Fall of Giants

Published Jan. 19, 2011 by New American Library.

ISBN:
978-0-451-23257-1
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4 stars (60 reviews)

It is 1911. 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 U.S. President Woodrow Wilson and to two orphaned Russian brothers, whose plans to emigrate to America fall foul of war, conscription and revolution.

Five families, American, German, Russian, English, and Welsh, move through the dramas of the First World War, the Russian Revolution, and the struggle for women's suffrage. The plot contains profanity, graphic sexual situations, and violence. Book #1

33 editions

reviewed Fall of Giants by Ken Follett (The Century Trilogy, #1)

Under-utilised everything.

1 star

So many pointless parts to this story. I'm not against people including sex in their stories, but every sex scene felt entirely pointless; I don't think they need to have 'story' purpose, but they just felt wedged in as if they'd keep people engaged because the rest of the book didn't. Lev's relationship with Marga? Pointless. The half-baked plot devices to get characters where they should be? Mostly ridiculous.

It's a shame, too. Clearly, a lot of research went into this book to tell the story of the history. But there was literally about 200 pages that felt meaningless. There were characters who could have been utilised better to tell more of the history, but they weren't.

I respect a lot about this book, but I am forever frustrated by sex scenes that men write. If you can spend months researching the intricacies of WWI, you can take an hour …

reviewed Fall of giants by Ken Follett (Century -- bk. 1)

Review of 'Fall of giants' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

This was a great read! It's kind of long and for some reason I read three other books while reading it. That sounds like it failed to keep my attention, but it's the opposite. After finishing some more "urgent" readings I came back to Fall of Giants without fail.

It has excellent pacing. Makes it feel like these years (1911-1925) never had a moment without drama. The story focuses on half a dozen viewpoint characters and a cast of recurring characters around them. We visit Wales, London, the Western Front, Germany, the Eastern Front, Petersburg, Buffalo, and more.

The character plots are excellent. They would stand up just as well in a fantasy universe. Many of them are lovable. But even the negative characters have charisma, and by the end at least we understand their point of view, even if we don't sympathize with them.

What takes the book from …

Review of 'Sturz der Titanen' on 'Goodreads'

1 star

Möglicherweise ist es die lieblose Übersetzung, die sozusagen ohne jede sprachliche Kunst an der Geschichte entlangschreibt, aber vermutlich auch die originale Vorlage, daß mir dieses Buch überhaupt keinen Spaß gemacht hat. Nun kannte ich die geschichtlichen Daten recht gut (* für Christopher Clark!), sodaß die erfundenen Figuren um die realen herum wie überflüssiges Beiwerk erschienen, alle ziemlich künstlich miteinander verwoben mit Liebesgeschichten, Freund- und Verwandtschaften, ein bißchen wie aus einem Schreibseminar für Anfänger, wo wahllos alle gelernten Elemente verwendet werden.

Das Buch ist auch sehr politisch (die international venetzten Reichen haben diesen Krieg vom Zaun gebrochen auf Kosten der Armen). Die Idee ist ganz gut, kommt aber viel zu oberlehrerhaft (wieder!) daher, und einige Fäden, wie etwa die Suffragetten, werden gar nicht richtig durchgeführt.

Ach – es waren 1038 ziemlich überflüssige Seiten, und da ich recht langsam lese, auch viel verplemperte Zeit. ;-( Wer an der geschichtlichen Epoche interessiert …

Review of 'Fall of Giants' on 'Storygraph'

5 stars

The subject of this book is essential reading; how badly our political leaders can screw up with no idea on the consequences of their selfish actions. Particularly worth reading around Remembrance Day (Veterans' Day).
This is a fairly light-reading historical novel set in the period from the run-up to WWI up until shortly after the Paris conference that set the terms for German surrender.
I have read quite a few history books covering this period and found it to be a good representation. I give it 5 stars because, although I could find a few faults here and there it kept me engaged even when tired and not able to read more literary or factual works, and the theme is essential reading.
It covers the war: how it got started and the fateful decisions made during its conduct, leading to millions being slaughter.
It also covers the women's suffrage movement, …

reviewed Fall of giants by Ken Follett (Century -- bk. 1)

Review of 'Fall of giants' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

My rating is 4.5 stars, but it's qualified by the fact that I'm fascinated by WWI and the events leading up to it. In fact, that's why this was recommended to me, even though I'd be unlikely to pick up a Ken Follett novel otherwise. Fall of Giants is a sprawling, 852-page epic that follows about 10 different main characters who are situated in different parts of Europe (plus an American), from varying social classes and backgrounds, and we see each character's first-hand experience of living through four years of war. I've read many different historical accounts of WWI, but the fictional stories of each character really helped me get closer to the experience what it was like to be part of that time in history. If you aren't interested in WWI, it's not particularly exceptional as a novel. The plot is well-crafted and I had a hard-time putting it …

reviewed Fall of giants by Ken Follett (Century -- bk. 1)

Review of 'Fall of giants' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

Sadly, it's been a while since I finished this, but haven't logged it. Considering the size of this book, I'm going to plead failing memory; by the end, I couldn't even remember what happened at the beginning.

