The Winds of War
The Winds of War is Herman Wouk
Herman Wouk
Herman Wouk is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American author of novels including The Caine Mutiny, The Winds of War, and War and Remembrance.-Biography:...

's second book about World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, the first being The Caine Mutiny
The Caine Mutiny
The Caine Mutiny is a 1952 Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Herman Wouk. The novel grew out of Wouk's personal experiences aboard a destroyer-minesweeper in the Pacific in World War II and deals with, among other things, the moral and ethical decisions made at sea by the captains of ships...

(1951). Published in 1971, it was followed up seven years later by War and Remembrance
War and Remembrance
War and Remembrance is a novel by Herman Wouk, published in 1978, which is the sequel to The Winds of War. It continues the story of the extended Henry family and the Jastrow family starting on 15 December 1941 and ending on 6 August 1945. This novel was adapted into a mini-series presented on...

; originally conceived as one volume, Wouk decided to break it in two when he realized it took nearly 1000 pages just to get to the attack on Pearl Harbor
Attack on Pearl Harbor
The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike conducted by the Imperial Japanese Navy against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on the morning of December 7, 1941...

. In 1983, it became a hugely successful mini-series on the ABC
American Broadcasting Company
The American Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network. Created in 1943 from the former NBC Blue radio network, ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Company and is part of Disney-ABC Television Group. Its first broadcast on television was in 1948...

 television network.


The story revolves around a mixture of real and fictional characters, all connected in some way to the extended family of Victor "Pug" Henry, a middle-aged Naval
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 Officer and confidant of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

The story begins six months before Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

's invasion of Poland
Invasion of Poland (1939)
The Invasion of Poland, also known as the September Campaign or 1939 Defensive War in Poland and the Poland Campaign in Germany, was an invasion of Poland by Germany, the Soviet Union, and a small Slovak contingent that marked the start of World War II in Europe...

, which launched the European portion of the war, and ends shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor, when the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and, by extension, the Henry family, enters the war as well.

Mixed into the text are "excerpts" from a book written by one of the book's fictional characters, German general Armin von Roon, written while he was in prison for war crimes. Coming across the German version, a retired Victor Henry "translates" the volume in 1965. The text provides the reader with a German outlook at the war, with Henry occasionally inserting notes as counterpoint to some of von Roon's statements.

As the story begins, Navy Commander Victor "Pug" Henry has been appointed naval attache
Attaché is a French term in diplomacy referring to a person who is assigned to the diplomatic or administrative staff of a higher placed person or another service or agency...

 in Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

. During the voyage to Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 on the S.S. Bremen
SS Bremen (1929)
The SS Bremen was a German-built ocean liner constructed for the Norddeutscher Lloyd line to work the transatlantic sea route. The Bremen was notable for her bulbous bow construction, high-speed engines, and low, streamlined profile. At the time of her construction, she and her sister ship were...

, Victor befriends a British
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

 radio personality, Alistair "Talky" Tudsbury, his daughter, Pamela, and a German submarine officer, Commodore Grobke. In the movie version, he also meets German general
A general officer is an officer of high military rank, usually in the army, and in some nations, the air force. The term is widely used by many nations of the world, and when a country uses a different term, there is an equivalent title given....

, Armin von Roon. Roon later becomes the viewpoint character for the German side of the war and witnesses the worsening of the German government
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

's discrimination against the Jews.

Through his work as the attache, Pug recognizes the intent of the Germans to invade Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

. Realizing that this would mean war with the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, he concludes the only way for Germany to safely invade is to agree not to go to war with the Soviets, even though the Communists and Fascists are sworn, mortal enemies. Going over his supervisor's head, he submits a report predicting the Nazi-Soviet nonaggression pact
Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact
The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, named after the Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov and the German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, was an agreement officially titled the Treaty of Non-Aggression between Germany and the Soviet Union and signed in Moscow in the late hours of 23 August 1939...

 before it takes place. When the pact is made public, the report draws President Roosevelt's attention to him, and the President asks Pug to be his unofficial eyes and ears in Europe. This assignment delays again his desired sea command, but later will give him the opportunity to travel to London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

, and Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

 and meet Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

, Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism....

, and Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

 in addition to Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

, whom he met in Berlin.

Due to Pug's increasing amount of travel and his aversion to many of the cultural events enjoyed by his wife, Rhoda, she spends increasing amounts of time alone. Through Pug, she meets a widowed government engineer named Palmer Kirby, who later will be involved in the first phase of the Manhattan Project
Manhattan Project
The Manhattan Project was a research and development program, led by the United States with participation from the United Kingdom and Canada, that produced the first atomic bomb during World War II. From 1942 to 1946, the project was under the direction of Major General Leslie Groves of the US Army...

. Rhoda and Palmer begin to spend time together attending the opera and other events, but soon this leads to a romantic relationship. For his part, Pug begins a platonic but very close and borderline romantic relationship with Pamela, but can't decide to leave his wife Rhoda for her.

