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Fall of Giants by Ken Follett
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Fall of Giants (original 2010; edition 2010)

by Ken Follett

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3,361None1,611 (3.99)108
Member:divio
Title:Fall of Giants
Authors:Ken Follett
Info:MacMillan (2010), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 864 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
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Fall of Giants by Ken Follett (2010)

2010 (16) 2011 (24) 2013 (15) 20th century (39) audiobook (15) Century Trilogy (15) ebook (42) England (49) Europe (39) fiction (240) France (15) Germany (59) historical (43) historical fiction (271) historical novel (43) history (52) Ken Follett (13) Kindle (28) novel (33) read (21) read in 2011 (17) Roman (25) Russia (56) Russian Revolution (45) to-read (74) unread (16) USA (23) Wales (31) war (26) WWI (205)
  1. 20
    Winter of the world by Ken Follett (WiJiWiJi)
  2. 10
    All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque (mcenroeucsb)
  3. 00
    War and Remembrance by Herman Wouk (mcenroeucsb)
  4. 00
    The Winds of War by Herman Wouk (mcenroeucsb)
  5. 11
    Nicholas and Alexandra by Robert K. Massie (ddelmoni)
    ddelmoni: Non-fiction that reads like a novel.
  6. 01
    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 122 (next | show all)
2010, Penguin Audio, Read by John Lee

Follett endeared himself to me with Pillars of the Earth, followed by World Without End. This one is another sweeping historical saga set in Europe and North America in the twentieth century, encompassing World War I and the Russian Revolutions. Characters serve the plot, as I’ve come to expect from Follett, and appear in a myriad of interesting roles: aristocrats, coal miners, fallen women, soldiers, diplomats, and politicians. Among them: miner Billy Williams and his sister, Ethel, a woman’s suffragist; German officer Walter von Ulrich; Lord Fitzherbert and his rebellious sister, Maude; and the Peshkov brothers. This is the second of Follett’s epic tales I’ve heard narrated by John Lee, who is excellent. ( )
1 vote lit_chick | Mar 25, 2014 |
Fans of Follett's much loved The Pillars of the Earth and its successor World Without End will be on familiar historical saga territory here, although this series is set some 600 years later. Where the earlier novels had the canvas of an entire medieval town, here Follett's landscape is nothing less than the whole of Europe and North America.

Beginning in the coalfields of south Wales, Follett expands to cover the suffragette movement, and the Russian revolutions as well as, centrally, the First World War. The plot is engineered to have characters at major events, whether they are aristocrats like Lord Fitzherbert, his rebellious sister Maud and the German/Austrian von Ulrichs, or those making their way from humble beginnings like the Peshkov brothers or Ethel and Billy Williams.

This is a huge (852 pages) and hugely readable novel; I've got through it in a couple of months with a newborn baby in the house, and I found myself drawn into the intertwining stories. Ultimately, though, unlike the earlier medieval novels I found this rather soulless. Perhaps the best word to describe this novel is "efficient". Its one of those novels that acts as a showcase for some impressively extensive research, although this book wears that knowledge more lightly than some. I learned some stuff; I wasn't aware just how extensive British support for counter-revolutionary activities in the fledgling Soviet Union were, for example.

The story of history keeps things moving swiftly along; the upheavals of the 15 year time span of the book more or less guarantee that. The history is recent enough that I could see what was coming and the destinies of some of the characters, the result being that many of the characters felt to me to be archetypes meant to represent certain aspects of the early 20th century world rather than fully fleshed out. ( )
  Grammath | Mar 13, 2014 |
This is the first novel I've read by Ken Follett. It's an epic tale of the 20th century covering World War I and the Russian Revolution. The book takes the stories of several different families from across the globe and intertwines them, sharing their viewpoints and stories of life at war. The stories are woven together to create a great tapestry of a novel. The character development is such that whomever you're reading about at the time, you see things from his or her point of view and you understand why they feel the way they do. I am ashamed to admit that I do not know whether or not events in the book are historically accurate. I do know that there is a mixture of fictional characters with actual characters from history, which makes the tale more plausible. It brings to life a time in history that can be confusing when read in a textbook, so kudos to the author for that. It does a good job of making sense of the reasons behind the countries going to war, and how each country involved felt. The big bad antagonist of the text is rightly war itself.

Would I let my middle-schooler read it? No. While it's in the context of war, etc., there is both profanity and mature content (not so much that it distracts from the novel, but it's still there).

I believe this is the first in a series of books on the 20th century. I would definitely be interested in reading more of Follett's works in this trilogy. 4 of 5 stars. ( )
  lauraodom | Feb 17, 2014 |
Great book. As a history lover I really enjoy how historically accurent Ken Follet is in his stories. The narrative was rich and exciting and I loved this book as well as the 2nd book in the trilogy, Winter of the World. I cant wait until the last book comes out this year! ( )
1 vote NatalieAlanna | Jan 30, 2014 |
A rich, broad exploration of Europe and America in the years leading up to WWI and then through the war. I loved the wide scope of characters, and the way they developed over the years. Some you loved, some you hated. some you felt sorry for. but they all seemed very human and very much at the mercy of the economic and political forces that were so much bigger than the individual lives. I was especially fascinated by Gregori's transformation into a Bolshevik supporter, despite what he saw as so contrary to his values. I am looking forward to reading the next book. ( )
  TerriBooks | Dec 26, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 122 (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.
 
A lot happens on the first page of Ken Follett’s “Fall of Giants.” King George V is crowned at Westminster Abbey. A Welsh boy named Billy Williams turns 13 and begins his wretched life as a coal miner. And Mr. Follett, who was once a Welsh boy himself but grew up to become his generation’s most vaunted writer of colorless historical epics, kicks off a whopping new trilogy. His apparent ambition: to span the whole 20th century in blandly adequate novels so fat that they’re hard to hoist.
 

» 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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Book description
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.
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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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