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1933. Seit dem Ersten Weltkrieg ist eine neue Generation herangewachsen. Nun spitzt sich die Lage in Europa erneut gefährlich zu. In dieser dramatischen Zeit versuchen drei junge Menschen heldenhaft ihr Schicksal zu meistern. - Der Engländer Lloyd Williams wird Zeuge der Machtergreifung Hitlers und der Nationalsozialisten. Er entschließt sich, gegen den Faschismus zu kämpf 1933. Seit dem Ersten Weltkrieg ist eine neue Generation herangewachsen. Nun spitzt sich die Lage in Europa erneut gefährlich zu. In dieser dramatischen Zeit versuchen drei junge Menschen heldenhaft ihr Schicksal zu meistern. - Der Engländer Lloyd Williams wird Zeuge der Machtergreifung Hitlers und der Nationalsozialisten. Er entschließt sich, gegen den Faschismus zu kämpfen, und meldet sich freiwillig als Soldat im Spanischen Bürgerkrieg. Die deutsche Adelige Carla von Ulrich ist entsetzt über das Unrecht, das im Namen des Volkes geschieht. Sie geht in den Widerstand und bringt damit sich und ihre Familie in höchste Gefahr. - Die lebenshungrige Amerikanerin Daisy hingegen träumt nur vom sozialen Aufstieg. Sie heiratet einen englischen Lord - aber ihr Mann steht auf Seiten der Faschisten ... Von Berlin bis Moskau, von London bis Washington, D.C. spannt sich der weite Bogen der Geschichte. Der in sich abgeschlossene Roman erzählt die miteinander verbundenen Schicksale von Menschen in Deutschland, Russland, England und den USA, während über ihren Köpfen drohend der Zweite Weltkrieg heraufzieht. Es ist eine Zeit des Umbruchs, eine Zeit der Finsternis. Aber auch der Hoffnung, die selbst das tiefste Dunkel erhellt.


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1933. Seit dem Ersten Weltkrieg ist eine neue Generation herangewachsen. Nun spitzt sich die Lage in Europa erneut gefährlich zu. In dieser dramatischen Zeit versuchen drei junge Menschen heldenhaft ihr Schicksal zu meistern. - Der Engländer Lloyd Williams wird Zeuge der Machtergreifung Hitlers und der Nationalsozialisten. Er entschließt sich, gegen den Faschismus zu kämpf 1933. Seit dem Ersten Weltkrieg ist eine neue Generation herangewachsen. Nun spitzt sich die Lage in Europa erneut gefährlich zu. In dieser dramatischen Zeit versuchen drei junge Menschen heldenhaft ihr Schicksal zu meistern. - Der Engländer Lloyd Williams wird Zeuge der Machtergreifung Hitlers und der Nationalsozialisten. Er entschließt sich, gegen den Faschismus zu kämpfen, und meldet sich freiwillig als Soldat im Spanischen Bürgerkrieg. Die deutsche Adelige Carla von Ulrich ist entsetzt über das Unrecht, das im Namen des Volkes geschieht. Sie geht in den Widerstand und bringt damit sich und ihre Familie in höchste Gefahr. - Die lebenshungrige Amerikanerin Daisy hingegen träumt nur vom sozialen Aufstieg. Sie heiratet einen englischen Lord - aber ihr Mann steht auf Seiten der Faschisten ... Von Berlin bis Moskau, von London bis Washington, D.C. spannt sich der weite Bogen der Geschichte. Der in sich abgeschlossene Roman erzählt die miteinander verbundenen Schicksale von Menschen in Deutschland, Russland, England und den USA, während über ihren Köpfen drohend der Zweite Weltkrieg heraufzieht. Es ist eine Zeit des Umbruchs, eine Zeit der Finsternis. Aber auch der Hoffnung, die selbst das tiefste Dunkel erhellt.

