Ken Follett. Well yes I read and enjoyed ‘Pillars of the Earth’ and ‘World Without End’ like everybody else and was thus tempted into the Century Trilogy. Last year I read ‘Fall of Giants’ and then more or less forgot it and so moved onto ‘Winter’
The book tackles the period from the rise of Hitler to the beginnings of the Cold War and as usual for Follett, following a myriad of intertwined stories which in the instance of this Trilogy covers detailed stories in Germany, Russia, the UK and the USA. The aim of the Trilogy is to follow the trials and tribulations of the same families at each step, so much for the framework.
The book handles parts of recent world history that are well known and treated in detail in school history classes as well as in film and literature, such as the rise of Hitler, but attempts to show this as inevitable by following a decent German family (the wife is English) and their friends through their attempts to bar Hitler’s advance on power through the democratic system, their realisation of the crimes committed by the regime, and their attempts to bring about its downfall by passing secrets to the Russians, only to realise that the Russian Communist regime and the German Nazi regime used similar instruments of terror. Some light is thrown onto the initial support for fascism among the upper classes in the UK and the simplification of the victory of the people’s fight against it (in contrast to the German people’s ineffective stance). The book also follows the entry of the USA into the war and more interestingly because less treated in popular culture, the price paid by the German civilians (mostly women at the end of the war) at the hands of the Soviets and the build up to the Marshall Plan.
I probably won’t read the third book in the trilogy!