04 August 2012

Review: The Winds of War by Herman Wouk

The Winds of War by Herman Wouk

Originally Published: 1970

Pages: 885 (paperback)

Genre/s: Historical Fiction, WWII

Source: Own library

Check It Out: Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Amazon UK ~ The Book Depository

My Thoughts

On first glance, The Winds of War is an overwhelming book. At 885 pages / 365,879 words and taking place between March 1939 and December 1941, it's both dense in size and in scope. As a comparison, George R.R. Martin's A Game of Thrones is 835 pages / 292,727 words. And yet, I read it in three days.

Essentially a tale of one familys involvment in the leadup to the US entering WWII, The Winds of War is also a close look at the historical events in Europe, the US and in part, the Pacific that culiminated in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

The Henrys are a Navy family - Victor 'Pug' Henry is naval attache to Berlin and his wife Rhoda travels with him to Berlin. His grown children, sons Warren and Byron and daughter Madeline, are off making their own way in the world, and Pug finds himself drawn into the war in Europe when he sends a report predicting the Nazi-Soviet non-agression pact which comes to the attention of President Roosevelt.

Although The Winds of War is a dense, intense book, I found myself quickly addicted to the story. The characters were realistic and the writing very true to the era - not in a way that dates the story, but in a way that made me feel as if I was really there.

This book also helped me to understand more of the politicial, as well as historical aspects of the early part of WWII, particularly in Europe. There are sections of the book which contain reports from a German officer, which is translated and examined by Pug Henry, but I confess I didn't find them relevant to the story, and quite dry reading so I did skip them (after attempting to read the first section).

Part history, part family saga, I truly enjoyed The Winds of War. Despite the fact that I now have an aching wrist from holding this monster for three days, I'm already 300 pages into the next book, War and Remembrance. So if you're feeling brave, and love good historical fiction, The Winds of War is well worth the investment.


  1. ooh this sounds like it has all the elements that I love in a historical read..awesome review. I am adding to my wishlist!

  2. I have two of Wouk's other novels, but, I must admit, I haven't gotten around to reading them yet. I love historical fiction, though, so I shall be on the lookout for this - and the post has inspired me that I can certainly enjoy getting through two of his shorter novels!

    Thanks for the review!

  3. You finished! Glad you enjoyed it. Yay for skipping the boring parts! That's what champions do. This ones so melodramatic at times but I ate it up when I read it in middle school.

    Also, you CAN HAVE MORE. Are you going to start on War and Remembrance soon?

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