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The Winds of War

(The Henry Family #1)

4.36  ·  Rating details ·  53,331 ratings  ·  1,585 reviews
Like no other masterpiece of historical fiction, Herman Wouk's sweeping epic of World War II is the great novel of America's Greatest Generation.

Wouk's spellbinding narrative captures the tide of global events, as well as 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 th
Paperback, 896 pages
Published February 5th 2002 by Back Bay Books (first published November 15th 1971)
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AJ Farnsworth The Last Convertible by Anton Myrer is a great WWII book. It follows the fate of five Harvard graduates in the events in the run up to, and during the…moreThe Last Convertible by Anton Myrer is a great WWII book. It follows the fate of five Harvard graduates in the events in the run up to, and during the war. Once An Eagle by the same author, is a huge read that follows the fate of a soldier, Sam Damon, from WWI to Vietnam.(less)
Howard H It's an epic. And one of the greats. It might not resound for everyone all the time, but surely we'd be foolish not to give it a chance. Its reputatio…moreIt's an epic. And one of the greats. It might not resound for everyone all the time, but surely we'd be foolish not to give it a chance. Its reputation then and now is well earned as its 800 pages capture a world careening out of control. Follow the Henrys through the main moments and meet the main players. Their story has the power to sweep you along. If it's not working for you today, put it down and try again another time. You may find as most of us do that it's storytelling at its best. (less)

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Apr 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
“They found the narrow tarred roads filling with people on foot and horse-drawn wagons laden with children, furniture, squawking geese, and the like. Some peasants drove along donkeys piled with household goods, or a few mooing cows. Marching soldiers now and then forced the car off the road. A troop of cavalry trotted by on gigantic dappled horses. The dusty riders chatted as they rode, strapping fellows with helmets and sabres glittering in the morning sun. They laughed, flashing white teeth, ...more
Oct 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-star
Winds of War isn't my favorite book of the (almost dwindled) year. Nor does it break into my all time top 10 books. What it is, is simply a balancing act. In its bare bones, this book is a melodrama. But this undesirable component is supported by a blissfully solemn narrative. The main cast is the Henry family. The book's entire length is about how different these people are from each other, and how much do they cross paths despite their nomadic existence.

All of which has World War 2 as a canva
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Winds of War (The Henry Family #1), Herman Wouk
The Winds of War is Herman Wouk's second book about World War II, the first being The Caine Mutiny (1951). Published in 1971, it was followed up seven years later by War and Remembrance. The novel features a mixture of real and fictional characters that are all connected to the extended family of Victor "Pug" Henry, a fictional middle-aged Naval Officer and confidant of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The story arc begins six months before
May 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Winds of War is the first of a 2 part series comprised of The Winds of War and War and Remembrance. This book was impossible to put down. The story of the lead-up to WWII told primarily through the lens of the American Henry family, The Winds of War gives a comprehensive background on the military and political situation in a much more engaging way than a non-fiction book could. It also paints a broader picture by looking at the situation on the ground in both Europe as well as America. Desp ...more
Blaine DeSantis
Feb 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
There is a whole lot to like in this sprawling family saga that takes us on the journey of the Henry Family from the late 1930's through the bombing of Pearl Harbor and then Clark Field in the Philippines. I had this book on my Kindle for over a year and one day I was talking to the family about the old Mini-Series format from the 70's and 80's (by the way are the 10-episode cable series that dominate todays TV really any different from these? I think not!), and I remembered this show and the bo ...more
Jul 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Book 1 of The Henry family series first published 1971

What a monumental undertaking and what a success.
The book is successful on two fronts.
1. As a comprehensive account of World War 2 from just before Germany invaded Poland to the bombing of Peril Harbour and the entry of America into what was to be the first truly global war.
2. As the Henry Family saga and how the war brought so many trials and tribulation to it.

It would be fare to say that the Henry’s are a fractured family.
Victor ‘Pug’ Henr
Jul 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you listen carefully, you might just hear my screams of absolute euphoria that I have completely finished my longest audio yet. At almost 46 hours in length, it's been over a month since I started this book. The Winds of War has lingered on my Goodreads shelf since I began using the site in 2013. It feels really good to have given this WWII historical a listen.

