Fall of Giants

Fall of Giants This Is An Epic Of Love, Hatred, War And Revolution This Is A Huge Novel That Follows Five Families Through The World Shaking Dramas Of The First World War, The Russian Revolution, And The Struggle For Votes For Women It Is The Coronation Day Of King George V The Williams, A Welsh Coal Mining Family Is Linked By Romance And Enmity To The Fitzherberts, Aristocratic Coal Mine Owners Lady Maud Fitzherbert Falls In Love With Walter Von Ulrich, A Spy At The German Embassy In London Their Destiny Is Entangled With That Of An Ambitious Young Aide To US President Woodrow Wilson And To Two Orphaned Russian Brothers, Whose Plans To Emigrate To America Fall Foul Of War, Conscription And Revolution In A Plot Of Unfolding Drama And Intriguing Complexity, Fall Of Giants Moves Seamlessly From Washington To St Petersburg, From The Dirt And Danger Of A Coal Mine To The Glittering Chandeliers Of A Palace, From The Corridors Of Power To The Bedrooms Of The Mighty

Ken Follett is one of the world s most successful authors Over 165 million copies of the 31 books he has written have been sold in over 80 countries and in 33 languages Born on June 5th, 1949 in Cardiff, Wales, the son of a tax inspector, Ken was educated at state schools and went on to graduate from University College, London, with an Honours degree in Philosophy later to be made a Fellow of

❰Read❯ ➱ Fall of Giants Author Ken Follett – Hookupgoldmilf.info
  • Hardcover
  • 985 pages
  • Fall of Giants
  • Ken Follett
  • English
  • 24 October 2018
  • 9780525951650

10 thoughts on “Fall of Giants

  1. says:

    It s a little disappointing that people are rating this book on out of protest of its price It s low rating does not give the book the recognition it deserves This is my first Ken Follett novel, and I am hooked I ve read where some people have not been that interested in the subject matter of Fall of Giants and prefer the Middle Ages I m fascinated with 20th Century history, so this is right down my alley.This novel covers the years of WWI and the Russian Revolution and follows 5 families Their stories all connect at some point While you invest in the characters, the story is plot driven and moves pretty swiftly through the years There are times that a character may be left for a year before we hear from him again But you don t feel like you re missing any crucial information.My favorite portions were before and after the war There is quite a bit of battlefield sections in the middle They are well written, but I am interested in the people than military tactics.I was surprised at how quickly this book reads Despite it s huge size, you can read it pretty quickly if you have the time to devote to it.I thoroughly enjoyed this.My Review of Winter of the World

  2. says:

    . , , , , And I have to admit that I only got this box set as a deal price on just cause it s looks pretty elegant, and I m a collector as you may know. 1918 2011 1911. 1914 1918 1924 900 The Casual Vacancy , The Luminaries Mass Market Paperback The Epic Reads of 2015 20 , 50 27 2014 19 2015 view spoiler The Epic Reads of 2015 , 1901 31 1999 , , 2015 27 2014 hide spoiler

  3. says:

    One of the early reviews I read stated that this book lacked one of Follett s infamous villains I disagree The ultimate villain in this enormous book is clearly war and perhaps the arrogance of world leaders I ve always had a difficult time understanding the why surrounding World War 1 and this book helps put it in perspective even if it is fiction I remember learning in history class that the US got involved because the Germans torpedoed the Lusitania And it did play a part, but that happened in 1915 and the US didn t declare war on Germany until late 1917 early 1918 I STILL don t understand why Germany got all the blamewasn t it the Austria Hungary Empire that started the war for NOT backing down to a fight with Serbia Obviously, WW1 was fought because a bunch of arrogant world leaders didn t want to look weak Looking back, they all look like spineless jerks that killed millions of people because they wanted to rule the world By destroying the German economic system after all the fighting was done, they helped Hitler gain power and kill millions in WW2 Way to go early 20th century world leadersthanks for all the memories.I really enjoyed this book and think it s worth it for everyone to read While the beginning was a little slow primarily because of all the character introduction required , it picked up speed and was difficult to put down despite how heavy it was If you liked this, try John Jakes North and South trilogy I really think that Fall of Giants is for the 20th century what North and South was for the Civil War.Review of Book 2 Winter of the World

  4. says:

    This book is utter trash Is that too harsh Let me rephrase This book is a steaming pile of garbage Still a bit mean It doesn t matter Ken Follett does not care His editor and publisher do not care His accountant certainly is indifferent to this complaint It s not that Ken Follett is critic proof, because that implies that he achieves astronomical sales figures despite scathing reviews That s not the case Rather, he achieves those astronomical sales with the apathetic approbation of critics usually quick to slash and burn Ken Follett cannot be criticized He is covered in Teflon, Kevlar, and Valyrian steel Book reviewers understand this and have given up Still, it needs to be said This book is awful And I don t care that Ken Follett can t hear me because his ear canals are plugged with diamonds Moving on Let us start with what Ken Follett is not He is not a poet He is not a short story writer He does not craft literary fiction He doesn t even do thrillers any Instead, Ken Follett writes dumbbell sized works of historical fiction that manage to be simultaneously prodigiously researched and absolutely inauthentic What is Ken Follett Ken Follett is a wizard He is an alchemist He takes magic beans, plants them in fallow earth, and grows trees that shed money He turns charcoal into diamonds, iron into gold he sleeps in a room built from emeralds, and blows his nose in the finest silk His ingredients are horrible characters, lack of psychological insight, lumbering plots, and striking coincidences He mixes all these into 1,000 pages and creates a bestseller Ken Follett has entered into a dark pact I m sure of it To be fair, Fall of Giants does not aspire to be great, National Book Award contending literary fiction Ken Follett does not want to be Jonathan Franzen he doesn t even want to be John Jakes There isn t a very high bar for this kind of book Unfortunately, I can t imagine any bar that Fall of Giants actually hurdles It s not good fiction, it s not good literary historical fiction ala War and Peace , and it s not good historical fiction Ken Follett makes Herman Wouk read like Proust, and Terry C Johnson appear as Dostoyevsky Fall of Giants is the first in a proposed Century Trilogy It is an ambitious undertaking, I ll grant, and I d be far excited if a different author s name was above the lame, innocuous title Instead, there are at least 2,000 pages of inanities to come Cue Ken Follett s accountant going Gangnam Style The plot of the first installment is easily summarized it s World War I Literally The historical realities dictate everything that happens in this novel Follett has taken the historical timeline and plugged it with so called characters meant to give these real life events human sized drama You will find drama, however, on any Wikipedia page These turbulent years somehow made exceedingly boring with Follett s paralyzing touch are viewed through the eyes of five interrelated families It would be a stretch to call these characters archetypes The words cardboard cutout, tired clich s, and hopelessly derivative are much apt Nothing happens or unfolds or is said that hasn t happened, unfolded, or been said better in other books or movies There is no wit, warmth, or ingenuity to be found The only surprise is that Follett does exactly what you expect him to, every single time.Take, for instance, Earl Fitzherbert, the English Lord of the Manor Take a wild guess what he s like Conservative Check Insufferable Check Against suffrage Check Sleeping with his maid Check You might not believe it, but there s also star crossed lovers Yes, I know, you didn t think he d pull the whole German man in love with a British woman bit so daring But this is Follett He does it And if you also surmised that this German man will be suspiciously anti imperial no spiked helmet or pointy mustache here , you are also on the money Or what about the Williams family They re Welsh They re coalminers As though there is a difference Also, you know they re Welsh because the son, Billy, calls his dad Da I stand in awe of the research it must have taken to uncover that nugget of detail The use of Da and Dai is the extent of the Welsh idioms employed by the Williams family It is the extent of the use of any idioms, really Every character, whether English or Welsh or Russian or American or German speaks in the exact same way unconvincingly That is, they converse in robotic monotones meant to deliver historical exposition to keep us moving down the timeline toward the sequel There is never a moment when two characters share original thoughts, insights, or profundities I found no evidence, on the basis of the many interactions and conversations that occur, that anyone in this novel is a human being Take, for