30 review for Winter der Welt

  1. 4 out of 5

    Max de Freitas

    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 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 describes how people actually felt at the time. There is a handy map of the world on the inside covers. It shows all the cities where events transpire. Ken Follett is a master storyteller. His books are extremely interesting and thoroughly enjoyable. I eagerly await the third in this series.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jay Connor

    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 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: "These characters and many others find themselves inextricably entangled as their experiences illuminate the cataclysms that marked the century." If that sounds like the TV show, Law & Order's breathless "ripped from the headlines," you'll understand the decaying of literacy to pulp we have in this awkward middle child. The first test of great historical fiction is: did it get the history right? Ken Follett, no surprise, has got the history down pat. I've read quite extensively about the period leading up to and including the Second World War and I think Follett got the pulse of the times and the events aligned to their proper significance, including the important occurrences on the margin e.g., the Spanish Civil War and the Manhattan Project. The second test, which truly separates the excellent historical fiction from the good is the use of characters and their reactions to and against the riptide of events. With all due respect to the above quoted blurb, it is this area where we are let down. This cast and their human weaknesses and strengths fail to fully inform and make rational the seemingly contradictory and incoherent implosions and dynamisms of the time. Follett continues with the next generation(s) of the interrelated families he introduced us to in "Fall..." -- American, German, Russian, English and Welsh. But here, the sweep of characters instead of being broad feels more incestious. They fail to reveal their world in a fashion better than nonfiction. For example, just considering the rise of the Nazi's, last year's "In the Garden of Beasts" by Erik Larson is much more revelatory. Which is harsh indictment of a piece of historical fiction. This is the second of what Follett is calling his Century Trilogy. Both Follett and installment one are enough to keep me encouraged for the concluding volume, but I am a little leery especially given the working title: "Edge of Eternity." But I guess that is better than "Springtime for the Plutocrats."

  3. 4 out of 5

    Beata

    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 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 bother with Part Three.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Cee

    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 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 Civil War, World War II and the start of the Cold War. Oddly enough, the Depression is pretty much glossed over and doesn't seem to affect anyone. While the book does focus on a German family, the rise of Hitler is depicted as a forceful takeover by a bullying, thuggish mob and the economic conditions that helped him rise are pretty much non-existent. The book also follows wealthy and/or privileged American, Russian and British families not much affected by the economy, and even the Welsh working class characters of FALL OF THE GIANT are solidly middle class (and Members of Parliament) in this book. But aside from the curious lack of the Depression, the book hits all the highlights of mid-20th century history. Follett doesn't stray far from the popular, accepted narrative of World War II. Nazis and Russian secret police: bad. Americans & Brits: decent sorts. His German characters are all fervent anti-Nazis, of course, with one exception (but he's depicted as weak-willed and easily led.) The Russians are a bit more nuanced, despising Stalin's violent excesses but seeing them as necessary steps on the road to communist paradise. The Americans are oddly apolitical, even when serving in the US government; Follett mentions but doesn't examine too closely Roosevelt's land-lease program nor the big US companies who did business with Nazi Germany. The international political maneuvering was a highlight in FALL OF THE GIANTS; I was sad not to see more of it in this book. So if anyone needs an entertaining Cliff Notes to European History 1933-1949, this might hit the spot. (Cliff Notes in terms that the history is briefly and concisely presented; it's certainly not Cliff Notes in length!)

  5. 4 out of 5

    Dana Ilie

    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 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 isn’t always nuanced, and some events are glossed over in the name of moving the plot forward. However, it’s to Follett’s credit that this almost 1000-page book never seems to drag, and that he manages the large cast of characters so deftly. Follett is at his best when there’s action and intrigue, and there’s plenty of that, especially in the scenes set before and during World War II. A dramatic account of the Battle of Midway serves as a memorable climax to the subplot encompassing the war in the Pacific, while a dramatic confrontation between Boy Fitzherbert and his half-brother Lloyd Williams is a memorable scene from the European front. I loved this book and have given it five stars for both historical accuracy and its literary form and I highly recommend reading this book. I can't wait for the third work in this outstanding trilogy and marvel at the scope of the authors undertaking.

