Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Book Review: Fall of Giants, by Ken Follett

This genre, historical fiction, is outside my usual reading preferences, but Fall of Giants is an excellent synopsis of the war and class struggle that changed Western civilization a hundred years ago. Follett constructs an intricate plot of believable characters that accurately portray likely traits of the various classes in the lead up to and during the Great War. The fall of the European aristocracy and the rise of the working class is played out by representative protagonists from nations of England, USA, Russia and Germany. 

Reminiscent of Gone with the Wind, this novel is an epic that brings us through a world war instigated by arrogance that informed a derelict world view. Young men died as old men lied to cling to their failing grasp of power and the resultant socioeconomic disaster hastened the universal rise of the proletariat. Characters easily garner our sympathy-- princes and paupers alike-- as Follett shows us how their motivations affected their actions and how the outcomes, in retrospect, seem unfortunately predictable. 

This is the first of the Century Trilogy and I look forward to the second installment in Summer 2012. Highly entertaining and easy to read despite it's nearly 1000 pages.

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