Ken Follett’s Fall of Giants
If you’re any kind of a history buff … and enjoy fiction in this Mystery-Thriller-Suspense genre, you’re already familiar with Ken Follett, who we discussed briefly last week.
As usual, Follett delivers another great historical epic across the landscape of World War I. His characters are richly nuanced, the story sweeping across generations of 4 families including coal miners and aristocrats in England, factory grunts in Russia and a young American advisor to President Woodrow Wilson. All of the usual mischief … betrayal, espionage, adultery, conspiracy, scandal … is woven into the household and the battlefield.
Another great historical epic in Fall of Giants
For many of us, American history is full of fascinating character studies and monumental events that have shaped the modern world. There are many extraordinary periods in the last few centuries. One is the Revolutionary War era during the late 1700’s, if only for the rich personalities and history-making ideas that dominated the period leading up to and beyond the signing of the Constitution. The other period is from World War I, known then as the Great War, which began in the summer of 1914, through to the end of World War II in 1945.
Did you know that over 75 million people died in those two World Wars?
Think about what happened during this 30 year period. While the estimates vary, it’s pretty clear that at least 75 MILLION PEOPLE died in the two World Wars, of which about 500,000 were Americans. Estimates exceed well over 100 million people when other casualties are included. About 20% of all deaths occurred during World War I at the front end of this 30 year span, while over 60 million people died in World War II by the end of this 30 year period. Ken Follett has captured the passions and pains of the World War I period, and has richly portrayed much of the futility, dislocation and distress of the period. Fall of Giants is a terrific story and a tour de force that will hurl you through this turbulent 4-year period.
American History, 1914 – 1945: An Incredible 30 Years
In the 30 year span between world wars, we also scratched and clawed our way through the Great Depression and Prohibition, two other watershed events in the first half of the 20th century. What a deadly, tumultuous reshaping occurred during this period. Of course, I’ll continue to indulge in our favorite Mystery-Thriller-Suspense genre, but my interest in this period has also been rekindled.
So, I’m also going to tackle, yet again, another brick of 990 pages. David Kennedy’s Freedom from Fear, The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945, which is part of the esteemed Oxford History of the United States, and covers a good part of this fascinating period from a very readable historian.
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Now Reading ….
Now what? Something a little lighter … and smaller … sounds pretty appealing. How about a little of Sean Dillon to see what mayhem Jack Higgins has in store in Judas Gate. I wonder if Dillon is still getting long in the tooth in his 19th appearance … or is he back on the war path?
New Amazon Widget
Just so you know, I’m trying out an Amazon widget … and maybe some others down the road … to see how it works. I’ve updated it this week to include Ken Follett’s novels mentioned above, and a few of the recent favorites that I’ve mentioned on FRiction FRiday. I’ll keep experimenting with it for awhile. If you scroll down to the bottom of the right-hand sidebar, you’ll see it. If you buy a book from that carousel, I’ll get credit for it. Maybe it will help me buy the next book to tell you about?
Let me know what you think. Do you care? Does it bug you? Is it helpful at all?
Just arrived …. and arriving on the bookshelf
- Finally after 10 years, Dead or Alive appears, the #13 novel from Tom Clancy featuring Jack Ryan.
- Dead Zero, the 17th book in the Bob Lee Swagger series from Stephen Hunter.
- Brad Meltzer, The Inner Circle, is finally here.
- Three Stations with Arkady Renko, the Moscow detective from Martin Cruz Smith.
So much more to say … so little time …. What are you reading? Who do you like?
See ya next week!