  6. 5 out of 5

    R.K. Gold

    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.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Karina

    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 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, American, Russian, and German perspectives from different genders, ages or social backgrounds. I loved following all these different story lines and even though there are a ton, I never felt like it was too much or that one got lost among the others. What I was a little disappointed by were the romantic stories. They felt a little forced especially towards the end. The term 'insta-love' came to my mind one or two times. But that never bothered me too much considering the big picture. And who am I to judge romance during a time when every day could be your last. What I was missing was a jewish perspective among the various POVs. Throughout the story a couple of Jews from different social backgrounds are mentioned, but considering the horrors of WW2 I feel like a perspective was missing. I guess it has to be mentioned that this book focuses a lot on the political aspect of the war which creates a good balance to the actual inhuman tragedies, which by the way never are described in a way that turns you away from the story. Concentration camps for example are never experienced 1st hand through a witnessed, but through the eyes of a young girl from Berlin who slowly discovers what the Nazi regime really is about. I found this to be an easy way of experiencing those darkest chapters of the war. On the other hand, I'm not sure if those should be made easier to stomach. I'm of the opinion that we should be confronted with what really happened every now and again. Considering the huge readership/mainstream audience it might just be a good compromise. Not everybody would be able to handle that (this would make an interesting discussion) This book didn't specifically focus on what happened in Germany which I loved. We learn what was going on in the USA, Russia, Spain and Britain. It's an amazing read if you feel like refreshing your knowledge about world history (fascism in Spain, communism in Eastern Europe, Pearl Harbour, the creation of the atomic bomb, Hiroshima and many, many more). I can't stress enough how important I think books like these are. We should never forget and learn from the past. I think this would be an emotional and suspenseful read for everyone, but especially as a German and as someone whose grandparents were born into a completely destroyed Germany I found myself deeply moved by my countries history. It isn't a book that shames Germans, but that depicts the horrors of the Nazi regime, as well as European Fascism and Eastern Communism in the 1st half of the 20th century. One of the story lines that especially moved me and that will stay with me for a long time is when the young German girl from Berlin finds out about how the Nazis were killing handicapped people from all ages as well as the mentally ill. My grandmother was born in 1943 suffering from epilepsy as well as deformed hands (they never stopped her. She would later become a secretary and amazing woman ;)). My great grandparents had to hide her for the first years of her life because of the Nazi program titled T4. It was the only time the German people stood up to Hitler and the government had to stop the program after 70 000 people had already lost their lives. Of course, it kept going just more secretly. I feel like sharing this personal experience here because I'm grateful this book sparked a conversation with my family and because it is SO SO SO important that we keep these stories alive. They can only make us better people. As you can probably tell, if you've gotten this far, this book deeply moved me, and made me more aware of the fact that those horrid and inhumane events of WW2 happened only 70 years ago. It's difficult to wrap my head around that fact sometimes. I can't wait to start the 3rd book in this series which will center around the German separation. Don't be afraid of picking up this 1000 page book. You can't do these big events in history justice in less. It's worth the challenge. READ IT!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Bill

    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 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. Perhaps Kenny's attempt wouldn't seem like such a blatant rip-off. That would have to assume that the reader can overlook such glaring faults as a novel filled to the brim with White Hats and Black Hats, the only characters Follett seems able to create. If a character is good, they have to pick a hairstyle that fits their halo. If the character's bad, not even an Exorcist tag-team of young priest/old priest will have the power to drive the demon from them. If the two-dimensional characters aren't enough to spoil the experience for the discerning reader, perhaps the overabundance of sexytime talk will. Follett wallows in sex with all the dignity of a dirty old man in a coin-operated booth at an adult book store. When one of the female White Hats is ruminating on her troubled marriage to one of the book's very naughty Black Hats, Follett feels the need to drive the point home by telling us that she has to grease up her vagina just to have intercourse with her husband. A writer with even a shred of imagination would have been able to get that point across without shoving the reader's hand into a tub of KY jelly. I think I should state that I would not deem the aforementioned Winds of War as a literary classic. It is, at its best, a noble effort to encompass the global strife of World War II, while putting a face to some of the people caught up in the maelstrom. But allow me to compare one of the many, many scenes that both authors cover. In 1941, U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt met with Britain's Prime Minister Winston Churchill in an historic event known as the Atlantic Conference. Even after some twenty years, I recall a poignant moment from Wouk's novel in which Roosevelt, one of the most powerful men in the world and a victim of polio, has to be assisted by his son as he hobbles toward this legendary meeting. What shall forever be burned into my mind on Follett's coverage of the same event is that he speeds through it in about three pages so we can rush back to Washington D.C. where some guy gets a hand job. That, more than anything, sums up this execrable book; a long, painful hand job from a dirty old man.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Glenn

