Book Review: Winter Of The World

By Ken Follett

Winter of the world is book two of the century trilogy and my favorite book so far. It is also another big novel by this author at 900+ pages but one I could not put down. I completed this in two weeks. I probably liked this best because I enjoy this piece of world history and the shifting dynamics of old world powers and the emergence of the USA on a more global scale that identifies with the greatest generation, also another good book on that topic by Tome Brokaw.

Winter of the world is the progression from the Fall of Giants and WWI.  This story takes place in the early 1930s through WWII and the late 1940s. The focus, just like the first novel in the trilogy, is around the leading players on the world stage; the United States, England, Germany, and Russia and four prominent families.

The author does a fabulous job of tieing in actual historical facts around real and fictional characters to build a must-read story. The author even tied in a historical fact that surprised me about a plot to overthrow President Roosevelt and the government that does not get much attention. Given what we witnessed this past election year, it shows the adage If we forget history, we are bound to repeat it.

The author was also spot on with the German march through western Europe, Perl Harbor and the pacific theater, the battle for Brittian, and ultimately the German defeat to Russians trying to take Moscow. He did an excellent job of describing these historical events with enough detail and clarity that gave it a great historical perspective even though there are full books on each of these events and more with greater detail.

Toward the end of the story and the end of WWII, the war in Europe was the focus. The author did bring in the historical perspective in parallel with the Nuclear bomb the US dropped on Japan. This section played a minor part in the story, but it set the stage for the start of the cold war and the race for nuclear weapons.  

The post-war story of the story detailed the emergence of the united nations from the failed league of nations nicely how life existed in a devastated Europe, specifically Germany and the division between east and west Germany and the wall and the struggle between democracy and communism.

The best part of the storytelling is how the author weaves the interaction of the characters together. As he flips between chapters and characters, it makes you want the chapter to go on to see what will happen next. That makes the book hard to put down, and you can’t wait for what happens next.

I did find this book had a better flow than the previous book. The story did not have any dead points as I felt in the first novel that seemed to make some sections drag. This book was faster moving, almost to the point that you want a bit more. What that did was make me grab the next book to see how the story continues. The last novel will be Edge of Eternity that will take us through the 1960s.

If you like accurate history and a great novel that is very entertaining, this author, specifically this trilogy, is excellent. The next book is the last in the series, and it tops out at 1100 pages. I can’t wait to see where it takes me.

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