instance, an exchange between Gus and Rosa Gus works for President Wilson He won t let you forget about that, because it s all he talks about He also has a big head Rosa has one eye That is the extent of their characterizations I m sorry, Rosa said For you, for me, for the world She paused, then said What will you do I d like to join a Washington law firm specializing in international law I ve got some relevant experience, after all I should think they ll be lining up to offer you a job And perhaps some future president will want your help He smiled Sometimes she had an unrealistically high opinion of him And what about you I love what I m doing I hope I can carry on covering the White House Would you like to have children Yes So would I I just hope Wilson is wrong about them He says they will have to fight another world war God forbid, Rosa said fervently.God forbid, indeed SPOILER ALERT Gus and Rosa s big headed one eyed children will have to fight another world war If there s a awkward and clumsy way to set up the next book, I frankly really, really, really want to read it For humor s sake Everything about Follett s recreated world seems fake It s like a studio back lot for a western movie everything is a fa ade, with no actual dimensions Every location, from England to Germany to Russia to the United States feels exactly the same Follett s research is a facile gilding In Pillars of the Earth and World Without End, Follett demonstrated his inability to create memorable personages or write convincing dialogue Yet he also did a marvelous job cramming period specific detail into the story I still shudder to think about medieval bread, thanks to Follett s meticulous recounting of how it was made Nothing like that level of detail is present here Instead, famous events are often passed off in the form of exposition Towards the end of the novel, there is a nice little scene showing rampant inflation in postwar Germany This small, intimate, anecdotal moment, shows Follett at his best, working his research into his larger story Mostly, though, things like Gallieni s Taxis of the Marne and the rise of Lenin and Trotsky come through in clunky dialogues.Historical fiction gives you the chance to breathe new life into actual people Follett decides to ignore this opportunity completely Despite walk on roles by dozens of famous people, none of them is given even the hint of a spark I m not asking for something along the lines of Tolstoy s creative realization of Napoleon But you have to do than simply mention Sir Edward Grey s name and expect me to swoon at the verisimilitude One of the odder things I ve noticed about Follett is his inability to write a big set piece His earlier work Eye of the Needle, Night Over Water showed him to be a precise plotter of containable dramas Since he s expanded his tableaus, however, he has lost his sure grip I compare it to a movie director like Kevin Smith director of small budget, dialogue centric films directing a big action movie Follett just can t do it His battle scenes are silly and empty and fake His big Russian Revolution moments are a confusing mess And don t even get me started on the bad sex scenes There s only one I used to be able to count on Follett to prepare three or four euphemism free adult encounters that would leave me searching for a bottle of wine Not here As Follett has reached his widest audiences yet, he seems to have toned down his erotic impulses All we get is a handjob during an opera That s a shame Perhaps the only interesting thing about this novel is its unusual political undercurrents Generally, I think most people still hew to the Germans were the aggressors and the Allies were the heroes line of World War I That casting is one of the consequences for Germany s actions in World War II Follett takes a different tact, lingering on Great Britain s questionable decision to enter the war His recollections of Unions and workers s revolutions is also generally favorable, though I doubt the masses realize they are reading their fake history with a leftist slant Even so I am a slow reader Since I do a lot of reading on the exercise bike, I have been able to track my pace A sturdy hardcover history of the Civil War recently saw me at a 30 page per hour pace Normally, I m at around 40 hardcover pages in an hour With Fall of Giants, though, it was 50 pages His books go down easy I think they are horrible in every objective way Though I give all credit to Follett for finding actual roles for his women They are just as one dimensional as everyone else, but they re never window dressing Despite the quality of his latter day novels, they are also fun to read To me, the horribleness is even a bit endearing And there s no way I m missing the sequel.