Focusing on the five members of the American Henry family- Victor "Pug" Henry, his wife Rhoda, sons; Warren and Byron, and daughter;
Mar 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This novel was well worth every one of its 850 plus pages. I loved how Wouk presented all sides of WWII and how the countries involved made the choices they did. What a wonderful history lesson... camouflaged in a great story. In many ways this reminded me a lot of a Ken Follett novel. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.
Jan 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
This story, told through the eyes and lives of a Navy family, begins in 1939 and ends right after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. It’s certainly not a quick read. It’s long, over 800 pages long. Reading it was tedious at times, especially all the details with war strategy and military plans, neither of which interest me much at all. However, I’m so glad that I stuck with it. It’s not great literature, but the story and portrayal of characters are what made it for me. I especially loved the p ...more
Scott Axsom
Dec 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
Huge, compelling read. Though I may hesitate to call the book "enlightening", I'd probably feel comfortable describing it as "broadening", particularly regarding the range of viewpoints on various players' roles and motives in the war. It contains plenteous opinions about martial tactics (particularly Germany's) and the effects of politics (particularly the US's) on the outcomes in WWII. Opinions or not, it was refreshing to see unconventional views stated so thoroughly and convincingly. I was a ...more
Nov 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The cover says.."Grand..Grandiose..Compelling" and I must agree wholeheartedly

I just finished this huge classic wonderful piece of engrossing fiction based on the beginning of WWII history. It begins in 1939. Vicariously through a military family named the Henry's, we get more than a birds eye view of how things manifested. In this book, I swear, every page you feel as though you must have taken a trip back in time. I chose this book because I'm quite attracted to WWII fiction but I wanted t
Jun 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The death of Herman Wouk at age 103 in the Spring of 2019 made me think back on the multi-talented writer’s life and celebrated career. I ordered THE WINDS OF WAR, one of the author’s key bestsellers that I remembered liking very much when I read it in the early 1970’s. I wanted to see if the sweeping (885-page) realistic novel held up for me, and am happy to say it did.

WINDS is set in the USA, the UK, Germany, Poland, the Soviet Union, and Italy, and begins in the Spring of 1939, when naval at
Although my review is only for the first book in the duology, these three things I have to say about this installment also can apply to the second book. Let's see...

One, Herman Wouk has a very noticeable tendency to write preachily and moralisingly. Those fictional "excerpts" from the also fictional German general's memoirs placed at the start of each part and before certain chapters are obviously just an excuse to indulge in lecturing on history and Germany and America's role in WWII. I am not
Mar 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
WOW. I liked this one. (More than I thought I would.) It is historical fiction WWII. It was so close to 5 stars.....I still may change it from 4 to 5. I first read this author's The Caine Mutiny not long ago and I really enjoyed the ease of his writing. So I picked this one up and thought the same thing. I loved the writing and that this book was about war AND people. The war strategies, the thoughts, the fear, and the willingness to step up and step in, were well done here. The family drama was ...more
Mike (the Paladin)
I would have liked it more if it hadn't turned so blatantly into a soap-opera. You'll probably find it interesting but you'll also probably be exasperated by some of the characters. This I suppose speaks to how well they're written....but it's still a soap opera.

This was a big series in it's time and the attempt to wind a romance into WWII including the Jewish population and the concentration camp death camp experience didn't work that well for me.
This book really lagged in the middle and temporarily took all of my high hopes with it. It did actually pick up towards the end and the end does leave you wanting to jump into the sequel. The problem was that Wouk was prone to lectures... Lengthy monologues about history. I do love reading about history but I prefer to do that in non-fiction rather than being lectured in fiction. The reason that it picked up at the end was because the monologues ceased and the action picked up. The characters a ...more
Jun 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is an incredibly enjoyable fictional read for those interested in WWII history and how it affected families in Europe and in the U.S.

Perhaps the most unfavourable aspect of Wouk's tale, however, is how he places at least one member of the protagonist Henry family in the very center of practically every major milestone event of the war: the attack on Poland, the historic meeting between Roosevelt and Churchill at Placentia Bay, Pearl Harbor, and so on. In every case a family member is right
Sonia Gomes
Nov 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: To everyone, who would love to learn more about WWII without tedious statistics
My introduction to World War II, is The Winds of War. I loved this book because there are no hard core statistics and you get a 'Story' but it has been difficult to review this amazing book, it truly is.

If you want a really good review read Matt@

But a 'story' of Pug and his Family going through the War did help.

But hey...suddenly halfway through the book, I realise these are people, and I want to know more about the people.
What made them so resilient? T
Oct 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Misfit
Recommended to Laura by: Wanda
Just arrived from Australia through BM.

What a magnificent book, one of the best books on World War II I have ever read.

This first volume tells the saga of Victor "Pug" Henry, a middle-aged Naval officer and confidant of the President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

In my opinion, the main point of this book is the accurate description of the development of World War II, starting with the Nazi's occupation in Poland. Russian's fight was the following historical event and this volume ends with the Pearl
Patrick Peterson
June 2017 - I read this book in the early 70s and have some pretty vivid memories even now.
The descriptions of the special German groups (Einsatzgruppen) tasked with exterminating the Jews during WWII are haunting. In particular, the main method of disposal/elimination cannot be forgotten.