    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 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 skips over the Holocaust though, even though some of his central characters are in Germany. Sure, he acknowledges the sufferings of Jews and others, but as a plot point it's not even touched. People just go to camps, die or come back broken and disfigured. Follet spends more time on the sex lives of his characters than he does on mass round ups and systematic extermination. To be fair, he does have some of his characters entangled in the Nazis euthanasia program for the mentally ill, but that's it. I truly enjoyed how Follett brought me into the inner sanctums of government, whether it be the Russian, British or American incarnations. These parts were the gems for me, as they illustrated how the world was/is nothing but a chess board for the elite and moneyed to manipulate. Also, just a pet peeve, but Follett repeated and paraphrased the same points over and over again. Not everything needs to be prefaced by what happened on the previous 5 pages. I was paying attention, just get on with it.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Choko

    *** 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 *** 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 actually want to believe that he is trying to give a fair view of all the sides, but he can't help write through his own experiences of a Western born and raised individual, thus his writing will always slant that way. I guess it was just a bit too obvious here... Once again, if you have this in mind and don't take everything as the complete truth, it is a good overview of the World during WWII...

  11. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    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 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 Follett did a commendable job at somehow packaging the main events of 20 years into a compelling, readable fiction. Not only does he address the obvious historical events of World War II, but he also shed light on the Spanish Civil War and the Manhattan Project, which was interesting and informative. I read criticism that he glosses over the Depression, the Stalinist purges of the '30s, and the Holocaust, and he certainly does, but I did like that he looks at the treatment of people with disabilities in Nazi Germany. You don't really come across that in many books about World War II-era Germany, and it was horrific and sickening and, I think, very important for us to never forget. Another critique of this book on GoodReads said that Follett is not a good writer, but a master storyteller, and I agree. I thought his writing was atrocious in parts, eyeroll-worthy in others, and I frequently flipped through five or six pages at a time, not bothering to read them because it was so obvious what was going to happen it was boring, but at the same time...I DID keep reading, all 900+ pages, so that tells you something. You still want to find out what happens at the end, even if it's hard to summon up the energy to care about Greg Peshkov or even Woody Dewar, who I'm sure is a great guy and all, but is not terribly interesting nor three-dimensional. Maybe Follett's arena - the 20th century and families from Germany, England, Wales, America, and Russia - is just too broad and ambitious, yet I've read generational stories that span countries or years that have been done to great success (Aksyonov's Generations of Winter,John Jakes' North and South. Also - the sex stuff IS a little much, and I'm by no means a prude when it comes to sex scenes in literature. But honestly, Follett writes about it way too much, to the point where I think that's why the characters come off as so flat and two-dimensional. And the sex scenes are ludicrously written. One of them contained something about how a character "squirted" all over this girl and the description was so disgusting and infantile I said "ew" out loud while reading. Look, I'm sure sex scenes are hard to write but Follett's just came across as something a barely pubescent boy would write. Will I read the third book of the trilogy? Maybe. I won't rush out to buy it. I'd wait until it's out in paperback and get it at the library for a beach read.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Carl

    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. 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. In Britain in 1900, fewer than a quarter of the adult population had the vote. None of the women had the vote in any of these countries, so that’s 50 per cent of the people who weren’t allowed to take part in democracy. And the franchise was gradually extended to working class men, so democracy really only had a toehold in the world in 1900. Now we take it for granted, certainly in all the countries we think are “civilized.” And that’s a big contrast with what we did in terms of killing each other. This is one of the most sweeping reviews of the evolution of class structure, politics, war, and development of the world during the 20th century that I've found outside of books documenting individual events. Follett's ability to use his characters to give you a first hand experience of the subtle and not so subtle effects of these events highlight the point that no event, decision, or action is ever black and white, and it's effects are never as simple as assumed before they are made.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Christine Hughes

    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. 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.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Waheed Rabbani

