Fall of Giants by Ken Follett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Holy cow. By far the best book I have ever read and I hear it’s not his best!! I am hooked on this guys writing. It's a 985 page, hard back book...very heave to carry around.
The main characters are from Wales, Russia, Germany, and The United States of America. They come from different classes in life, from always hungry thieves to overindulgent earls. Most of their paths cross at some point or another, either before World War 1 starts or during the war itself. Each person is very passionate about the war whether for or against it. In common they all have a fear of what the war will bring them, or worse, take away from them.
The main characters are fictional but they interact with real historical figures, like Woodrow Wilson, Josef Lenin, and Winston Churchill to name a few. The author explains at the end of the book that the interaction may have been fictional, but what the real historical figures said was in fact something they actually did speak or write about.
I can see how this book could anger some people. I don't know whether the book was biased in any way, I will admit I am not as well informed about worldly topics such as World War 1. But the author seemed to have a stereotype for each of the character's home country. Like Russians as alcoholics, thieves, and communists. Germans as hard headed louts, English as pompous aristocrats, and Americans as self ascribed domineering world police. I think there is a bit of truth to each of the descriptions, but there are truly a lot of well intentioned people in the book too.
I learned so much from this book. What I mean is that I found myself putting the book down and looking up more information on my iPad about World War 1. I had no idea what started WW1. I had no idea that Germany and Austria-Hungary were diminished to mere blips on the map after the peace treaty. I feel a bit ashamed that I knew so little about it, but I do know a lot more now. The very basics at least.
His next book, Winter of the World, takes place with the children of the main characters of this book. It sounds like the lead up to World War II. I really look forward to reading it but I need a light reading break in between. It's a huge book; my little wrists need a break!
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