Wouk's history book of the war, within the novel, written from a German Wehrmacht general's perspective (Armin von Roon), was an ever fascinating device that illuminated much about the war. I remember a particu
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was as good a work of historical fiction as I've read. Being a little knowledgeable regarding the Second World War I can vouch for the accuracy of the history and while the plot itself had quite the flavour of a soap opera, that seemed to fit quite well, lending as it did an air of the everyday painted on the massive canvas of war. ...more
JoAnne Pulcino
Sep 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
THE WINDS OF WAR (The Henry Family,#1)

Herman Wouk

Continuing my love affair with the “Golden Oldies” this is a book that should be required reading for all Americans as it is the definite novel of the stunning impact of war and its gigantic toll on the world and individual families.

WINDS OF WAR is the epic masterpiece of historical fiction of the Great American novel of the Greatest Generation. This is the crowning achievement of one of America’s greatest authors and story tellers. Beginning wit
Tea Jovanović
Jun 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Dear readers worldwide, together with Mr. Wouk's agent I would like to come to some information that you can help me with... We need to found out who was the latest publisher of various Mr. Wouk's titles in your countries, the year of publication and the name of translator... Any information you give us will be of great help. Thank you in advance! Best wishes, Tea

PS. Please, send me those information via Inbox... :)
Jan 20, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
This is one long book, too long. 45 hours of listening and it may be the only time I wish I had chosen the abridged version. Much could have been cut out of this book to make it more enjoyable. Fine characters and stories but the in depth historical text was just too much. I liked it but won't be reading the second book in this series, one was good. ...more
David Putnam
Apr 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I’m on a sixties author (book) kick. I truly loved the Winds of War. It is an epic that follows one family through the build of World War II. The book is long but always engaging. The characters were well drawn and I wanted to know what happened at the end of the book so I now have War and Remembrance on deck to read (soon). I would recommend this book for anyone who enjoys historical fiction.
Carol Storm
May 03, 2018 rated it liked it
I hesitate to review this book because while I've spent hundreds of hours skimming through it at the library, I've never actually sat down and read it cover to cover. And of course, I did see the TV miniseries and loved it! Anyway, here are my impressions:

What sinks this book (more than the miniseries) is not the way Pug Henry is everywhere all at once, or even how completely admirable he is as a character. It's the way Herman Wouk gives such a distorted picture of modern America, modern life, a
Jun 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Yes, the protagonist's life is far too well-connected, and it takes quite a suspension of disbelief to accept Pug Henry's vast experience as being anything close to realisitic. However, once you do jump over that hurdle, what you find is a completely engrossing, well-written historical drama. What I think I admired most about this epic story is Herman Wouk's ability to create so many different characters, while giving each their own distinct voices and personas--the actual historical figures as ...more
Stephen Hayes
I've just finished reading The winds of war for the second time, about 25 years after reading it the first time. I had never thought that I would re-read it -- it just seemed too long. It was not that I hadn't enjoyed reading it, but it seemed that once in a lifetime was enough.

And then my wife bought the DVDs of the TV series based on the book, and we began watching it.

In the first episode I was struck by the trouble that had gone into making it. It was not all shot on location, of course, and
Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ...
I have read both The Winds of War and its sequel, War and Remembrance numerous times, though this is the first time I have listened to either. I keep re-reading these books because they are extraordinarily good. This book ends shortly after Pearl Harbor and War and Remembrance takes up the story from there.

Mr Wouk masterfully interweaves the fictional Henry family into the events of WWII. Through their adventures and struggles we see events in Berlin during the late 1930s, we experience the sho
Kathryn Bashaar
Sep 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
I read this book back in the 1970s a few years after it was written and I really liked it. I wanted to read it again because a recent New York Times article listed it as one of the best historical novels about World War II. The article commented that the book does a very good job of portraying how people – Americans, British, Russian and German – were thinking in the years leading up to the war. How could the Germans have failed to see that Hitler was leading them into disaster? How could the Am ...more
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Play Book Tag: The Winds of War - Herman Wouk - 5 Stars 2 10 Oct 13, 2020 01:39PM  
Discussion Questions 2 76 Mar 06, 2017 08:40AM  
***spoiler alert***Do you wish Pug and Rhoda had stayed together 19 98 Mar 06, 2017 08:39AM  

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Herman Wouk was a bestselling, Pulitzer Prize-winning Jewish American author with a number of notable novels to his credit, including The Caine Mutiny, The Winds of War, and War and Remembrance.

Herman Wouk was born in New York City into a Jewish family that had emigrated from Russia. After a childhood and adolescence in the Bronx and a high school diploma from Townsend Harris High School, he earne

Other books in the series

The Henry Family (2 books)
  • War and Remembrance (The Henry Family, #2)

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