War and Rememberance Volume 1 and Volume 2 (2 Volume Set) (2 Volume Set)

by Herman Wouk

Hardcover, 1978



From the Middle East, to Moscow, to Hitler's death camps, the members of the Henry family face grave danger as they fight in the Second World War.

Library's rating


(532 ratings; 4.3)

User reviews

LibraryThing member jonwwil
If ever a book over 1,000 pages can be said to feel rushed, this is that book. Not the whole of it; but the closing of the book, to me, certainly felt as though Mr. Wouk had tired of the tale and was ready to get through it. Perhaps that was deliberate, to echo the sentiment Americans had for the
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war at that point, or perhaps it was just because I wanted to know so much more about these characters I've spent so much time with.

Like The Winds of War before it, War and Remembrance is a masterpiece. This book is much harder to read than its predecessor, however. The Winds of War tells mainly of the hope and glory of an American naval family on the cusp of a world war; War and Remembrance doles out the gritty and harsh details of living (and dying) that war. For all of that, this is a phenomenal work, awe-inspiring in its scope and execution. It brings the war home, for someone like me who did not live through it, in both a grand and personal scale.

Read these books. This one, in particular, will break your heart several times over, but read them. It is worth every single second you spend doing it.
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LibraryThing member slsmith101
Herman Wouk’s words from “the Author to the Reader” at the beginning of the book:

The evil in Human Hearts Knows no Boundary, except the deeper, stronger human will to freedom, order, and justice. In the long run that will so far has prevailed.

War and Remembrance is a continuance of The Winds
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of War which together became my pandemic reads. The two volumes tell the story of World War II. They had been on my “to-read” list for a long time, but I wasn’t sure if they would hold my interest long enough to get through 2300 pages. Completing the books was a big accomplishment for me not only because of the number of pages but because of what I learned about the war.

Wouk tells the story of World War ll in a compelling way using the third person omniscient point of view. He also often uses letters and other writings to move the story along. Although “the war” is main character, there are several storylines involving various members of the Henry family who interact with actual historic characters. The fictional characters are a device to tell the story of the war and to keep the reader interested.

The events in the book are told mostly in chronological order. Since there are so many stories and so much happening within the same timeframe, the volumes jump from one character to another often taking the reader away from an event for several chapters before returning. I found this disconcerting at first but soon got used to it. At times the author steps completely out of the story and discusses how events relate to the then current (1970s) world.

The books were not perfect. The writing about the war details was sometimes tedious and some of the family drama seemed like a soap opera. But I bought into the drama and learned so much about a pivotal time in our history. When I finally got to the end, I wanted it to keep going. I seldom give a book 5 stars, but War and Remembrance along with The Winds of War deserves my top rating.
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LibraryThing member Stbalbach
War and Remembrance and Winds of War cover about 8 years from 1938 to 1945. They are almost equally split 4 years apiece with the second volume starting in early 1942. They are so long and full of incident one feels having lived through those 8 years. The second volume is when the war action picks
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up and all the earlier character and world building pays off. The history is accurate, but at times distorted to fit needs of the novel. For example the Leyte Gulf scene plays heavily on Halsey's "decision" as strategically decisive, when in fact it really didn't matter due to American superiority of material strength - Japan was going to loose no matter how many tactical mistakes the US made, and this was a small mistake. His description of Midway was masterful though he missed an opportunity to show the code breaking which made it possible and was just as dramatic close-run thing. Of course the heart of the book is the Jewish perspective and that was well done, 1978 was only 30 some years from the event. 1978 was also the same year the TV mini-series The Holocaust came out which was the first time many Americans were exposed to a dramatization of the Holocaust, indeed really came to understand what happened in detail.

