Monday, October 11, 2010

Fall of Giants by Ken Follett or as I'd call it: Fall of a Giant

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With this novel, you see the fall of a great writer. I enjoy Follett's books but with this one he has fallen way short of his lofty goals. The problem is with the main characters.  They are WWI, socialism and a woman's right to vote. These are the main characters not Fitzherbert, Maude, Ethel, Walter, Gus, Bernie, Grigori, Lev etc. These characters exist only to spout the platitudes of socialism or the reasons for or reasons against a woman's right to vote. There is some gratuitous sex thrown in but then it's yada yada yada with men   debating strategies for battles or Lenin pontificating or lengthy sermons on the beauty of socialism. The human characters are caricatures, Fitz, the pompous vain Lord of the manor, Ethel, the servant girl who is very smart but still falls for Fitz and of course finds herself pregnant, Maud, the strong willed woman who gives as good as she gets and Billy, the uneducated coal minor who outsmarts his colonels and generals. If you are into WWI and are also interested in the beginnings of socialism, this book is for you.  This is not Pillars of the Earth or World without End where you actually learn to care about the characters.   Unfortunately there are two more of these tomes coming out.  No sir re bob.  I'm not buying them.   Of the 340 reviews on Amazon, 229, like me, gave it a single star*...


  1. Totally agree with this review. Unfortunately, I was gifted a copy of the second book in this trilogy, Winter of the World, and there's plenty more pontificating in it about socialism. Of course all the left wingers are sympathetic, decent people and all the conservatives get lumped in with the Fascists. Very convenient...

  2. So glad to hear that someone else feels that these books are "promoting" socialism. I am on the third book and it gets worse. It's amazing that the American personalities are called "war mongers", "capitalist imperialists", etc. but so little is said about how horrible Hitler and Stalin's fascist/socialistic policies were and how they affected their countrymen. There is no "name calling" of them in the book. Their style of socialism is hypocritical in that they did little for their fellow man. Today, as in the time setting of these books, foreigners love to come to America in an attempt to achieve the American dream, but then love to criticize all that we stand for. We're not perfect but something we do seems to work when you look at how successful the US and it's citizens are in all things.