I read this novel via audio.com. It was a very good choice for my long trip down and back to JAX in September 2012. This was not my favorite book. However, it was exactly as the description says above .....a wonderful way to look very closely at the events happening just before and during and just after WWI. The longer I get away from the actual reading, the more I like knowing the things that I learned while reading the book.
Probably the most interesting idea that I would record is the fact that I began reading Dissolution by C.J. Sansom immediately on the ending of Fall of Giants. Both books have as a theme the very sad idea that the beginning of reform is idealistic and seems obtainable. In Fall of Giants it is the Russian Revolution. In Dissolution it is the beginnings of Protestantism. But human beings seem to not have the capability to reach the ideals to which they aspire. The leaders fall into the temptations of wanting to live well...to rule....to use any means to reach the ends to which they aspire.
In Fall of Giants the reader sees the idealism of the reformers in the Russian Revolution and the great need for reform as the serfs live terrible lives in Russia in the first decade of the 1900's. Grigori Peshkov has been involved in many ways in the Revolution. He believes in the goals of the Revolution! However, after the Revolution his family reaps the benefits of his involvement by living inside the Kremlin and enjoying comforts not available to ordinary families in post Russian Revolution Russia. This fact is not lost on Grigori. He is conscious of the fact that idealism has been set aside ....but he is unable to give up the advantages that his family enjoys. We would all want our spouse and children to have the best that we could provide. It is so simple when one sees it on an individual basis as Ken Follett unfolds the end of the story.
In Dissolution C.J. Sansom the story revolves around the investigation by a hunchback lawyer during the Reformation into a murder in a monastery. As his investigation unfolds he is made aware of the fact that many of the actions of the reformers are horrific but sanctioned because they are for the ultimate good. Thus Cromwell and his followers outdo the evil of the establishment in their zeal to create a new order.
It is serendipity that I read these two books back to back. I will write more when I finish Dissolution