  5. says:

    Do not say that I don t like historical fiction because I do Do not even say I don t like Follett because I rather do In fact, this highly praised and very thick volume I d been anticipating eagerly, both because I had pleasant memories from The Pillars of the Earth and because currently I am rather WWI mad I read Tuchman s classic works, Maddox Ford, not to mention Hemingway and Remarque, because I am fascinated by the subject.So what in the world went wrong with this book This story, which is, like many Folletts, incredibly wide in scope and encompasses a decade, about fifty characters, and several countries, described the beginning of the 20th century, with a special focus, so the book blurb claims, on WWI It begins with a prologue in 1911 though the main thrust of the book occurs in 1914 and ends with an epilogue in 1924 The title, Fall of Giants is rather deceptive one may think it refers to the fall of empires which was brought about chiefly by WWI, but in fact it refers to the fall of aristocracies.Here begin our issues While the historical research that went into this book is clearly good though with occasional snags and eyebrow raising issues the lens through which it was painted is speculative and political Follett chooses to view everything women s suffrage, personal relations, random little quarrels, and especially the World War as one big struggle of the workingman and the people against their oppressors, the upper classes.Commence problems.For one, you simply cannot simplify an entire era to class struggle Clearly, it played a significant role in the politics and life of the period, but there is a good chance that WWI actually was not an issue of class struggle It had its own set of complex and unpleasant reasons, and some of them were class related, while the majority was not Secondly, at the beginning of the 20th century especially, one cannot write the class differences in the same way one does in the 11th century or whenever it was that The Pillars of the Earth was set Relationships changed, notions changed actually improved somewhat , and it becomes that much difficult to present upper class people as the villains, as ones assuming they are born to command or, and this bothered me especially, as uniformly stupid.The book came out with gems like all the officers were idiots, all the sergeants were smart or something in that vein Sergeants being working class, while officers, of course, belonged to the upper classes There is definitely everything in the world to be said for merit, but the notion that in a huge, conscripted army, officers as a whole had not a scrap of talent among them is almost a statistical impossibility.The problem is not the mere presentation of the facts it is well known that they were not much better than Follett presents, and in some ways even worse though generally the guilty parties were not so much the nobility, any, as the great industrialists The problem is that he shoves everything and every situation into the same tired framework, presents even quarrels of ideology in the light of if two women from different classes fight, the upper class arrogance must be at fault , and has some serious trouble determining who people are For instance, in the description of the Russian revolution, he seems to neatly forget that the middle classes are as much people as the factory workers are The same is true for certain situations in England.The double standard the author applies tends to show in intelligence, awareness, common sense, Now there s a pretty reverse prejudice for you people of the working classes universally seem to possess common sense and presence of mind in the real world than their airy, upper class counterparts This propensity is so universal, it practically smacks of stereotyping and emotional breadth After 920 pages, it tires one quickly.If the novel s only problem were excessive political correctness expressed also in the descriptions of the war itself I would chalk it up to modern sensibilities, misplaced, perhaps, but generally laudable Though it still irritates me, I should not criticize the novel so severely as, meant for the popular reader, it seems that the historical writer almost feels obliged, today, to prop up the wretched of this world Unfortunately, these are not its own detriments The author, once again in a nod to popular, modern literature, makes much of passionate love, ascension from the everyman and the superiority of that same everyman All topics which are the permeating slogans of the present day but whose actual validity is dubious.It s astonishing how many of his positive characters somehow wind up in key political roles Two siblings from the same family, not to mention some three or four others The coincidences that are created to somehow bring these characters to the top walks of life are not particularly inspired, nor endearing.The writing itself, though, was the straw that broke the camel s back for me A well written book should be able to cover up for its flaws with the language it uses this one, sadly, only emphasized them.The problem appears to be twofold the author writes a shopping list, rather than a story He went He came He sat down he saw her Even I, amateurish writer though I am, know better than to do that Also, the transitions, sometimes within the same paragraph itself, sometimes between paragraphs, are fantastically awkward We may well have the sentence He picked up the glass The war was beginning He put the glass down He also manages to turn such events as a birth out of a hospital, the battle of the Somme, and a family throwing its daughter out, to completely maudlin and quotidian The second problem with the writing is that it is staggeringly, unabashedly didactic Follett clearly writes for an audience which he supposes to be clueless, and makes no effort at all to conceal the history and sociology lessons he is giving That also makes the dialogue sound awful, along the lines of You know, of course, that H H Asquith, the current prime minister Who in the world talks like that Nobody in their right mind His speech writing is tortuous in exactly the opposite way of Ford Madox Ford s elliptical ambiguity, and murder one s sense of reality in almost the same way.I wish this were a better book, because I wanted very much a good book that deals with WWI I wish this were the wide scope, sweeping, thrilling epic it s supposed to be, because there is nothing enjoyable than an epic that leaves you breathless, gulping it down, wanting Something like M M Kay s Far Pavilions, without the colonialism I wish it were all of these things, but it really isn t It s a book far too long for its own good on the one hand, and not nearly long or detailed enough on the other The author gulped down so much time and space, he literally has no time or room to descent to descriptions much It s a didactic, preachy, fantastically un nuanced piece of writing, which suffers from laundry0list qualities, and apparently did not go through the capable hands of an editor.

