On first glance, The Winds of War is an overwhelming book. At 885 pages / 365,879 words and taking place between March 1939 and December 1941, it's both dense in size and in scope. As a comparison, George R.R. Martin's A Game of Thrones is 835 pages / 292,727 words. And yet, I read it in three days.
Essentially a tale of one familys involvment in the leadup to the US entering WWII, The Winds of War is also a close look at the historical events in Europe, the US and in part, the Pacific that culiminated in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
The Henrys are a Navy family - Victor 'Pug' Henry is naval attache to Berlin and his wife Rhoda travels with him to Berlin. His grown children, sons Warren and Byron and daughter Madeline, are off making their own way in the world, and Pug finds himself drawn into the war in Europe when he sends a report predicting the Nazi-Soviet non-agression pact which comes to the attention of President Roosevelt.
Although The Winds of War is a dense, intense book, I found myself quickly addicted to the story. The characters were realistic and the writing very true to the era - not in a way that dates the story, but in a way that made me feel as if I was really there.
This book also helped me to understand more of the politicial, as well as historical aspects of the early part of WWII, particularly in Europe. There are sections of the book which contain reports from a German officer, which is translated and examined by Pug Henry, but I confess I didn't find them relevant to the story, and quite dry reading so I did skip them (after attempting to read the first section).
Part history, part family saga, I truly enjoyed The Winds of War. Despite the fact that I now have an aching wrist from holding this monster for three days, I'm already 300 pages into the next book, War and Remembrance. So if you're feeling brave, and love good historical fiction, The Winds of War is well worth the investment.