Fall of Giants by Ken Follet; page count 985.
This book was fantastic! I cannot say enough good things about this. Ken Follet has certainly earned his widespread acclaim.
This first book of the Century Trilogy follows five very different families from 1911 through 1924. The Welsh coal mining family: Williams, the English aristocrats: Fitzherberts, the German aristocrats: von Ulrichs, the Russian factory workers: Peshkovs, and the old-monied American family: the Dewars. These families struggle through the heart-wrenching events of everyday life and truly horrific historic events.
I particularly enjoyed all the different vantage points. It’s far too easy to be ethnocentric about historical events. All too often we are only presented with one side of events, even in history books. However, Follet shows the views of nearly every facet leading up to World War I and after. He delves into the reasons it began and the honest, albeit misguided, opinions of those in charge who lead their countries to the brink of destruction (or past depending on one’s point of view.) I was especially pleased that he didn’t just show the upper crust or just the down-trodden workers, but both and how they interact.
I highly recommend this book. I’m going to take a bit of a break before reading the next edition of the trilogy, Winter of the World, but I’m already intrigued by how these families will react to the next phase in history.