In the epic tradition of Leon Uris's Trinity
and James Clavell's Shogun
comes Ken Follett's Fall of Giants
, the first of a planned trilogy that will follow five families through the major historical moments of the 20th century. This is not a small book by any measure. Nearly 1,000 pages long, it explores World War I, the Russian Revolution, and the women's suffrage movement from the perspective of five different families from five different countries. Despite its length and complexity, Fall of Giants
is a remarkably quick, absorbing, and thought provoking read.
The novel opens with young Billy and his first days "down the pit" in a Welsh coal mine. Billy is from poor Welsh stock, but his father, a union man, has kept the family dignified and respectable in their small community of Aberowen. Billy's older sister, Ethel, works in the great house...
Beyond the Book
Ethel and Maud's agitation for women's suffrage is a critical element in Fall of Giants
. According to Follett: "of all the massive changes that took place in the 20th century, the biggest was equality for women."
Though there were instances of agitation for a woman's right to vote in Britain prior to the formation of the National Society for Women's Suffrage (NSWS), women's suffrage as a national movement did not begin until 1872 when the...