I read both these though the audio narration by Kevin Pariseau about 100 hours total - audio is a funny thing because the narrator can ruin a book, be a neutral influence, or enhance it. Pariseau's brilliant acting - an art form of its own for audiobooks - brings the characters alive in a way reading would not, he adds an extra dimension that improves on the original.
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LibraryThing member BrendanPMyers
I read Herman Wouk's The Winds of War in high school and thought at the time it was the best book I ever read (gimme a break. I was in high school.) Not long afterward, I was in the bookstore and wondered if there was anything else by Wouk I might like.

I wandered over to the W's and picked a thick
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something off the shelf, discovering only at that very moment there was a sequel to The Winds of War. I'd had no idea.

(Of course, in retrospect, The Winds of War ending on the eve of Pearl Harbor should have told me something . . .)

But the scene I am referencing comes from its sequel, War and Remembrance, when Aaron Jastrow is led into the gas chamber. I can't imagine there is another fictional chronicle anywhere that captures better exactly what it must have been like more than this scene. And yet, Wouk somehow makes it a triumphal moment.

Now, had it ended there, it would have been memorable enough. But it doesn't. We follow Jastrow's journey from the floor of the gas chamber, to the crematorium, through the chimney, out the smokestack, and to freedom.

Yes, freedom.
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LibraryThing member japaul22
Last year I read The Winds of War, and War and Remembrance is the sequel. War and Remembrance is historical fiction about WWII. Wouk writes an amazingly detailed account of the war that I found incredibly interesting. Usually with military historical fiction, I get bored with the military part and
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just want to read about the characters - this book was the opposite. In fact, the characters in this book are pretty flat and one-dimensional. They are put in unrealistic situations to further Wouk's telling of the war. But for whatever reason, it didn't bother me. Wouk keeps the focus on what matters.

The most emotionally charged and best-written part of this book revolves around the Holocaust. The characters involved are the most interesting in the book. I don't know what to say to do this part of the book justice, but it was all very horrifying and moving and unforgettable.

At over 2000 pages for the combined books, this is quite an undertaking in terms of time, but it's a surprisingly easy book to read. I think it will really help give me a background for some of the non-fiction military history books that my husband has been bugging me to read.
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LibraryThing member mainrun
This book was not as good as the first book in the series, Winds of War. It may just be that, combined with the first book, and the other ww2 novel I read in between, the material was just too long for me. I wish the narrative followed Berel Jastrow not Natalie Jastrow. Natalie made many bad
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decisions that made her someone I had a hard time rooting for. I definitely was by the end of the book. The experiences were truly horrific.
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LibraryThing member M109Rider
Excellent sequel to "Winds of War". This book made me laugh, cry and think... often in the same day. Very recommended.
LibraryThing member pfax
One of my favorite books ever. This volume avoids the melodrama of its prequel and deals adequately with the loss and horror of war.
LibraryThing member melondon
I learned more about World War II from these two books than from any high school history class.
LibraryThing member markbstephenson
Embarrassed to say how much I learned about World War II from this marvelous and masterful novel. God Bless America!
LibraryThing member rosehurdercarney
Very enjoyable read, even the parts discussing military strategy. The end was a little disappointing. He was very successful in making his point, but I would have preferred a little better idea of how the characters (and their relationships) ended up.
LibraryThing member nana2
Good for understanding WWII
LibraryThing member Phoenixangelfire
A writer of great flexibility, follows with this story the lives of s family intertwining them successfully around the events of WWII. Enjoyable reading.
LibraryThing member satyridae
Intensely involving and heartbreaking. As in the first book in this series, the main characters do seem to be at the center of each important moment of the war, but one forgives Wouk this transparent plot device fairly early on. I learned a lot from this book and didn't find myself skipping battles
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the way I often do when reading historical fiction. The concentration camp chapters were more grueling than I expected, and I expected plenty. I think I'll have to re-read these two books to really grasp them. Well worth the time.
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LibraryThing member drmaf
Not as good as the first one. Too much of a good thing thing means the characters start to wear on you after you've been with them for a grand total of nearly 2000 pages, and there's only so much war you can tolerate before the parade of victories, defeats and atrocities becomes tiresome. Stiill,
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if you can see it through to the end its ultimately rewarding, albeit the denouement may leave you slightly frustrated and feeling that after such an epic read, you deserved more.
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LibraryThing member JVioland
One of the most memorable works I've ever read. The story of naval officer "Pug" Henry and his family and friends during WWII. Both theaters of operations are brought in. The horror of the Holocaust is depicted by the suffering Natalie. Fantastic book. Do not see the made for TV miniseries with
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Robert Mitchum in the starring role and Jane Seymore as Natalie (although she was very good, she was too pretty for the part). It is not nearly so moving or interesting and, aside from the bad acting of Mitchum, fails to pull you into the story as the book does.
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LibraryThing member dbsovereign
Sequel to _The Winds of War_ in which we get a bird's-eye view of all the goings on from a few well-placed characters. Succeeds in providing a very human face to the war (ww2).
LibraryThing member leslie.98
I am very glad that I read (listened to) this sequel to The Winds of War but it didn't quite pack the same punch. I suspect that part of the problem is it is soooo long; even though my attention only flagged once (when the list of people in the Midway battle was given), it was a bit wearing.

