Follett, Ken. Fall of Giants: Book One of the Century Trilogy. New York: Dutton, 2010.
This 985 page novel covers the lives of a few principal characters who represent many interests leading up to The Great War. This novel is part history and part human interest.
Despite the length of the book, I got so absorbed reading that I didn't stop and take notes. Follett creates memorable characters and it was easy to keep up with their stories even when they were not present in every chapter. As I was reading , I felt like I better understood why World War I happened. Follett explains (at least to me) the significance of certain historical events and just what the ramifications were for the rest of the world. I don't feel like I read a history book; I feel like I read mini biographies.
I appreciate the fact that Follett included global characters and not simply the Allies. We have characters from Russia (which helps me understand just how powerful the Russian Revolution was) and Germany. Events are not isolated. Alliances and deals and unofficial diplomacy all play a part of all or our history. As an American, I am connected to Russia's history (as Follett explains).
I really enjoyed reading this book and will probably pick up the next book in the trilogy. I'm curious if Follett will keep this cast of characters or will he flash forward to another set of people in another time during the century. I'm certain that he will be writing about World War II and I look forward to seeing that war through Follett's lens.