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War and Remembrance Paperback – February 5, 2002
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By exploring the experiences of the fictional Henry family and their extended acquaintances, Wouk manages to cover virtually every aspect of this sprawling epic struggle between good and evil. There is Victor "Pug" Henry, stoic Navy captain, his dutiful bound son Warren, a Navy flyer bound for action in the Pacific, his formerly wayward son Byron, now a submarine officer who marries the Jewish woman Natalie Jastrow in Europe. Natalie herself is trapped in Italy with her Uncle, the intellectual scholar Aaron Jastrow and her baby Louis. The Nazi vice that slowly closes on the American born Natalie is excruciating yet stunningly realistic. There is Leslie Slote, the callous foreign service officer who has an epiphany when he discovers the plans for the Final Solution and there are many many others. Wouk blends the personal stories of these characters with an expositional account of the war. He uses the device of a fictional memoir of an imprisoned German officer to prsent the war from the German perspective.Read more ›
Trolling Nairobi's thrift shops at long last gave me access to one of the greatest books I have ever read. It is an epic novel, a great romance (and heaven knows how I hate those, but this one was a gem), and perhaps the best history lesson on the Second World War I have come across.
Without going into specifics about the book - which the other reviewers on the site have done so well, the things that stand out in the book are several:
One; it brings to life the Holocaust in a way that history books can never hope to compare. Auschwitz is no longer a footnote to horror - it is now a flesh and blood camp with horrifyingly banal commandants. The SS are not nameless, faceless sadists - they are normal people with an abnormal hatred.
Secondly, the philosophical-historical insights into European and German history, as seen through the mind of Aaron Jastrow, are superb.
I need not dwell on the sweeping historical views of the war of "Armin von Roon", that bring the bigger picture of the war into play.
Natalie Jastrow, in my opinion the most developed character in the book, is prepared to prostitute herself in order to save her life in Auschwitz that she may see her son again. That, to me, makes her all the more remarkable a person than if she had remained unbelievably pious. Natalie is a real human being. The only injustice Wouk does to her is not to develop her character after Auschwitz.Read more ›
For that reason, I avoided reading Herman Wouk's epics. Talk about judging a book by its cover, or in this case by its weight... But I finally did start reading these books, and was completely hooked from the first chapter of "The Winds of War". I couldn't wait to see what happened in "War and Remembrance".
I can't imagine following Wouk's suggestion that one can enjoy "War and Remembrance" on its own, without having first read "The Winds of War". Start with the first one. If you don't, you won't know what you're missing later. The characters in the saga are developed in "The Winds of War" such that it breaks your heart when they encounter all of their perils and difficulties in the second book. I've never felt such sadness about the fates of fictional characters the way I did in "War and Remembrance", but I also was exhilarated by their successes and shreds of happiness along the way.
The two minor criticisms I have with "War and Remembrance" in no way detract from the five-star rating I'm giving it. First: The book felt a bit rushed at the end. Even though most of the dangling plot threads were tied up neatly (as neatly as war allows), there were too few pages dedicated to some of the most jaw-droppingly significant events of the entire war, specifically having to do with Japan. And that leads me to criticism number two: The war in the Pacific got comparatively short shrift, as compared to Europe. I would have appreciated it if Wouk would have expounded more on Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, Doolittle's raids, etc.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Hearing this master read so excellently is almost Time Travel! Remember the Author was a young officer in World War 2 and he's also a genius novelist.Published 17 hours ago by David Leffring
This is my 2nd read of Winds of War and War and Remembrance, love the stories woven into the history of WWII, both the lead up and time during the war, with stories coming from so... Read morePublished 3 days ago by Roxan temple
Those of us who lived during world war two still have to be reminded of such life changing time in our lives and history. Read morePublished 5 days ago by bg79
This book and Wouk's earlier one, Winds of War, describe a fictional family's life before and during World War II. The two books are one story. Read morePublished 9 days ago by Mary
Well worth the time and very informative. I lived through this as a young child. This book filled in some of the missing piecesPublished 24 days ago by Janice Adkins
This historical fiction gives you a clear picture as to what it was like for a military family (Navy) as well as several complete story lines. Read morePublished 1 month ago by K.W.