Spanish Revolution, WWII, Pearl Harbor, the advent of the nuclear bomb, the subsequent bombing of Japan and e
Oct 13, 2012 rated it it was ok
I finished it because I felt I had to. Hoping perhaps an unexpected plot twist, or something, might convince me that wading through 960 pages would be worth it. Sadly, the last page turned left me as empty as the previous many. Each page turned revealed the expected, formulaic and dull running commentary of 5 families and their involvement in the history of the time. Characters such as Maud, so interesting in the first book, so glossed over in this – Ethel Leckwith so strong in the first book so ...more
May 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I always find it enjoyable to learn history this way. This book starts off when Fall of Giants ends, We go through events leading up to and including WWII. We see these events through the eyes of the offspring of the previous book.. I really enjoy how this book takes you everywhere America, England, Germany, Russia, and even more. It's interesting to get a different perspective on events depending upon where you live and what philosophies you believe in. It was kind of funny because at the end o ...more
Scott  Hitchcock
May 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Book 1: 3*
Book 2: 3*

These are the junk food of historical fiction. Simple, easy and lacking substance. That's not to say they're bad. I just don't see why they're regarded as highly as they are.

Example one, dialogue. Continuously the simplistic conflict resolution. I could not be more furious, please I love you I'm sorry, I love you too, let's never fight again and they did not. If the real world was only that simple.

Example two, characters. Somehow again and again the same characters separate
Melissa Rochelle
Sep 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
First, Follett does a great job of making a fat book fly by. However, for a book that makes up something called "The Century Trilogy", I'm a little disappointed that the first two books only covered the first half of the century. Will the next book only make it to the fall of the Berlin Wall and then we're done?

Second, Follett does a wonderful job reminding us that war is horrific. He really doesn't hold back. If you're at all appalled by the fact that humans can be truly AWFUL to each other, t
Sep 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I loved this second book as much as the first in the series. I listened to the audio version this time and it only added to the entertainment value. This is a lonnnnggggg book but listening made it so much easier to get through. I love the characters, the politics, the war action, the relationships and just everything!
The historical element is fascinating and as before I was looking up all the battles / equipment / places / people described to get more information - it's just a brilliant way to
Beth Bedee
Another home run by Follett! I absolutely loved this book. I enjoyed it even more than Fall of Giants, and I devoured that. This novel follows the same structure as the first in the Century Trilogy. It picks up in 1933 at Hitlers rise to power.

Each of the 5 families from the first installment were present, except this time, the story centered around their children, who began the book as teenagers. I felt very connected to the characters in Fall of Giants and thought that it would take me some
May 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Of course, you must read FALL OF GIANTS's just now out in mass paperback, I noticed. I bought the hardcover, some time back,and actually carried it to the Kansas City area to read it,and didn't start it.....months later I finally did,and loved it....I grew fond of the characters,and felt like they were my personal friends.... the 2nd book in this trilogy? I felt the same. I felt the pain, the joy, the love, the anguish of all that the characters were going through..... WW I and WW II ...more
Feb 20, 2013 rated it it was ok
I'm more of a review reader than a review writer here on GoodReads. However, I felt moved to say a few words regarding the quality, or lack thereof, pertinent to Ken Follett's Winter of the World.

I've read two previous books by Ken Follett, the cathedral building series (Pillars of the Earth and ???). I enjoyed them both. So, I decided to pick up Winter of the World (book two in the latest series) because I'm a huge fan of anything historical concerning WWII. And typically, historical fiction i
Mar 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Seems like I've been reading / listening to a lot of WWII stuff lately. ...more
Very good read on the dark period 1933 -1949.

This book could be used as a high school teaching tool for the period. It details all of what went on in the world, from WWII, to espionage, the Resistance, nuclear bombs, Pearl Harbor, you get the idea. This is all set within a fictional story of many intertwined characters. While this is Book 2 of the Century Trilogy, I had read the first book about 6 years ago; since the characters are all listed in the front pages, it was easily to follow along a
The Book Maven
Nov 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
There are many things that I can say about Ken Follett and the second book in his Century trilogy--and remarkably, just about everything I have to say is good!

-First, Ken Follett's books are where history, soap opera, good storytelling, and statistically improbably coincidence meet.

-Second, Ken Follett is an unlikely combination of Edward Rutherfurd and Danielle Steel.

-Third, if you have a person who likes to read, but hates history, this would be the kind of book to give him.

-My issue with leng
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BOB (Big 'ol Book): Winter of the World - May - July 2019 2 4 May 10, 2019 08:49AM  
Winter of the World - May - July 2019 2 8 May 05, 2019 08:13AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Correction 3 10 Feb 22, 2019 11:27AM  
Dissertation Research 1 13 Jul 03, 2018 10:59AM  
Fantasy Buddy Reads: Winter of the World [May 10, 2018] 30 33 May 31, 2018 12:37PM  
Do I need to remember Fall of Giants? 8 120 Nov 03, 2017 08:45AM  

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Ken Follett is one of the world’s most successful authors. Over 170 million copies of the 36 books he has written have been sold in over 80 countries and in 33 languages.

Born on June 5th, 1949 in Cardiff, Wales, the son of a tax inspector, Ken was educated at state schools and went on to graduate from University College, London, with an Honours degree in Philosophy – later to be made a Fellow of t

Other books in the series

The Century Trilogy (3 books)
  • Fall of Giants (The Century Trilogy, #1)
  • Edge of Eternity (The Century Trilogy, #3)

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