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Fall of Giants: Book One of the Century…

Fall of Giants: Book One of the Century Trilogy (edition 2011)

by Ken Follett

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4,853224953 (4)146
Title:Fall of Giants: Book One of the Century Trilogy
Authors:Ken Follett
Info:NAL Trade (2011), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 1000 pages
Collections:Your library, Kindle, READ2012
Tags:Kindle book, READ2012

Work details

Fall of Giants by Ken Follett

  1. 30
    Winter of the World by Ken Follett (WiJiWiJi)
  2. 20
    All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque (mcenroeucsb)
  3. 20
    War and Remembrance by Herman Wouk (mcenroeucsb)
  4. 10
    The Winds of War by Herman Wouk (mcenroeucsb)
  5. 22
    Nicholas and Alexandra by Robert K. Massie (ddelmoni)
    ddelmoni: Non-fiction that reads like a novel.
  6. 00
    Edge of Eternity by Ken Follett (WiJiWiJi)
  7. 02
    World's End by Upton Sinclair (marieke54)
    marieke54: Volume 1 of Upton Sinclair's Lanny Budd series (that ends in the middle of the Cold War), a project similar to Follett's intended Century Trilogy.

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Showing 1-5 of 192 (next | show all)
This book doesn't disappoint. The story of several families and how their lives intertwine makes for fascinating reading. Covering the first quarter of the 20th century it tells real stories from the viewpoint of fictional characters which are so well written it can be hard to tell who is real!

Even though there are several characters it is written in such a way that it isn't confusing as to who they are.

From the Welsh valleys to the first World War the history jumps off the page. It covers subjects such as the sufraggettes, the Somme and the discussions over reparations for Germany.

I would recomend this book to all who are interested in social history and look forward to the next in the series. ( )
  Northern_Light | Dec 20, 2016 |
You could read a few history books to learn how the assassination of an Austro-Hungarian archduke led to the start of the Great War, how that war killed so many combatants, how the eventual peace treaty sowed the seeds for a Second World War, how the Russian Revolution resulted in worse oppression than that which the revolution was supposed to correct or how Prohibition in the United States fueled organized crime. Or you could read Ken Follett's massive, yet always interesting, novel "Fall of Giants," the first volume of his Century Trilogy.

Follett explains these historical events through the lives of fictional characters in Great Britain, Getmany, Russia and the United States. Through their lives, we experience something of the lives of millions of people actually living during the years from 1911 to 1924, the span of time covered by Follett's novel. Real historical figures, such as Woodrow Wilson and Winston Churchill, also play roles in this drama.

Coincidences happen in real life, but not to the extent they happen in "Fall of Giants," where main characters seem to be running into each other everywhere, even on the battlefield. As unrealistic as this may be, it does make the story easier to follow and eliminates the need for scores of additional characters. The scores we already have are plenty.

A more serious problem with the novel is that Follett attempts to turn it into a 920-page political tract. All of the characters portrayed positively share the same political ideas, as do all those portrayed negatively. In real life, there are intelligent and noble individuals at both ends of the political spectrum. ( )
  hardlyhardy | Oct 14, 2016 |
I have read and enjoyed Follet before, and tore through both The Pillars of the Earth and World Without End. I also zipped right through this book - but, I am a little conflicted over Fall of Giants. While I found it compelling and entertaining, and just wanted keep turning the pages to see how Follett handled it all, I also found the coincidences a bit hard to take. In a war that involved so many millions of people, the same 7 people of international origins continued to cross paths so often, and on the fields of war too. So I did have to work at suppressing my scoffs at times. I also found with this novel Follett's handling of the sex scenes to be kind of immature. Though, to be fair, sex seems to be a challenge for even the best of writers. And the Bad Sex in Fiction Award exists for a reason. And also in fairness, as entertaining a writer as Follett is, I don't equate him with high literature. So perhaps I am being a bit tough on the issue of sex and coincidence? It's clear Follett did a mountain of research, and he channeled it nicely for this book. I had a couple of 'Hmmms...' along the way, wondering if the state of affairs should be so simplified to, essentially, upstairs vs. downstairs. But Follett created some very good characters and I was invested in (most of) their fates. And so that's why I feel a bi conflicted -- I was mostly really entertained, yet had these wee grumbles. Though I am definitely carrying on with the next two books in the series and do look forward to it. ( )
  Booktrovert | Sep 1, 2016 |
What does it mean having to fight for freedom? It's not so obvious to those who were born in freedom and not even suffered lack of it much less experienced tyranny.
To fight for freedom is to fight evil. To imagine better the consequences of not fighting it one can read Ken Follett's Century trilogy. It vividly and interestingly describes most of the 20th century with two of the worst historical evils (Nazism and Communism) and the echoes of even greater evil: slavery. All high school kids should read Follett's trilogy!
( )
  parp | Aug 29, 2016 |
Review First published on BookLikes: http://brokentune.booklikes.com/post/862096/fall-of-giants