    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 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 would recall them to be an amorous couple, who had defied the establishment and married in London—when Walter was a German diplomat there—on the eve of the Great War. We soon learn that the row was about Walter’s objection to an uncomplimentary article on Adolf Hitler, written by Maud in a German magazine, where she worked. It was not that Walter was a Nazi, for he was a Social Democratic Party representative in the Reichstag, but he feared: “It would infuriate the Nazis … and … they’re dangerous when riled.” Before long Walter’s predictions come true. The “Brownshirts” soon start disrupting meetings of parties opposing Hitler, and attacking Jews and others in the streets. The novel thus begins evocatively, covering the rise of a new giant, the Third Reich, from the ashes of the previous one, which throws the world into a “winter.” Just as in Book One of the trilogy, this novel continues with the story of the five interrelated families—English, Welsh, German, Russian, and American—who live through some of the major world-events from 1933 to 1949. This part features: the rise of Fascists and Nazis, WW II, the development and dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan and the start of the Cold War. The plot now includes not only some of the previous characters, but also their children. It seems Follett does not need as many characters, as noted in the previous book’s six pages. In this novel they are listed on five pages, which makes it a more intimate read. While the list is handily presented, at the beginning of the book, most readers—including those not having read Fall of Giants—will likely not feel the need to refer to it. Although the narrative swings, from country to country and family to family, the characters, particularly those not having ‘come on stage’ for a while, are reintroduced by a skillful clue, enabling readers to identify them immediately. Particularly, their names: Chuck, Gus, Woody, Boy, Maud, Lloyd, Erik, Volodya, and so on, are well chosen and recognizable representatives of their country of origin. Although that period’s historical events are well known, from film and history texts, the narrative thread of these individuals, whom we care for and wish to learn more about, would encourage readers to keep turning the pages of this magnum opus. The result is not only an entertaining reading of their love stories and sexual experiences, but also an insight into the calamity, the horrors, the pain and sufferings of these people, who lived through those tumultuous times. Also, concurrently, we gain an insight into the monumental efforts made by the Allies to bring the Nazi menace to its knees. To accomplish this, Ken Follett has used the tools of an historical fiction novelist admirably. The casts’ locations, education, job functions, and personal characteristics are well chosen, which enable them to mix seamlessly with real historic characters at most of the important proceedings, such as political demonstrations, vandalisms, spying, strategy planning meetings, military campaigns, peace talks and so on. These give us the thrill of having shared the mental thoughts and lived through those events beside the characters. Not only that, but Follett’s eye for detail, such as, people turn on their radio sets and wait for them to warm up before the sound comes, puts us right in that epoch. Nevertheless, in order to make all of the above happen, Follett has had to use the fictional story-tellers’ favorite device of ‘coincidence’ in this book, as much he did in the former. The actors happen to be, proverbially, at the right place at the right time, to meet the right person. Some readers might find this unnerving. For instance, in one scene a soldier, while serving clandestinely in France, rescues the pilot of a downed aircraft, who turns out to be his half-brother, on a sortie out of England! However, this reviewer would agree with the dialogue between the characters: “It’s a small world … Isn’t it?” For such quirks of fate do happen. [Actually, in a similar fluke, I once happened to meet my cousin—who lives in a city over 10,000 Kms away from mine—at the Dubai Airport, while changing flights, although we were both on separate trips!] The Spanish Civil War is covered in some depth, and its major lesson is enunciated by a Welsh character, Lloyd, as: “ … we have to fight the Communists just as hard as the Fascists. They’re both evil.” As it turns out, the Communists helped to subdue the Nazis, and the Cold War with them was yet to come. Quite naturally, Follett was not able to capture, in detail, all the theaters of the WW II, such as the Dunkirk evacuation, the battles in North Africa, Italy, Burma and elsewhere. But, the ones he has covered, are presented movingly and the action sequences are in sufficient detail to bring them visually before our eyes, but not so monotonously—as in some war movies—to make them tedious. The best coverage is of the War in the Pacific, particularly the Battle of Midway and the sinking of the USS Yorktown, told through the eyes of Chuck Dewar, a closeted-gay US naval officer. Follett’s introduction of diverse characters, and the portrayal of an interracial love affair brings additional vividness to the novel. Possibly, because the topic, of the Nazi Concentration Camps for Jews and others, is well covered elsewhere, they only have a passing mentioned in this novel. However, Follett has included at some length the discovery and the eventual closing of the not too well known Aktion T4 “hospitals.” While this novel covers just one such institution, it is known that there were about six, where many thousands of German citizens deemed to be incurably sick, mentally incapacitated or physically handicapped were euthanized. They were, not coincidentally, also mostly of Jewish and mixed races. The novel describes the thrilling bravery of the German teenage girls, Carla and Frieda, to collect evidence that through the efforts of German clergy and public opinion, which finally persuaded the Fuhrer to close the program. While there are many real and fictional politicians, spies and their clandestine activities abound in the novel. Here Follett, as a masterpiece thriller novelist, is on familiar territory. Since the story lines are those of the children of the characters in Book One, they are mostly teenagers or slightly older. Yet, they perform remarkable feats of international espionage, with ease, which turns the course of wars and fates of nations. Such as the young Volodya, who after conducting several successful undercover activities for the Russians in Berlin, is sent all the way to Albuquerque New Mexico, in 1945, when he is still only about thirty. His mission: to bring back the plans of the nuclear bomb. The third part of this novel, called “The Cold Peace,” sets the stage for the final Book Three of the Century Trilogy. The characters, children of the ones in Book One, now have kids of their own, who will undoubtedly play a prominent role in the Cold War storylines to come. The final chapter’s ending, similar to the Book One’s, shows a child blowing out his birthday candles, indicative of the promise a new beginning. However, will they live in peace? We will have to wait for the Book Three to find out. Ken Follett, in the recent promotional interviews for the Winter of the World, disclosed that he had the typescript of the novel read by a number of notable historians. They are also mentioned in the acknowledgements. It seems that their help, and Follett’s skilful research has made this novel, except for the fictional characters, historically correct. Finishing reading this 960-page novel is a much easier feat, than writing it. Hence readers should raise a glass, of Ken Follett’s favorite champagne, in a toast to his arduous undertaking for taking us on this memorable century long journey. Reviewed from an advanced reading eGalley, complements of Dutton/Penguin Waheed Rabbani is a historical fiction author, whose books are available on Amazon and elsewhere.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    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 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 did also read "Pillars Of The Earth" and "World Without End" and They are both up there on my favorites list. I even got my sister copies and insisted she read them both. I did also watch the mini-series of "Pillars Of The Earth" and I really liked how that came out too. I will update my review when I do finish "Winter Of The World". Just in case anyone is wondering, yes I did open the book already and read the first sentence... actually I read the whole page and had to stop myself. I can't wait to read on. Thanks again Good Reads for such a great website , Ken Follett for your great stories, and Dutton who listed this book for the giveaway. "Winter Of The World", Love the beginning! If my eyes would stay open I would have read all night. : ) I love the way Ken Follet weaves the story back and forth between the characters and places. That's what I liked in the Pillars Of The Earth too. I liked the book a lot, I am looking forward to the next book.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Dem

