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The Winter War: A Novel by [Durbin, William]
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The Winter War: A Novel Kindle Edition

4.9 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

William Durbin lives on Lake Vermilion at the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northeastern Minnesota. He taught English for many years, and now writes full-time.


From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • File Size: 463 KB
  • Print Length: 242 pages
  • Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books (December 18, 2008)
  • Publication Date: December 18, 2008
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0013TRRQC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #629,744 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This one has everything. Intrigue. Adventure. Young people caught up in a treacherous war. But the author brings poignancy and empathy to his characters both young men and young women...and some in disguise so you can't tell which. What makes it great is that there is so much good history packed into this "young adults" novel that once kids read it, they'll know more about one of the most pivotal aspects of the twentieth century than do 99 percent of America adults. The stirring and patriotic story of a tiny country with very few people facing down the armed might and steel fist of one of the most vicious, totalitarian regimes in world history. (Hint: it wasn't Hitler.)

Especially good for places where young people and adults live with snow and things like cross-country skiing for a good part of the year.

Highly recommended...by me!
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Format: Hardcover
This book really captured my attention and interest. I've always wanted a novel that went into depth of the Winter War and to learn more about what Finnish families went through during that time as well as the soldiers. There are historial books on it, but not so many novels. This story is basically about a young man named Marko who loses his best friend Johan to a bombing from a Russian plane and he decides to fight in the war to save his country and avenge his friend's death despite his weakened leg. This novel really shows how Marko and the other soldiers had "Sisu" and fought for their freedom. Even though it is written for teens and young adults, it is very well written and I would recommend it for anyone with an interest in Finnish history or who just wants to read a good book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Even though this book was written for older children and teens, I enjoyed it. It is an accurate representation of Finland's Winter War against the U.S.S.R. in the winter of 1939-1940. This war began when Stalin and his henchmen claimed that tiny Finland attacked the U.S.S.R. Using this phony provocation as an excuse, the Soviets invaded Finland with more than a million men, thousands of tanks, artillery pieces and airplanes and dozens of ships. They would need more before it was over. They would not need the brass band which they brought along to celebrate their victory. In his memoirs, Khrushchev claimed that the Soviet Union had more than one million casualties in this war. There is debate over the actual number. This novel tells the story of the fighting through the eyes of a boy recruited to be a company messenger. Even though the heroism and sacrifices of the Finnish people are depicted, the novel does not glorify war. The hardships and the fear are not glossed over but neither is the fact that the Finns overcame the odds and remained a free nation at the end of the war despite losing about 10% of their territory.
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Format: Kindle Edition
The Winter War is a fantastic window into the little-known war-within-a-war between Finland and the Soviet Union in 1940. Told from the perspective of Marko, the fourteen-year-old polio survivor, the story captures the heroic defense of Finland from the Soviet aggressor. Small yet defiant Finland held out against overwhelming odds long enough to secure their independence, if not all their territory. This story is the kind of book I would have loved as a young reader (I loved it as an older reader!). It's real, action-packed, and serious, all at the same time. The main character Marko is challenged, both inside and out, but shows courage that really makes a difference. The author captures the hardship, danger, unbelievable horror, and yes, boredom of war. All without sensationalizing or romanticizing. Recommended for all young readers, particularly boys who want more than the typical slow-paced historical fiction offerings.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was a good read and the story moved along quickly. The author did a good job in putting the reader into the shoes of the main character and painting the scene. The only downside was that I wanted to know what happened when the book was over.
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Format: Hardcover
A very good book! It's got a lot of what kids will like including boys: action, real-life situations, humor. A good way of learning a bit of history many Americans aren't familiar with, and from an inside perspective--that of a young person caught up in it. The author does a good job of making his young character relatable and believable, showing how the war turns his world upside down, and showing a lot of really good details of the war in a believable way through the young character's eyes.

The writing style is straightforward, competent, and on the simple side, occasionally a bit too simple for me--for instance, flashbacks to the character's past always start with the character pausing & starting to actively reminisce, which I find unnecessary. But perhaps that's to be expected in a book for younger teenagers, which is definitely where I would categorize this one--11, 12 and 13-year-olds might be its best audience. Still, it was a worthwhile read for me as an adult to learn some history in an engaging way, and I would also recommend it to other adults who are simply curious to know what happened when Russia invaded Finland.
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