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Making History

Making History

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He meets Professor Leo Zuckerman, a physicist who has a strong personal interest in Hitler, the rise of Nazism and the Holocaust. Proposed screenplays joust with dryly written history, academese wrestles with Michael's cheeky speech. However, I knew enough about Stephen Fry to be intrigued as to how he would handle the subject and how he would tie up the various parallel story lines. In this alternative timeline, the Nazis won a mandate in the Reichstag in 1932 and built up an electronics industry of their own. The ceaselessly expanding Christian Societies in the university would tell you that it was a sign that you needed room for Christ in your life.

The writing and performances were both excellent, and supported very effectively by nice set design and clever staging. Putting it this way, the protagonist would have needed at least some serious thinking and inner debate before proceeding as he does in the final chapters. The ending is lovely - and makes me wonder if we could see this as a "Wizard of Oz" dream sequence where our protagonist realizes what he really wants at the end, and seizes it. Would recommend this as it is intriguing and thought provoking (perhaps a bit more signage, colour or posters out the front would help the unfamiliar to Edinburgh tourist find it.The way that Fry balances the serious nature of the subject with his trademark wit is the most stunning aspect of Making History, and the most rewarding.

He gives up his career in academia, figuring he can at least make some money "writing" the songs that he remembers from the previous reality. His epic dissertation, 200,000 words on Hitler's early childhood, is finally done, printed out and ready to deliver.The implications on changing the past have been visited many a time before, with better end worse results. But after several chapters, you see how all of it fits to the story and then I couldn't stop reading. 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. 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. Steve corrects Michael and reveals that, while never hearing of Hitler, he is all too aware of the Nazi Party.

The book avoids the real moral dilemma which it could have easily posed and which would have made it a far more profound and thought-provoking work. When reality adjusts to Hitler’s absence, Michael finds himself not in Cambridge but Princeton, where he is supposed have an American accent. One requires a certain level of hubris to think that one should be responsible for changing history, and Michael certainly has that. The book is structured in an odd fashion, and I felt like I wasn't following it properly quite often, but still enjoyable, and I think it warrants a second read/listen.

But it was always going to be difficult to display humor, humanity, romance, and imagination when the fate of the whole continent's Jewish population was at stake. A book is always embedded with the author's feelings likes and dislikes and opinions about anything. While he did a great job illustrating, in a small way, how some small changes would result in a world that is more or less racist/bigoted or homophobic. The writing was a bit weird; it was something that I had not encountered before, the POVs kept shifting to people I did not know (I did not understand it at all, to be honest), but it all made sense after I found out what Young and Zuckermann were up to.

Jews are exiled to a "Jewish Free State" within the former Yugoslavia, where most of this world's Holocaust occurs. I liked how Michael and Steve's relationship evolved, although I'd have liked to see a bit more of it.A somewhat out of the box time travel story made incredibly more enjoyable due to the stitching of the protagonists story line with that of the back story. In my mind, his knowledge of the German experience between the wars more than made up for the inherent flaws in time travel logic. Fry is good at writing minor characters memorably and the flashes of humour helped alleviate what could have been a grim read, given the subject matter. Fry explores a spectrum of potential realities: historical, political, scientific, cultural, and sexual, and his speculations smack of realism and often of frightening possibleness. As one half of the Fry and Laurie double act with his comedy partner, Hugh Laurie, he has appeared in A Bit of Fry and Laurie and Jeeves and Wooster.



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

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