    An interesting long....................long.................... read but not up to the standard of Pillars or Fall of Giants.

  17. 4 out of 5

    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 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 issue is that I think I had hyped it up a bit too much for myself. World War II is one of my favourite historic topics to study and read about so I had very high expectations for this and they were just let down a smidgen. I was hoping one of the perspectives would be from someone in a concentration camp but instead there was only an outside view of the concentration camps. I just wish they had been more of a prevalent topic in the story if that makes sense. But, other than that I really loved it! Ken Follett really is an expert storyteller as he is able to create such captivating narratives and create a realistic portrait of the world in the crisis of World War II. I can't wait for the next one!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    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 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 minutiae which transforms how the reader would otherwise have thought about the various settings. I love to be humbled by this kind of knowledge. Strong female characters are a trademark, and I find it more satisfying that his plainer folk see most of the action and heroics. There is a slight tendency to make out characters possessing a greater share of beauty and riches to be antagonistic, but it certainly varies and blends well enough. His sex is bluntly male at times, but seems to lack a coarseness found in many of his counterparts, and I enjoy his intimate contributions. If you’re confused by politics, hold on-because there’s plenty. If intrigued, just read into the lives of those seeking to make a difference in the world as they understand it. His stories come together with an uncanny realism, but let his critics not forget this is fiction, which is fantasy, after all, and will never read the same as biography. I didn’t trust him to handle battle scenes during WWI in a way that wouldn’t cause me to lose interest, yet somehow, I was captivated instead of repelled. Once again, with Winter, I actually dreaded the certainty of enduring endless WWII soldier deaths. Had I forgotten the London Blitz or the bombing of Berlin and the civilians who lived, died, and fought for their lives? Our characters are in the midst of these, transporting us to the most basic emotions of compassion. Winter of the World is very much a continuation of Fall of Giants, and I’m not happy with having to wait for the third installment. I would admit to liking Giants somewhat more, but I’m not sure why. That would take more study than this post allows. Of course, I’m nervous about the Cold War. And the 60’s? God help us. I choose to remain faithful that KF will have me seeing the light.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Matt Schiariti

