I recently finished Winter of the World: Book Two of the Century Trilogy. It took me longer than the first book of the series and I finally got through this 1,000 pages brick. This is book two of the century trilogy. You can read my review of the first book, Fall of Giants, here. The completed work runs more than a 3,000 pages. The Century Trilogy a set of historical novels spanning all the major events that shaped our modern lives today. The length of the book hasn’t doomed it from becoming a bestseller. This is a major accomplishment in the 140 character world.
The first book focus on the events leading to WWI and the Great War itself. The second book, the one I just finished, deals with the events that led up to WWII, the rise of Hitler, and the aftermath. This is what it’s on the back cover:
Winter of the World follows its five interrelated families—American, German, Russian, English, and Welsh—through a time of enormous social, political, and economic turmoil, beginning with the rise of the Third Reich, through the great dramas of World War II, and into the beginning of the long Cold War.
This is a solid follow up. Like the first book, it’s a mixture of fictional characters and real events. There are also real characters such as leaders of countries and historically significant people. Ken Follett is known for his deep research and it shows. But I think I liked the first book of the trilogy better so far. My wife, which has read all three books of the series, liked the second one her favorite. Maybe I liked the first better since I learned a lot more. Nevertheless, this is a great story. There’s a lot of drama and historical information. It’s amazing how Follett manage to connect everything together. If you start reading you will get suck it and will consume you for days or weeks.
One fact that people seem to not know is that the German people have voted to put Hitler in power. Why would they do that you might ask? This requires its own post and is a phenomenon that must be studied and remembered so that kind of event doesn’t repeat itself. The short answer is that Germany was going through some brutal times in the 1920s, and the social and economic conditions in place at the time planted the seeds for Adolf Hitler to rise.
If there’s one thing about the book that bugged me, is that there are too many romantic relationships. But I guess most people like that and the series wouldn’t be so popular without it. It’s just not my thing. But the romantic relationships are important since you need the next generation for the next book. Another thing: This is a book on World War II and there’s not much on Japan. Except for Pearl Harbor and the atomic bombing, Japan is pretty much left out. Japan is in the book since you can’t ignore it but it’s overlooked. I feel that’s the general feeling when people think of WWII, it’s very Eurocentric even though it’s a “world” war. We are remembered of the genocide in Europe but we never talk about what the Japanese did to the Chinese.
I’m looking forward to finishing this trilogy with the third volume of the series, Edge of Eternity. You can read an excerpt of the third book edge_of_eternity_chapter1. If you want to learn more about history but you find it boring, this series is a great way to learn more in an entertaining way.