Herman Wouk’s 1971 bestseller, The Winds of War, immerses readers in world history from 1939 to December 1941, showing great leaders as ordinary men and ordinary men as great leaders.
The story is told through the experiences of an American naval family — Commander Victor “Pug” Henry, his wife, and their three children — and the people who matter to them: the sons’ wives and their families, the prominent people the daughter meets in her work for a popular national radio show.
Pug is sent at President Roosevelt’s behest to “observe” on behalf of the military in Berlin, England, and Russia. He meets Hitler, Churchill, Stalin.
When Germany invades Poland, one son, who was working in Europe, is trapped along with American Jewish woman with whom he’s fallen in love.
The other son, a navy pilot,marries the senate’s most outspoken opponent to American intervention in a European war. He’s at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese bomb it.
Wouk lets all these characters take readers around the world to get a 360-degree view of what led each of the participants into World War II.
Amazingly, Wouk makes every character a believable human being.
The Winds of War is the reading you would have liked to have had in history class.
The Winds of War by Herman Wouk
Little, Brown.  888 p.
1971 bestseller #7. My grade: A+
© 2018 Linda Gorton Aragoni