  6. says:

    A sweeping epic with the pace of a thriller, I could scarcely put it down.This ambitious novel, the first of a projected trilogy covering most of the 20th century, tells the story of five interrelated families American, German, Russian, English and Welsh as they negotiate the tremendous events of the First World War and the Russian Revolution Through the various characters and there are quite a few we witness the First World War in the trenches and in the halls of government, from each side of the conflict Revolutions on the home front, from women s suffrage to the rise of the workers, keep pace It is a period of intense change, a time when giants, be they royalty, tradition, or whole nations, are destined to fall.Follett s story builds like the coming of far off artillery fire Barely rumbling at first, the tempo quickens until it breaks in a crescendo of world changing events With Follett s considerable talents as a storyteller, one experiences a fast paced, unforgettable journey with characters rich in emotion and intellect These are people we care about We feel the plight of an unwed mother trying to survive in a society that affords her few rights and little help We re with the workers of St Petersburg, oppressed by the brutal regime of the Tsar Although personalized through the lives of these and others, the history is not trivialized This period is described accurately even one well versed in history may pick up something new yet it manages to be superbly entertaining as well This excellent work is destined to be a classic, and holds great promise for the following two novels.

  7. says:

    After being highly impressed with the Pillars series created by Follett, I hoped to find as much depth and development in the Century Trilogy.The premise, following the fates of five interrelated families against a backdrop of world events is brilliant in its imagining and stellar in its delivery The reader is introduced to Billy Williams early in the novel, as he enters the Welsh mining pits His family acts as a wonderful bridge as Billy s sister, Ethel, a housekeeper for the aristocratic Fitzherberts, takes a fateful step outside her accepted caste Lady Maud Fitzherbert herself crosses deep into forbidden territory, bridging the story into another family, when she falls in love with Walter von Ulrich, a German living in London while tensions mount and the Great War is imminent Filling out the cast of characters is Gus Dewar, an American law student who begins new career in Woodrow Wilson s White House, and two Russian brothers, Grigori and Lev Peshkov, who seek the freedoms that America alone can offer them Follett lays the early foundations of a very powerful and deeply intertwined novel sure to grow as history progresses, putting families, nationalities, and alliances to the test throughout.The historical arc of the novel, 1911 1924, covers a great deal and touches on some very important events With the rise of the Great War developing throughout the early part of the novel, the reader is pulled in to view things from all sides Additionally, the snapshot of Russia shows the discontent seen in the streets and the eventual rise of revolutionary sentiment Underlying these political changes, discussion about universal suffrage cannot be ignored or discounted as important both within Europe and North America Follett captures these threads and spins them inside the larger character development seen throughout the novel It only adds to the greatness and intricate detail of this novel.This was my second reading of this novel, the first coming soon after its release I felt that once the trilogy was done, I ought to take the time to read all three and see, with no interruptions, how the series grows and its characters develop Fans of the Edward Rutherfurd multi generational sagas will surely fall in love with this book, as will those who loved the nuanced character development of Jeffrey Archer who is currently penning his own multi generational series Follett has bitten off much in this trilogy, but has shown his ability to keep all his characters under control and following a decisive path He captures the reader s attention and allows them to choose a favourite storyline, knowing full well that it may merge with another before the novel is done I cannot wait to see how things develop as families intermingle and offspring hold alliances that may and will clash Stellar work and I am so glad I came back to this for its full effect.Kudos, Mr Follett for this wonderful opening novel in the series You have my rapt attention.Like hate the review An ever growing collection of others appears at

  8. says:

