Book Review: Winter of the World by Ken Follett


Rating: 3.5 / 5

Summarizing a 900+ page book is difficult.  Winter of the World takes place in the 20th century (more specifically 1933 to 1949) following four families: American, Russian, German, and British.  This second installment picks up where The Fall of Giants left off, focusing on a) the Walter and Maude’s daughter, Clara von Ulrich, b) the son of Grigori and Katerina Peshkov, Volodya, c) the son of Eth Leckwith and Earl Fitzherbert, Lloyd, d) the daughter of Lev Peshkov and Olga, Daisy, and e) the sons of Senator Gus Dewar and Rosa, Woody and Chuck.

I really enjoyed reading the historical accounts of various events, such as the Spanish Civil War, the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the battle/riot of Cable Street.  Follett does a great job humanizing all ideologies and beliefs during this tumultuous time.  It is easy to judge Nazis and Communists, but what Follett does very well is make readers get a glimpse of a different viewpoint.  Through Volodya, the Leckwith-Williams, and the von Ulrichs, it is understandable why people favored communism, socialism, and were skeptical or capitalism.  While reading this book, I wondered how my beliefs would be different had I been alive during that time.  In all honesty, I think this triology (or at least the first two installments) would be great reading for students who abhor history.  Follett’s rich storytelling of events is compelling, thought-provoking, and a great way to learn about history.

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