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13 September 2012

Herman Wouk: The Winds of War

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Epic WWII novel for my Modern Classics Kindle Library
I was enthralled by The Winds of War when it was released in the early 1970's, and enjoyed the mini-series with Robert Mitchum and Ali MacGraw in the early 1980's. A couple of years ago I found a tattered paperback in a second hand bookstore and enjoyed reading it again.  About the same time cable TV screened the mini-series over a week and I was enthralled again.

This book, and the sequel War and Remembrance, are Wouk's largest fictional works and give a comprehensive coverage of many of the major events before and during WWII. The Winds of War tells the story of the lead up to WWII through the eyes of Navy Commander Victor "Pug" Henry who is appointed Naval Attache in Berlin 6 month's before Hitler's invasion of Poland in September 1939. He travels widely throughout Europe as President Roosevelt's unofficial eyes and ears in Europe, meeting most of the key players during those tumultuous times. During this time Pug begins a platonic but very close and borderline romantic relationship with Pamela Tudsbury, daughter of a famous British radio personality.

This book and War and Remembrance are classic novels about WWII. Wouk devoted "thirteen years of extraordinary research and long, arduous composition" to these two memorable novels.

Since moving to Kindle format I am slowly gathering copies of my favourite books for my Modern Classics Kindle Library. This book certainly gets a place in that library and I am waiting for better pricing before adding War and Remembrance. Last week I added all 6 volumes of Churchill's memoirs of the war to this library when they were a Kindle Daily Deal for $1.99. The world of the Kindle really is a marvellous place.

I also enjoyed Wouk's 1990's books, "The Power" and "The Glory", about the establishment of Israel and the 1967 Six Day War and the 1973 Yom Kippur War. After that I assumed that Wouk had retired but was astounded to find that, at the age of 97, he will publish a new novel in November, The Lawgiver, about the life of Moses. I pre-ordered it immediately.

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