    The story was enjoyable enough and certainly kept me entertained for a couple of days The recreation of the early 20th Century was very vivid, and I was impressed by how well Follett applied his considerable skills in this respect to a variety of nations and social classes To cover so many years in any decent amount of depth was a great challenge, to which Follett rises well The story was fast paced and the build up to the War was particularly well managed The particularly notable aspect of Follett s storytelling is that he manages to weave together a great many themes in one fluid story the First World War political reform in Britain social upheaval in Russia and the development of the United States as a significant world power This was well executed and allowed a free floing narrative to become established Given that long periods of time could elapse between two appearances of each character, anticipation builds significantly over the course of the story and it is interesting to see how each character s situation has developed over days, months or even years Nevertheless, there are some problems with the book, mainly in characterisation and in the relations between the characters in the story Rather than allow the characters to be merely players on a bigger stage, Follett insists on engineering direct connections between them, no matter how unlikely the circumstances Many of the meetings and sightings between characters, particularly during the War, are highly contrived For instance not once, but twice, two characters, one German, one English, are posted directly opposite each other in the trenches convenient, given that they are old school friends While this did allow a reunion over the Truce of Christmas 1914, enabling Follett to detail this interesting occurrence and add some emotional depth to the section, the second time it happens seems rather less well considered and seems to stretch the boundaries of belief In another instance, the same German is noticed by an American soldier who believes he may have known him before the War Again, the sighting seems somewhat heavily contrived and does not add much in the way of emotion or character development There are many occurrences like this within the book, and the there are, the less easy they are to accept It is a shame, as this does somewhat derail the narrative and as a result I could never quite find myself immersed in the story One can t help but feel that the narrative my have been served better if Follett had not deliberately created links between so many characters, rather allowing to progress through the story unnoticed by the others.Characterisation did also become a problem For example, Earl Fitzherbert begins the story as very much a product of his time a Conservative peer with a revulsion towards reform However, he is not an unplesant person and, despite his infidelities, generally comes across reasonably well When he reaches the War his natural gallantry and sense of honour come to the fore when he is forced to battle against the wills of stubborn senior officers in order to persuade the BEF to put up stauncher resistance against the Germans Unfortunately, after this he becomes rather of a charicature, almost becoming a pantomime villain towards the end He becomes the typical donkey officer, so beloved of mainstream history and so clear in the modern public imagination Indeed, this is a problem with the recreation of the War throughout the book Follett s is a modern, mainstream interpretation, mainly based on the thoughts of anti war poets from the trenches and is firmly rooted modern perceptions Much recent history on the period has demonstrated the gallantry of officers, as well as the numerous new tactics implemented by British high command in order to win the War Follett prefers to rely on the popular imagining of waves of brave privates and NCOs being thrown repeatedly against barbed wire and machine guns while the officers sat safe in the dugouts Such interpretations are not true By the end of the War, the same officers, notably the much maligned Douglas Haig, had turned a loose bunch of several million conscripts and volunteers into an extremely efficient military machine no mean feat when one considers that the pre War British army was only around 100,000 men at its height Even during the peak of the Peninsular War and Waterloo campaign the army only reached the dizzying heights of 150,000 men Moreover, Follett seems to create an anti war feeling throughout the lower classes, with only the upper classes in all the countries in the book showing support for the War This is certainly untrue and there is plenty of poetry from front line troops who enjoyed their War and believed wholeheartedly in their purpose I don t deny that there was anti war feeling, but I do feel that Follett s interpretation is somewhat misleading in suggesting how widespread it was The novel also seems to suggest that German support for the War extended no further than the upper classes and the diplomatic service this is, again, disingenuous I am no expert on the matter, but for a very convincing argument, Gordon Corrigan s Mud, Blood and Poppycock is an essential counterpoint to many modern assumptions Finally, the rapidity and ease with which the characters seemed to fall in love with each other became tedious Every time it led to some rather stilted love scenes which broke the flow of the narrative Further, the relationships seemed reasonably unimportant and did not deserve as prominent a place in the overall story as they seemed to receive The numerous times when characters declared their undying love for each other, or fell in love after the briefest of associations became irritating rather than engendering any emotional response to the situation.That said, I would recommend the book as it was an entertaining story and Follett s attention to historical detail is highly admirable, making it an enjoyable story I look forward to the rest of the trilogy and my only hope is that the later characters might be deserving of a response from the reader.EDIT On reflection I m not sure I would recommend this book Since I wrote the review the sequel has come out and I haven t even thought about picking it up It s a shame, because I had heard good things of him, and will probably still try Pillars of the Earth which has sat on my shelf for far too long.

  9. says:

    So addictive I am posting a review on YouTube My review is entirely character based, because the plot is just World War I If you enjoy multi generational family sagas this trilogy is a must read It has a healthy batch of heroes and assholes that make your skin crawl I don t want to give away any spoilers so I ll just end this with Eff you Earl Fitzherbert you re a selfish prick

  10. says:

    3.33 Men were the only animals that slaughtered their own kind by the million, and turned the landscape into a waste of shell craters and barbed wire Perhaps the human race would wipe itself out completely, and leave the world to the birds and trees, Walter thought apocalyptically Perhaps that would be for the best Here we are again, reading another tome by Ken Follett and trying to pinpoint my feelings about it Not an easy task, I tell you that As always, he is being hailed both as a genius and a complete failure as a writer, but I think the truth is somewhere in the middle I also think it depends on your expectations of his work Do you expect perfect historical account seen from multiple POV s, or do you read him for the human drama and interpersonal relationships Either way, I doubt you will be fully satisfied A baby was like a revolution, Grigori thought you could start one, but you could not control how it would turn out For those who look for character development and interpersonal human relationships, let s be honest, Follett is not the man to turn to The way he writes how people communicate with each other is stiff, cold, unnatural and very robotic There are no gradations, no nuances, no color to any of it It is like a overly dramatic Mexican soap opera, where all the evil folks are only evil and all the good ones are pure as snow Yes, they supposedly always go through some ethical or moral dilemma, supposedly they are tempted toward the darkness or light, and very predictably they go with their initial inclinations If this type of drama works for you, you get plenty of it His talent was to express his readers most stupid and ignorant prejudices as if they made sense, so that the shameful seemed respectable That was why they bought the paper There is something to that, I think If you are in it for a sweeping Historical Fiction, you are in the right place The novel takes place predominantly in England, France, America and Germany in the years before WWI and all the way to several of years after it finishes It gives a very good overall look at the class, political, and international tensions which led the world to the first really major war in the 20th century However, once again Follett is very ambitious at attempting to cover most of the war and the conditions of the people of the different sides under them, thus falling short in truly expressing the horrors of that time Don t get me wrong, I think he does great in a WWI History Review Class 101 kind of way, but when you take on this type of scope, it is difficult to make a real point of the different struggles, since everything becomes of a lesson and less of a human condition portrait His prose does not help the matter It is stiff and emotionless, despite being informative and succinct At times I felt like I was reading telegrams from the front lines of the war I can see how it would be very interesting and illuminating for people new to the subject or those who have learned only from one side of the conflict and this is why I think it has its place in contemporary historical fiction, but just as always, I wish there was So much Funny to say that about a book of close to a 1000 pages Tommy stood on a chair and made a speech of welcome then Billy had to respond The war has changed us all, he said I remember when people used to say the rich were put on this earth by God to rule over us lesser people That was greeted by scornful laughs Many men were cured of that delusion by fighting under the command of upper class officers who should not have been put in charge of a Sunday school outing The other veterans nodded knowingly The other big issue I have with his attempt at staying neutral is not necessarily through historical facts omissions, although there are plenty of those because of the scope and all, nor the equally preachy takes on the core of aristocracy, peasantry, capitalism, socialism, communism, and so on He takes sides by making the characters representing the ones he sympathies with the smart, likable, honorable and honest ones, the ones which by the positive slant of the story, the readers will gravitate to and root for Thus we get the smart, independent and much honorable than all others Billy, a Welsh miner with barely anything to his name, juxtaposed against the stick in the mud conservative, oblivious of real life and emotions, unthinking, hating, callas and also a bit weak aristocrat Fitz, who has everything but wants and the status quo preserved as far as the class system is concerned It is not the only example where we get to hate the aristocracy and think them incompetent and stupid, while the uneducated, simple, poor, and hard working guys seem to always come up with the moral high ground We are used to that though, since we got plenty of it in the Pillars of the Earth series However, he changes that when it comes to Russia and goes another way with the wealthy in America and the uneducated classes there Gus, the American wealthy class politician who works for the president comes off as a boy scout in training, earnest, honest and honorable, while the immigrants in the country are all criminals and rubbish Obviously not everything is neutral If I am being completely honest with myself, I do not think that any of us can write with complete neutrality, since everything goes through our perceptions and our personal ideologies and prejudices do end up on the page, no matter how much we try not to, so I am not really complaining, just pointing it out How exciting to be at the center of power It is exciting, but strangely enough it doesn t feel like the center of power In a democracy the president is subject to the voters But surely he doesn t just do what the public wants Not exactly, no President Wilson says a leader must treat public opinion the way a sailor deals with the wind, using it to blow the ship in one direction or another, but never trying to go directly against it So, trying to summarize my feelings, I have to say that Follett sucks at writing about relationships and he only uses them to hang the lesson review of History on the characters backs, so he has a way to make it personal As long as you look at it this way and forgive omissions due to impossibility to cover everything in this format, I think this is a good book to give you the feel for the World during WWI Don t expect something too deeply emotional, he does tend to point and tell, not so much stop and look for the hows or whys of human sensibilities I know I will read the rest of the books in the series and will try to keep my expectations to the limits of those conditions The ability to listen to smart people who disagree with you is a rare talent Now I wish you all Happy Reading and may you always find what you Need in the pages of a Good Book

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