    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 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 ends in the 50s. While its well researched and equally well told, it wouldn't be anything more than a history book if it weren't for a diverse and nicely constructed cast. Winter of the World has that in spades. While putting his characters through all kinds of world changing and hellish scenarios, Follett never diverges away from interpersonal drama, relationships and subplots. What he puts his characters through runs the gamut from the uplifting to the downright terrifying. Loves are won and lost, families are born, battles are fought, atrocities are lived through and overcome. Each and every character is well fleshed out and reacts logically. Using a combination of personal motives and moral codes, Follett's characters react to the real world and historical events he's made them a part of in a believable and logical way. They react to what's going on around them and make their decisions based on their beliefs and the state of the world around them. Nobody puts fictional characters into true events like Ken Follett. *As an aside, my favorite characters and story lines center around Lloyd, Carla, Woody and Daisy.* It's an amazing accomplishment that, for the second time, he's interspersed the real and the fictional into such a broad sweeping and well written work. I don't know how he does it but he does. I've read many of the previous reviews and see the low average rating. As it turns out, many of the one and two star reviews are from people complaining about the price...even BEFORE the book was released. Rating a book solely based on the price before ever even reading it is, in my humble opinion, silly, uninformative and unfair to the author. If it's too costly, go to a library. If if wasn't to your liking AFTER having read it, then base the review on that. Complaining about price is a waste of everybody's time. But I digress. Winter Of The World is a fine example of why I love Ken Follett's books and, more importantly, why I love to read. You just can't help but get swept up in the characters and the time periods he writes about. Fantastic.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    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 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 ignored as a character here. Boy Fitzherbert should have been a character with a lot more to say about everything, except he's written as cliched fool. It seems Follett was so keen to race through History he forgot about what made the first in the trilogy enjoyable - his characters, their personalities and how they interact with each other. I will probably buy the third in this series just to see what happens. I just hope is better than this book - it's so disappointing in so many ways. A big shame because most of Follett's work I have enjoyed immensely.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Berit☀️✨

    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 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 of the book quite a few people had kids, I believe this is so the next book it happen, and I'm deathly going to read that!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Scott Hitchcock

    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 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 separated by oceans run into each other in random meetings. In fact their children run into each other years later in similar random circumstances. Example three, the story. Trying to be Epic Historical Fiction Follett gives a smattering of major events so he can cover the entire 20th century. The problem is if you're going to do that you cannot miss entire storylines such as the Japanese work camps in America as one example. You also really can't cover other major events in full. You pretty much get the headlines with appearances by real historical characters and never anything in depth. Example four, the sex. Softcore fondling scenes that all seem repeatable between both of his series. These are entertaining and I'll finish them out but this really does feel like Kingsbridge #5 with Follett having his form where he changes names, dates and events but it's mostly the same.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Rochelle

    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 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, then just don't read this book. I mean, this book serves as one big reminder that humans have this incredible capacity to just forget that others are also HUMAN. And we can be absolutely TERRIBLE to each other based on the most simplistic differences. Third, Follett truly is an incredible author. He takes something as complicated as international relations and makes it into a story worth reading. Of course, I'm not a historian so I don't know how accurate he is, but as a reader I kept turning the pages. Can't wait to see what the next generation of Peshkovs, von Ulrichs, Dewars, Williams, and Fitzherberts live through.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    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 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 learn a bit more history whilst also enjoying the more frivolous fictional relationship bits. Even though it is long Follett has packed A LOT into this novel and so it can feel that he has tried to shoe-horn characters into a part of the war he wants to talk about...BUT the book flows beautifully and I forgive the small amount of unrealistic bits because this is some fantastic story telling based on real events. Flabbergasting and moving - love it.

