Monday, March 11, 2013

Ken Follett's Fall of Giants

I read Ken Follett's brick of a book, Fall of Giants. It's the first part of a huge trilogy about the 20th century, and focuses on World War I. I enjoyed it. It's a soap opera with really intelligent commentary on the class divides that were rigid but changed as a result of the war.

You've got the Welsh miners and the Welsh earl (married to Russian nobility), members of the German elite, the lower strata of Russian society, American political elites, British radicals, and others in a sprawling story. They intersect in ways that strain credulity--too many people see each other coincidentally, even on a French battlefield--but it works.

It's a beach book with a backbone. Someone with no historical knowledge would at least get a sense of the ridiculous and sad chain of events that led to the war, the reasons it went on so long, and then get a taste of the consequences.


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