Winter of the World eBook by Ken Follett
Click Here to Download the Book Ken Follett's Fall of Giants, the first novel in his extraordinary new historical epic, The Century Trilogy, was an international sensation, acclaimed as "sweeping and fascinating, a book that will consume you for days or weeks" (USA Today) and "grippingly told and readable to the end" (The New York Times Book Review). "If the next two volumes are as lively and entertaining as Fall of Giants," said The Washington Post, "they should be well worth waiting for." Winter of the World picks up right where the first book left off, as its five interrelated families--American, German, Russian, English, Welsh--enter a time of enormous social, political, and economic turmoil, beginning with the rise of the Third Reich, through the Spanish Civil War and the great dramas of World War II, up to the explosions of the American and Soviet atomic bombs.
Reviews This story takes place in the onset of World War II and lasts throughout the war and in the aftermath. The story is part of a trilogy: the first part of the trilogy was about WWI, and the third installment will likely be about the Cold War. This novel follows characters from several different countries throughout the war. There is a German family, the von Ulrich family, who disagrees with Fascism but who is living under Nazi rule. There is a Russian family, led by Greg and Lev Peshkov, who are strong supporters of Stalin and Communism. These characters help the Allies fight against Fascism, but turn on them as soon as Fascism is defeated. There are also English and American families who are working with the Russians to keep Fascism out of their countries. The story has a great deal of history but also has some drama and romance between the young adults who are finding their way in the world. The story ended with most love stories working out, and Communism beginning to become an issue in Europe. I loved the ending because it set up the reader for the next installment in the trilogy. The story really made me think about World War II and how it impacted the whole of Europe beyond the concentration camps I have read about. It also made me rethink my own feelings about socialism. My favorite character in the story is Carla von Ulrich, from the German family. I think she is my favorite character because she went far above her own station and responsibilities to help save thousands of people. Carla is bright and figures out that the Nazis have set up a 'hospital' in which they are killing thousands of people with special needs, because the Nazis don't believe they deserve to live. Though Carla isn't personally impacted by this, she feels so strongly about the wrongness of this that she gets some friends to help her break into the hospital to get evidence, and then causes enough of a stir that the Nazis actually admitted wrongdoing and shut the hospital down. Even though Carla loses friends and family through her quest, she never gave up. I especially thought it was interesting that she convinced a nurse from the hospital to come testify against the Nazis, and bullied a priest into helping her also. I think that I liked Carla so much because I was supposed to. She was certainly one of the protagonists who was depicted as brave and smart, and the author did a good job making her likable. I absolutely loved this book. I don't usually have time to read things for fun during the school year, but I had been waiting months for this book to be released and I couldn't help but buy it. I love history, especially about
war, but I easily lose interest when things are too technical or dry. Ken Follett does a great job of combining history with fiction and drama. While this story is very long, I would recommend it to anybody who likes good historical fiction. You'd need to be interested in the history as well as a good fiction novel. My favorite thing about the book, as well as its prequel, is that I learned a lot about this time period but through a story, not a boring non-fiction book. Therefore, I'd recommend it to anyone who is into reading, the World War time periods, and isn't adverse to some drama.
Over the years I've managed to read a lot of what Ken Follet has written. He captured my attention with 'Eye of the Needle' and kept it with a string of thrillers. In my opinion Follet is at his best when undertaking an epic saga of historical fiction. His medieval tome 'Pillars of the Earth' was amazing and for me, truly defines the genre. The same holds true for his follow up 'World Without End'. I was excited to learn of his then newest effort several years ago 'Fall of Giants'. Similarly, it sets the stage for a farther reaching saga spanning decades to a century and more. While the first installment deals with the diaspora of Russians fleeing the country (or not) following the Bolshevik Revolution, the second book in the trilogy 'Winter of the World' provides a chilling account of interpersonal drama and conflict set on an international scale. While the characters central to the story line in both books are present - the ones from 'Fall of Giants' are now older and the story shifts to their offspring - they interact with key figures of historical relevance; these include Churchill, Stalin, FDR and Hitler. No attempt is made to shield the reader from the atrocities of the Fascists, Nazis or Communists before, during and after WWI & WWII. Like many of Follet's books, I was simply drawn into the tale told in an amazingly clear, concise and realistic way. My only criticism is that there are many characters and locales. I found it hard to keep up with the swirl of details surrounding the lives of each one. Nevertheless, "Winter of the World' earns a rare five star rating from this reviewer. I look forward to reading the third book in the trilogy.
I love all of Ken Follett's books! I guess I'd have to say that Pillars of the Earth is my favorite, but I have also enjoyed the first two books in his new trilogy on the 20th century. Fall of Giants was very good, but I liked this novel more, possibly because WWII is more compelling than the preceding period--at least for me. I've read a good bit of non-fiction and fiction on this topic but I had never before been exposed to the Fascist movement in Britain during the 1930s or the underground spy system that operated to aid the Soviets in Hitler's wartime Germany. Placement of central characters in the U.S., Britain, German, and the U.S.S.R. made these events and their connections personal and relevant for me. Where most WWII books end happily at the end of the fighting, this one continues after peace is declared and portrays the ravages of the fighting on people and cities that had been bombed nearly to rubble. I never understood the context that caused the British to vote Churchill out of office so soon after he had brought them successfully to victory; it makes sense to me now. Follett even showed why some American scientists were willing to give the Soviets information to build nuclear weapons; he didn't justify it but he did provide perspective and enabled me to see it from a more rational point of view. I found Winter of the World compelling because of its plot and character development, but it also caused me to view the history I had lived through in a new light. It encouraged me to consider and re-evaluate events I thought I had long ago settled opinions on. It's rare to find a novel that can entertain and enlighten at the same time. I recommend this book enthusiastically.
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