  25. 5 out of 5

    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 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 time to warm to the next generation. That wasn't so. Follett did an excellent job of "weaning" the reader from the parents. They were very present at the beginning of the novel, but over time, we saw less and less of them, and the next generation took over the plot. Again, time moved swiftly and characters were left for months to years before we heard from them again. I most looked forward to the portions with Daisy and Lloyd, although all the characters had compelling stories. Initially, my least favorite sections were the ones that focused on the Soviet characters. But as the novel progressed,their story was very intriguing as it laid the foundation for the Cold War and book 3. I appreciated that this wasn't just another World War II novel. Much has been written on that topic, even by Follett himself. Instead, I read about topics that haven't seen much coverage: the politics in Germany at Hitler's rise to power, the Fascist movement in England, the Spanish Civil War, Soviet and German espionage, the Pacific theatre, Soviet atrocities during the Fall of Berlin, and the race to create atomic bombs. There were a few war scenes, but on the whole, the novel dealt more with politics. I listened to the audiobook read by John Lee. He was excellent. I was most impressed with his ability to capture the characters through their different accents and dialects. I'd highly recommend listening to this one. I was sorry to see the book end. I absolutely can't wait until September 2014 for Edge of Eternity.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Gary

    Of course, you must read FALL OF GIANTS first....it'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 Of course, you must read FALL OF GIANTS first....it'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 ,and all the drama focused around their lives. I felt like I was a huge part of their lives........ What a sign of a truly impressive novel,and the richness of it's writing! I just now finished WINTER,and I am ready for book number 3 now! To me, all of the above comments tell me about what a great writer Follett is and what super books these are......I can assure you that you won't be disappointed,and don't let the length of the novels deter you....it reads quick,and a lot of things happen to these characters. Follett spends a lot of time researching his facts,and in my estimation he is the king of historical fiction these days..... Pick up the first book,and be prepared to be riveted!! Then read book # 2. I am anxious to hear of a date for release of the final installment!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Peterspepper

    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 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 is what Follett does best! However, IMHO, I'm afraid he seriously missed the mark on this venture. I found his references to historical fact to be extremely dull, seriously lacking in the rich dimension that was the reality of our world at that time. So interesting, yet depicted so flatly. What a lost opportunity. Additionally, his characters evoked almost no emotion from me and their dialog was so exceptionally boring as to be almost child-like! I had intended to go back and read the first book in this series, covering WWI, but I believe I'll pass. And, I'm VERY pleased I decided not to invest in the $20+ cost of purchasing the ebook! I suggest borrowing it from your local library should you decide to wade into this quagmire of a book!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Seems like I've been reading / listening to a lot of WWII stuff lately. Seems like I've been reading / listening to a lot of WWII stuff lately.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    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 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 and it wasn't necessary for me to have remembered all of the details from the first book (anything of major importance was weaved back into story). The only reason I am glad to be finished is because I was reading the hard cover, so it was quite a tomb to lug around since I always have my current read in tow!

  30. 4 out of 5

    The Book Maven

    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 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 lengthy, multi-volume tomes like this is that a lot of times, I forget characters, connections, and events between publications. Follett skillfully makes everything clear without ever making you feel as though stuff is being rehashed. -Fourth, last, and most important (and complimentary): even to this day, we often wonder about the collective insanity that gripped Europe (specifically, Germany, France, Italy, etc.) when they embraced National Socialism. Follett does an outstanding, let me repeat, OUTSTANDING job of portraying (without preaching) how good, regular Germans could be utterly oppressed and bullied into fearfully remaining silent as Hitler and the Nazis destroyed their country. What Follett's books lack in profundity, they make up for in empathy and an accurate historical perspective.

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