Couldn’t Put It DownBy | On Nov 23, 2010
One guilty pleasure I rarely get to take advantage of these days is the “read an entire novel in one weekend” opportunity. First of all, books that make you want to read the entire thing in one sitting are pretty rare. Second, who has the time? Sunday afternoon and late into Sunday evening, I packed away Ken Follet’s latest, Fall of Giants. One word: WOW! After Pillars of the Earth and World Without End and what seems like a thousand other amazing books, he’s done it again. And, better still, it is the first book in a trilogy that will carry 5 families from the early 1900′s through the Cold War.
For those of you who haven’t read Follett, many of his novels weave their sagas through real historical events. In the case of Fall of Giants, it takes 5 families (1 each from Russia, England, America, Germany, and Wales) through the early 1900′s and into the early 1920′s. You are learning about history while being entertained. The relations between English aristocracy and the working class contrasted between similar class relations in Russia were extraordinary to see at the level Follett presents them. The fact that both Kaiser Wilhelm and Tsar Nicholas appeared to be in completely over their heads was remarkable to behold – Follett clearly makes the point that hereditary monarchies were incredibly poor systems for choosing rulers. Also, aristocratic titles didn’t necessarily make people military experts as the British found out at the Somme.
If you’re looking for a great read that packs action, romance, and adventure in with a series of interesting perspectives on life in the western world about 100 years ago, grab Fall of Giants. You won’t be disappointed. The only thing I’m disappointed in is that the next book in the trilogy isn’t coming out until 2012!