Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Book Review - Ken Follett - Edge of Eternity

The last installment in Ken Follett's "Century Trilogy".  This whole series has been about showing the history of the 20th Century through the lives of intertwined families in the UK, USA, Germany and Russia.  The story shows the rising of the Berlin Wall and the descent of the Iron Curtain and how that broke up families in Berlin.  A Kremlin insider who manages to maintain his career from Khrushchev to Gorbachev provides great insight into the workings of the Kremlin.

This is a well researched and written book that covers the later part of the 20th century history expertly.  There is less emphasis on the UK this time around but no doubt due to the bigger story being the oppressive Soviet administration continuing to maintain its grip on power and the civil rights movement in the USA, the separation of Germany etc.  However that does miss a trick in telling the building of modern Britain with the NHS, university education opened for all in short the building of the welfare state which is to me a great triumph of post-war Britain.

The use of people's lives and how they interlace is a great technique to embroil you in the story so that when the Berlin Wall was finally let down you join in the excitement of the reunification of a country through a family.  That is where the book ends in Nov 1989 with the opening of the crossings in Berlin allowing free flow from East to West Germany.  However there is one epilogue into the 21st Century which reflects on the USA struggle with civil rights.

Frankly a good book if you like reading about people's lives and a great way to teach modern history - I recommend all three in the series for that from the class struggles of the early 20th Century in the UK through the slaughter of the first world war the inter-war years and and the rise of fascism the atrocities of the second world war, particularly the final days in Berlin and then on through the brink of nuclear war in the month I was born (Oct 62) to the dismantling of the Soviet Bloc.   Great read

The whole series is a two thumbs up on the  FTUBRS*


* Furtheron Thumbs Up Book Review Scale - 
lowest is both thumbs down with a frown
two thumbs down, 
one thumb horizontal,
two thumbs horizontal, 
one thumb up, 
two thumbs up 
two thumbs up with a grin - very rarely awarded

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