"I am going to write a history of the world." Ooops. Sorry. Wrong book. However, Ken Follett apparently tried to take a leaf out of the book of Penelope Lively's fictional MC* with this attempt at creating an account - fictional though it may be - of all events connected with the First World War in Europe and the US.

The start of the story is pretty interesting as we follow little Billy Williams on his first day as a miner in the Welsh pits. It has nothing to do with the story behind the historical events and Billy is only one of many MCs in this book but I guess the author had to start somewhere.

From there on the story becomes a bit convoluted as every character seems to relate to another character until we finally have several stories being told in parallel which cover the lives of people in Britain, Germany, Russia and the USA.

I actually enjoyed this aspect of comparative storytelling. And Ken Follett can tell a story. Unfortunately, I didn't feel he pulled it off in this book.

The problems I had, and there were a number of them, started with Follett's writing. There were a number of points in the book when the use of language did not seem appropriate to the setting of the story. For example he uses the word "sexy" when describing a woman in pre-1917 St. Petersburg slums. Now, I am not objecting to the description it or the word itself - but it seemed so out of place.

Another problem I had is that the MCs - in fact all the characters in the book - seemed to be cliches: The good miner boy, the clever but lower class housemaid who is seduced by the local gentry, the austere but goodhearted Russian, the American gangster boss, .... you can see where I'm going with this.
Of course attempting an all-encompassing novel like this is a massive undertaking but at times I wished that the characters had been a little less black and white. Just a twist every now and then would have been good.

And, in connection with the cliched characters I also had to wonder through much of the first half of the book if Follett knows Julian Fellows. I'm fully aware that the plots of Downton Abbey are pretty generic dramatised tripe, but I surely got to thinking about the two authors in a chicken and egg sort of way - which one came first? I was even able to imagine them having drinks in some club discussing their ideas. Anyway, I digress.

So, Fall of Giants falls a bit short on depth of the characters because it is an ambitious book. On the historical side, too, it is packed with information, which is probably great if you're into learning about history through fiction and if you're unfamiliar with the history of Europe in the early 1900s and the First Wold War. However, it seems that Follett's purpose at times was to cram as many historical events into the book as possible using as few as possible MCs - yet still making sure they are all connected. So, at times, the events that befall the characters are contrived in a degree that made the story feel a little trashy.

There a couple of other issues I had with the book but they are mainly based on my preference to not read fictionalised accounts of history - not that there are any accounts of history which do not contain at least an element of fiction - and my preference to not be fed one-sided political points of view but the presentation of balanced argument is not the point of this book.

So why did I still invest time in this book? I had the audiobook. It was read by Dan Stevens. He can read to me any time.

