September 10, 2014

Winter of the World by Ken Follett

Winter of the World by Ken Follett is the second installment of The Century Trilogy and picks up right where Fall of Giants left off. The story starts in 1933, with the rise of the Third Reich and includes such events as the Spanish Civil War, the American depression and World War Two, it concludes in 1949 with hints of the cold war to come. 

I really enjoyed Fall of Giants, and was a bit disappointed with Winter of the World.  It felt like the same story - with different historical events. Even the characters seemed to be recycled - same characters different names. I guess I was really hoping for something new and fresh. 

As a work of historical fiction, Follett has done his homework. The historical events and real life characters portrayed have been well researched. I thought the part about Japan's justification for their need to go to war was interesting. It was a piece of unknown history for me. 

I found it interesting that Follett chose to skip the Holocaust and instead focused on Action T4, the Nazi's euthanasia program for the handicap. Perhaps he felt that the Holocaust had been done before and was looking for something new to flesh out? 

As with all of Follett's books, the bad guys are people to go along with the establishment - the fascists, the communists, the old aristocracy and of course the church. If I had to guess, I'd say that Follett is a socialist, and or a labor party member.  

Sex plays a huge roll in the story. Follett spends more time talking about/describing sexual encounters between characters than he dose on the horrors of World War 2. Characters - male and female- have hearty sexual appetites. Women are often described as having firm tits and round asses, and are ready for a romp in the hay or a blow job to go. Too much sexytime does make me wonder if he is compensating for something???  For the most part the ample amount of sexytime didn't bother me. However, when Follett introduced a 13 year old Jewish girl whose parents just died in a concentration camp he goes into detail describing her round bouncy breasts that clung to her thin tight dress. Why did he have to go into detail about her body? Her parents just died in a concentration camp? The size and shape of her breasts wasn't necessary.  

This book is not my favorite. However, the narrative is quick and absorbing, the characters are interesting and Follett provides readers with a front row seat to many memorable historical events of the 20th century. 

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