It meshes well with the characters from the previous book while also introducing a lot of new characters. World War II is also one of the most dramatic time periods of modern history and one of my favorite to read about so listening to hit from a historical fiction perspective was very interesting. And of course there is plenty of action. I was a bit disappointed that some aspects of the war were skimmed over or only mentioned rather than really experienced by any of the characters. Dunkirk, Stalingrad and the D-Day landings were among these moments that I had really been looking forward to hearing more about, but were only mentioned by the characters. I think this was partially deliberate on Follett's part though. These events have been written about thousands of times from every possible perspective so instead he gives us a glimpse into some of the less well known aspects of these events.
John Lee's performance was great. Very easy to listen to and I think he conveys the emotions of the book well. The only downside to the audiobook version of this book is that the epilogue is almost entirely cutoff.
This book is just like Follet's other sweeping epics. It is also the most challenging because it takes place in the modern age, which makes it more political, and also because the cold war takes place over a longer period of time than the previous two books. In my opinion this can seem to make the plot seem to jump around a bit due to the need to move the plot forward. It is still a very good read, just different from some of his other books.
I was genuinely moved by the scene when crowds gathered on both sides of the Berlin Wall as it fell. I think Follet does a great job of building to this incredible moment from the viewpoints of many of the characters and of conveying the intense emotions that went along with it for all involved. The Berlin Wall is something that has always fascinated me. Listening to the story describe the moments leading up to its fall made me feel as if I could almost hear the roar of the crowds on both sides and the intense yearning they must have had to finally be reunited.
I rarely write reviews for books, but I felt compelled to for this one after seeing the number of reviews here calling it "revisionist history" for not giving Reagan and Nixon credit for ending the Cold War and bringing down the Soviet Union. This is a laughable concept to begin with that only those who subscribe to a very American-centric reading of history give any credence to. The author can be very heavy handed with some of the political overtones in the book. That's a legitimate criticism, although it doesn't bother me much since I happen to agree with most of his takes. That said, even if you disagree with the author politically, a lot of his interpretations of events and actions of the high profile politicians in the book are in sync with the historical consensus on them. He does present Nixon and Reagan in a poor light. However, he does give them credit in parts where it's due (for example, pointing out that Nixon actually did do many good things for the Civil Rights movement), but the overall negative view of them that he presents is pretty accurately how they are viewed in the historical record, outside of right wing echo chambers.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.