After having finally obtained command of a battleship, the USS California (BB-44), he leaves for Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor, known to Hawaiians as Puuloa, is a lagoon harbor on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, west of Honolulu. Much of the harbor and surrounding lands is a United States Navy deep-water naval base. It is also the headquarters of the U.S. Pacific Fleet...

 from Moscow, where he has discussed lend-lease issues and observed a battle. He flies over Asia and spends time in Manila
Manila is the capital of the Philippines. It is one of the sixteen cities forming Metro Manila.Manila is located on the eastern shores of Manila Bay and is bordered by Navotas and Caloocan to the north, Quezon City to the northeast, San Juan and Mandaluyong to the east, Makati on the southeast,...

 listening to the radio broadcast of the annual Army-Navy football game. When his flight is approaching Pearl Harbor, they receive the radio message that Pearl is under attack and when they approach the naval yard, see the burning ships—including his own.

Pug's three children each have their own story lines. His older son, Warren, is a Naval Academy graduate who enters the Navy Flight School
Naval Air Station Pensacola
Naval Air Station Pensacola or NAS Pensacola , "The Cradle of Naval Aviation", is a United States Navy base located next to Warrington, Florida, a community southwest of the Pensacola city limits...

 in Florida. His daughter, Madeline, begins a job in American radio
History of radio
The early history of radio is the history of technology that produced radio instruments that use radio waves. Within the timeline of radio, many people contributed theory and inventions in what became radio. Radio development began as "wireless telegraphy"...


The child most prominent in the story is middle child and younger son Byron, named after the English poet
George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron
George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron, later George Gordon Noel, 6th Baron Byron, FRS , commonly known simply as Lord Byron, was a British poet and a leading figure in the Romantic movement...

. Though a Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

 graduate and holding a naval reserve commission, Byron has not committed himself to a career. In 1939 he accepts a job as a research assistant for an expatriate Jewish author, Aaron Jastrow, who is best known for his book A Jew's Jesus and lives in Siena
Siena is a city in Tuscany, Italy. It is the capital of the province of Siena.The historic centre of Siena has been declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site. It is one of the nation's most visited tourist attractions, with over 163,000 international arrivals in 2008...

, Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...


Byron also meets Jastrow's niece, Natalie, and her soon-to-be fiance, Leslie Slote, who works for the Department of State
United States Department of State
The United States Department of State , is the United States federal executive department responsible for international relations of the United States, equivalent to the foreign ministries of other countries...

. Readers later discover that Natalie and Slote are also close friends of Pamela Tudsbury from their time in Paris together. Byron is three years younger than Natalie, but catches her attention by heroically saving her uncle from being trampled by a stampeding horse during a festival in Siena
Palio di Siena
The Palio di Siena is a horse race that is held twice each year, on July 2 and August 16, in Siena, Italy...


Byron and Natalie visit her family's native town in Poland, Medzice, for a wedding, which occurs the night prior to the German invasion of Poland. They are awakened early the next morning to evacuate as the town citizens flee from the invaders. They travel from Medzice to Warsaw ahead of the invading German army, and at one point the refugees are strafed by the Luftwaffe and many are killed and injured. As they approach Warsaw, they encounter Polish soldiers who attempt to confiscate their automobile and leave them stranded. Finally, they are in Warsaw as the Germans begin the siege and are evacuated along with other Americans and citizens of neutral countries.

During the encounters with the German and Polish soldiers, Byron repeatedly behaves heroically. Leslie behaves in cowardly fashion under artillery fire, but stands up to the Germans when they attempt to separate Jewish Americans. When Natalie receives the proposal of marriage from Leslie that she has been eagerly awaiting, she realizes that the experience in Poland has changed her heart and that she is now in love with Byron. After much beating around the bush, she admits this to Byron, who promptly offers his own proposal of marriage, which Natalie accepts. She returns to America upon receiving word that her father is quite ill and is able to also attend Warren's wedding. Her father dies of a heart attack upon hearing of the invasion of Norway and Denmark on April 9, 1940.

In January 1941, she marries Byron and devotes herself to getting her reluctant uncle out of Europe to escape the Nazis, soon discovering she is pregnant.

All of the story lines are left as a cliffhanger as the United States is drawn into the war by the attack on Pearl Harbor. Rhoda makes and then retracts a request for a divorce. With the USS California damaged and out-of-action, Pug is given command of a cruiser, the USS Northampton (CA-26). Byron has been trained as a submarine officer. Warren has graduated from Pensacola, married a Congressman's daughter, Janice Lacouture, and is assigned to USS Enterprise (CV-6). Aaron, Natalie, and Natalie's infant son Louis are trapped in Europe as the war begins. These storylines continue through "War and Remembrance".
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