Ken Follett’s Fall of Giants: A Review, Part II

In the first part of this review, I discussed the numerous historical errors that Ken Follett makes in his novel about World War I. This author tortures and murders facts of history with a terrifying abandon. By the end of this very long book, I thought that nothing else could possibly shock me until I encountered a description of “surly Russians” engaging in group sex in broad daylight in the streets of Petrograd. And then engaging in more public sex with children.

However, Follett’s complete disregard for historical facts is not the only problem with this book. His entire understanding of important events in history is extremely limited and often naive. In Fall of Giants, World War I and the two Russian revolutions are a result of backroom deals between inept diplomats and bored society ladies.

”On or about December 1910 human character changed,” Virginia Woolf once said. Since then, volumes have been written on the profound ideological shift that was caused by the advent of Modernity. The unwieldy, otdated empires of the Romanovs, the Habsburgs and the Hohenzollerns could not adapt to these radical transformations and had to plunge into suicidal warfare, social unrest, and revolutions. Follett’s grave intellectual limitations (and what else can be said about someone who relies as much as he does on silly cultural stereotypes?) prevent him from realizing that the events he describes are too important to be addressed in a superficial manner. This writer is, unfortunately, too self-assured and condescending to consult the existing body of scholarship on the events of 1914-1919.

I do not recommend this book to anybody. Not only will you not learn any reliable information about this period in history, you will not even have a good time. If the first part of the book is at least marginally entertaining, the second half of it is excruciatingly boring, long-winded and extremely repetitive.

6 thoughts on “Ken Follett’s Fall of Giants: A Review, Part II

  1. Not a history book. Historical Novel. If you read the comments at the back, you would have read the explanations of how actual persons were woven into the fabric of this NOVEL. Follett is not so obsessed with women’s virginity. This is a FACT of the male of the human species. Women think they dress to look cute or beautiful. Men think women dress that way because they want to have sex. FACT. Follett is a great story teller. He is NOT a historian. The intro makes that clear.


  2. Am just reading Fall of Giants, having heard such glowing reports about its incredible insight into the First World War…. I can’t believe that anyone could truly satisfy themself with such trite, predictable junk. Its childish clichés, toe-curling coincidences and easily-guessed plot make no great demands on the intellect or imagination, but do enable it to be readable, if barely palatable at times. In that respect, Ken Follet does the public a great service in the same way as JK Rowling does; getting people to turn to books. However, once I have finally got through this particular book (the term ‘potboiler’ springs to mind) I will certainly be turning away from this writer.


    1. Thank you for saying this! I caught so much flak for criticizing this book that I despaired of finding anybody who would see this book for a piece of junk that it is.


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