Reader reviews and comments on Jackdaws, plus links to write your own review.

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Jackdaws

by Ken Follett

Jackdaws by Ken Follett X
Jackdaws by Ken Follett
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  • First Published:
    Dec 2001, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Dec 2006, 416 pages

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Blake

This book had a good beginning. An intense start and a back and forth manner that made it interesting to read (though annoying at times). I almost was at the point of comprising a good script on the idea and that the story could easily be adapted to a screenplay. And that was it. The middle is very borish and insulting to any fan of WWII as well as society at that time. Follett had a good beginning and a good ending but could not connect the dots inbetween to make a complete book. I found myself less interested in the characters the more they drifted into preachy and predictable roles. The insults to decent society as well as 'modern' thinking pushed down onto mid 20th century women is just a pathetic attempt to capture a 'broader' audience for the book. I am not ignorant to the type of things that existed in the 40's that we are still grappling with today, but to try and encapsulate all of those stereotypes on the 10 to 15 odd characters in the text is just inane. What is funny is that this part of the text is not shocking or revealing to the modern reader and half of these reviewers that i have read passed over those idiotic sections without a flutter of the eye. So the whole point of putting those things in there and making political comments on the downtrodden minorities in society goes over the heads of the intended audience.

I know I am in a minority here when I wish that texts on historical times would come off like a good Bogart movie in which the illicit actions of the characters and the sexual tendencies were just refered to instead of graphically written out. If I wanted to read about those types of things there is a whole section of writting devoted to that. What I want is a good story and have it paced well so I'm not stuck mulling through pages of fluff. Authors of such liberal mindedness (not putting down liberal ideals) should realize that parading their ideals in full in each ream of text they produce only dilutes the effectiveness and in the end takes away from the whole. In this text we should feel strongly about how powerful a female element is in all aspects of society including war. We should identify with the heroine and open our minds towards the capacity women have in our current society. Instead we have to take in such topics as transvestites and lesbianism and extra-marital affairs and fighting for what you believe even if it is nazism. In the conclusion of finishing the book I identify more with the simpleton nazi gestapo leader who is trying to perform his duty more than any others. I'd rather hear more on his attempts and failures to accomplish his goals and why that happens then on talks of beauty and how a woman looks under this or that dress and whether I should feel for the Nazi's jewish mistress.

On the plus side I enjoyed the story and would appreciate more discussions and tales from females role in WWII. The beginning and ending were good as well as the cat and mouse session in the middle. All components made for a memorable story, minus what i mentioned above.
Irv

Jackdaws is an extremely, high energy thriller that has nearly all the elements of an historical novel...it almost reads like an exciting piece of history.
The premise of five undercover female British spies attempting to blow up a communications center in occupied France may at first seem farfetched, but Ken Follet narrates this exciting story wonderfully, giving a true sense of the fear and danger with which the resistant French lived (and frequently died.) The evil Gestapo officers are portrayed in full malevolence and are realisitic in their bizarre compassion for their families while being devastatingly cruel to other humans...their inhumanity, all too real in history, is brought to full light here.
I found this book hard to put down...the author is to be congratulated for helping us gain some insight into an important piece of history. Even though the actual specifics are fictional, the Nazi occupation of France is not...likewise, even though the characters and actions are fictional, the evil occupation and tragic innocent murders by the Nazis are not.
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