Fall of Giants is a massive fictional record of people in factual times. In a lot of cases, large book + historical fiction = dusty doorstop, but I like Follett's way of being able to stay on the engaging side of what could be an attention-span train-wreck. Not all scenes are exciting, but with a massive cast of characters, several plots both local and international, all set during both WWI AND the Russian Revolution (the story crosses both simultaneously), there's more than enough going to to ensure that if you just flip the next page, even the most unexciting passage could quickly give way to great dialog and plot-moving situations on the next.

reviewed Fall of giants by Ken Follett (Century -- bk. 1)

Review of 'Fall of giants' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

Jeg har læst den danske version.

Fængende historisk roman, selvom figurerne er på kanten til at være klicheer nogle gange. Den intelligente, men fattige tjenestepige og den arrogante og stolte jarl. Nogle af romanens helte er lidt for historisk bagkloge og mener de rigtige ting. Det er som de har replikker, som kommer fra Follets historiekonsulenter på romanen. Fx kan de forudse at der bliver en stor krig ud af Østrig-Ungarns ultimatum til Serbien, og den tyske officer Walter kæmper ihærdigt imod dolkestødslegenden efter krigen.

Men denne kritik viser jo bare, at man lever sig ind i historien, og jeg har da også følt mig godt underholdt igennem alle 935 sider. Spændende skildring af slaget ved Somme, kampen for kvinders stemmeret og den russiske revolution. Jeg vil da overveje at bruge uddrag herfra i undervisningen.

Jeg vil klart mene, at man kunne lave op til flere forskellige SRP-projekter i engelsk/historie …

Review of 'Fall of Giants' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

Simply a masterpiece deserved to be mentioned in the same sentence as War and Peace or Shogun.
Have been waiting for a book like this for some years mixing historical events and a good fictional background story in epic dimensions.
Even if I'm interested in history, Fall of Giants gave me even new perspectives and things to think about on World War I.

Review of 'Sturz der Titanen' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars


Rezension auch hier: buechertruhe.blogspot.com/2011/10/rezension-sturz-der-titanen.html

Inhalt:
Der
erste Weltkrieg aus der Sicht von verschiedenen Menschen, die aus unterschiedlich Ländern stammen und auch deren Lebenssituationen sich nicht mehr unterscheiden könnten.

Die Geschichte beginnt in der Vorkriegszeit, wie entstand der Krieg, was für Auswirkungen hat er? Wie lebten die Menschen, wie reagierten sie? Und wie entwickeln sie sich, wenn Krieg herrscht? Ken Follett erzählt aus dem Leben von Menschen vor, während und nach dem Krieg.


Meine Meinung:
"Sturz der Titanen" ist der erste Roman, den ich von Ken Follett gelesen habe. Bisher kannte ich nur "Die Säulen der Erde" in der Filmversion (die mir sehr gut gefallen hat!). Aber ich habe mich herangetraut und mir das Buch vorgenommen.

Es beginnt sehr packend. Billy ist ein perfekter Einstieg in die Geschichte. Bis zum Schluss habe ich am meisten mit ihm und seiner Familie (= Ethel) gefiebert. Er war mir …

Review of 'Fall of Giants' on 'Storygraph'

3 stars

Anticipation is annoying. I read this book a lot faster than I thought I would and I was never tempted to stop reading it, so that much good can be said for the story. However, I did have some major beefs with it. I wasn't overly impressed with the writing style; it seemed too simplistic at times, almost like this was one of his first books. The amount of research that went into this book was mind boggling, though, and I was blown away by the history aspect. Actually, I though it would've been a great a history book! Nonfiction, that is. I didn't care a lot about the characters, because they seemed like badly written archetypes. I was especially annoyed by the American politician who didn't see what the big deal was with Jack Johnson marrying a white woman. Seriously? A rich, white, American politician arguing in FAVOR of …

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