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Pariseau was terrific and I am happy that I chose to experience these books in audiobook format.
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LibraryThing member picardyrose
It's exhausting.
LibraryThing member atreic
I started this huge saga as my holiday reading for the South Africa trip, I finished it two months later after isolating for a week with Covid.

It is huge. It is harrowing. It is painstakingly well researched, every unbelievable thing I went and fact checked checked out.

It is the story of World War
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II, and any attempt to review it becomes in some ways a review of the War. I believe it is impossible for the human mind to fully comprehend the horrors of WWII, but this epic novel tries its best to bring them to life.

Which makes it an exhausting and depressing read.

It's a little contrived and far fetched in places. Wouk needs a viewpoint character, and so Victor Henry must be at every important event of the war that Wouk wishes to write about. It feels excusable, he needs a device to tell his tale. I was not naturally inclined to like Pug Henry, he is a Navel Officer of the old school, a man who finds it hard to express emotion, a distant father, who walks away from his marriage as soon as he can see an honourable route to do so.

It is also easy to dislike Aaron Jastrow. Weak, naive, hiding in his research and his library and his luxuries while the world goes to hell around him. So many times did I want to shake Natalie and say 'just leave him and get out of there!' But he is an educated man of honour, and he does the best he can in the darkest of places, right up until the end.

They are the poles the book hangs between, and are they both in their own way shadows of the author? He is a born Jewish author, he led a secular life for a bit and returned to his faith. He served in the US Navy in the Pacific Theatre in WWII.

So many other stories are drawn between these two men. The most burning for me is Byron and Natalie. Byron, the second child, always in the shade of his golden brother, never able to please his father, fighting in the terrifying dark world of submarines. Natalie, a sophisticated American Jew, who finds herself in the end in the horrors of Auschwitz. What could be a simple love story is dark and complex. And the book ends on a hanging note. Will she return to the easy life of the Henrys in the states, or find her own path with other survivors in the new state of Israel?

The book pulls its punches. It talks so frankly of so many horrible things, but the golden core of sympathetic characters do make it through. Perhaps it is the only way we can keep going after learning of such things. The artificial sprinkling of a little hope is not a very great weakness.
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LibraryThing member golfjr
With its companion novel, "the winds of War" one of my favorite novels. Not that its so well written; it just able to evoke the feeling of people on the edge of WWII thru some harrowing experiences. It has an epic quality like War and Peace which Mr. Wouk must have had in mind.
LibraryThing member leslie.98
I am very glad that I read (listened to) this sequel to The Winds of War but it didn't quite pack the same punch. I suspect that part of the problem is it is soooo long; even though my attention only flagged once (when the list of people in the Midway battle was given), it was a bit wearing.

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Pariseau was terrific and I am happy that I chose to experience these books in audiobook format.
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Little, Brown and Company (1978), Edition: BCE

Original publication date



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