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Making History

Making History

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Part academic send-up, part zany screenplay, and part intriguing invented history, the novel dives headfirst into the trashbin of history and roots around with alternating elan and solemnity. I really like listening to Stephen Fry’s voice, but his sections of the story are tough to believe the plot. Even tho I love Stephen Fry's books (and pretty much everything else he shares with the world), Making History has been lingering on my kindle without even tempting me to start this. Wonderful time travel adventure with lots of consideration of the repercussions of the alternate history created. The pages of Making History cackle with a distinctly British flavor ("Theater is dead but sometimes I like to go watch the corpse decompose.

I liked how Michael and Steve's relationship evolved, although I'd have liked to see a bit more of it.

While his genius was clearly in evidence, it was only every other page or so where it struck me--still a helluva good rate. The story is full of plot holes, but Richard R Grant’s narration alone means you should give this a go. Thumbing through the opening pages, I noticed that this book was first published in 1996, which begins to make sense when considering some of the faultlines running through this alternate history offering.

The storyline is a fairly classic one, What would happen if you travelled back in time and prevented Hitler from being born? The book is an intriguing premise – two men decide, for very different reasons, to tamper with history by ensuring the one man responsible for the rise of Nazi Germany is never born. There are a lot of liberties taken, of course, with regards to the alternate history of the world and the whole science and technology aspect of the book, but I don’t think those are the points to ponder about. Later on, the ruthless Gloder murders a fellow soldier who discovered his opportunist machinations, followed by the past-war scene where Gloder joins the budding Nazi Party in 1919 Munchen and becomes its star demagogue. The book switches between chapters focusing on the "present", 1994 with struggling Michael and his life, and the past where we get to know Adolf Hitlers mother, her abuse by Alois and so on.

They succeed, but what they did not know is that the world may had been better off with Hitler, than without Hitler. However, it is later revealed that Leo was born Axil Bauer, the son of Dietrich Bauer, a Nazi doctor at Auschwitz who – when the Nazi defeat became certain – gave his son the identity of a Jewish doctor that he murdered. Inevitably, given the sub-genre, the narrative timeline is speckled with flashbacks which are ably handled. Fry's humour is very clever, but doesn't take away all the seriousness in the book; it is well-balanced. One major negative point is that after going on and on about history the story evolves to become a fucking love story that no one needs and no one (or maybe just me) asked for.

When I saw that this show was in a church hall in the suburbs I thought it might be a bit "Am Dram", but not at all. The book really didn't pick up steam until about halfway through -- that's a massive investment in weak development of ancillary characters and lengthy history essays. Although this is the only novel of Fry's that I have read that uses extremely simplistic language (an unusual choice considering the characters are: a student writing his doctoral thesis in history, a professor of physics, and a student at Princeton), the premise keeps it in the realm one would expect from the genius Fry.Essentially, the story is about a student working on his PhD dissertation which sounds like an even more purple style of prose than Erik Larsen (bless his heart) and is laughed off by his dissertation advisor.

Thus resolving one of the burning questions surrounding time travel: if it’s possible, why do we still have Hitler? In 1939, France, the United Kingdom, Scandinavia, and the Benelux nations capitulate, although Britain rebels in 1941, leading to the execution of several dissidents, among them the Duke of York (the historical King George VI) and George Orwell.For one, I realised how unusual it is to read a WWI account (even tho fiction) from a German perspective. Steve turns out to be homosexual and in love with Michael, and when he discovers Michael's background, he marvels at his talk of gay pride marches, urban gay communities, and a mass social movement in Michael's world of origin, regarding it as "utopian".



  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
  • Sold by: Fruugo

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