*Claudia in Moon Tiger ( )
  BrokenTune | Aug 21, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 192 (next | show all)
Trotz peinlicher Sexszenen auf Groschenromanniveau und wie Untertassen dahinfliegender Dialoge: Ken Folletts neuer Roman ist gut recherchiert und freundlich-sozialdemokratisch - einer Verfilmung im Öffentlich-Rechtlichen steht nichts im Weg.
Die Aufteilung von erfundenen Schicksalen und weltgeschichtlich verbürgten Ereignissen löst Follett perfekt.
added by lophuels | editFocus, Jobst-Ulrich Brand (Oct 12, 2010)
Overall, Follett is ­masterly in conveying so much drama and historical information so vividly. He puts to good use the professional skills he has honed over the years — giving his characters a conversational style neither pseudo-quaint nor jarringly contemporary. That works well. And for all his belief in the redemptive quality of liberal humanism, he makes sure not to endow his characters with excessively modern sensibilities. As for the occasional cliché — well, unless you’re Tolstoy, you’re not going to have the time or the ability to be original throughout your 1,000-page blockbuster. Ken Follett is no Tolstoy, but he is a tireless storyteller, and although his tale has flaws, it’s grippingly told, and readable to the end.
added by lophuels | editNew York Times, Roger Boylan (Sep 30, 2010)
Despite all this, "Fall of Giants" offers pleasures that more than compensate for its lack of literary finesse. Follett may not be Tolstoy, but he knows how to tell a compelling, well-constructed story. Once its basic elements are in place, the narrative acquires a cumulative, deceptively effortless momentum.
La caída de los gigantes sumerge al lector en una historia cargada de épica. Ésta primera novela, que forma parte de una trilogía, sigue los destinos de cinco familias diferentes a lo largo y ancho del mundo. Desde América a Alemania, Rusia, Inglaterra y Gales, Follet sigue la evolución de sus personajes a través de la Primera Guerra Mundial, la Revolución Rusa y las primeras luchas por los derechos de la mujer.

Como siempre, Follet pone un especial interés por su tierra natal, Gales, al comenzar con la historia de Billy Williams, un sencillo minero; en América encontramos a Gus Dewar, un estudiante de derecho con el corazón partido por un desengaño amoroso. En Rusia, dos hermanos huérfanos, Grigori y Lev se ven en medio de una revolución que trastoca sus vidas y acaba por separar sus caminos. Como nudo entre las historias encontramos a la hermana de Williams, quien trabaja en Inglaterra como ama de llaves de Lady Fitzherbert, enamorada de un espía alemán, Walter von Ulrich.

Poco a poco estos personajes irán encontrándose a medida que la inmensa maquinaria creada por Follet avance, tan deprisa y violenta como el principio del siglo XX en el que se ven inmersos.
added by Pakoniet | editLecturalia

» Add other authors (24 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Follett, Kenprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
AnuvelaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, JohnNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mas, ElisendaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To the memory of my parents, Martin and Veenie Follett.
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On the day King George V was crowned at Westminster Abbey in London, Billy Williams went down the pit in Aberowen, South Wales.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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In 1911 verandert de wereld voorgoed. Arbeiders laten zich niet langer onderdrukken, vrouwen eisen hun rechten op, de rijke aristocratie kan haar macht niet langer handhaven. En overal fluisteren diplomaten elkaar woorden in die het lot van miljoenen mensen over de hele wereld zullen veranderen.Aan de vooravond van de Eerste Wereldoorlog proberen acht mensen hun weg in deze roerige wereld te vinden: Gus Dewar, rechterhand van de Amerikaanse president; Lev en Grigori Pesjkov, twee arme Russische broers op zoek naar een beter leven; mijnwerker Billy Williams en zijn ambitieuze zus Ethel, huishoudster van de vermogende graaf Fitzherbert; de vrijzinnige lady Maud en haar geliefde, de Duitse diplomaat Walter von Ulrich.Terwijl hun levens elkaar kruisen, dragen deze mensen ieder op hun eigen manier bij aan een titanenstrijd die zijn weerga niet kent… Met Val der titanen, het eerste deel in de Century-trilogie, staat Ken Follett garant voor levensechte personages, een feilloos historisch decor en een onvergetelijke leeservaring.

A thirteen-year-old Welsh boy enters a man's world in the mining pits; an American law student rejected by love finds a surprising new career in Woodrow Wilson's White House; a housekeeper for the aristocratic Fitzherberts takes a fateful step above her station, while Lady Maud Fitzherbert herself crosses deep into forbidden territory when she falls in love with a German spy; and two orphaned Russian brothers embark on radically different paths when their plan to emigrate to America falls afoul of war, conscription, and revolution.

From the dirt and danger of a coal mine to the glittering chandeliers of a palace, from the corridors of power to the bedrooms of the mighty, Fall of Giants takes readers into the inextricably entangled fates of five families-and into a century that we thought we knew, but that now will never seem the same again.

[retrieved from Amazon 2/16/2012]
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Follows the fates of five interrelated families--American, German, Russian, English, and Welsh--as they move through the dramas of the First World War, the Russian Revolution, and the struggle for women's suffrage.

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