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Making History Paperback – Import, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: ARROW (RAND); New Ed edition (2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099457067
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099457060
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,148,058 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

His writing style is straightforward yet innovative.
Spring Lea E. Henry
It is for sure one of the books you will talk and think about, therefore definitely worth reading!
Kitkat
I thought the ending was a little rushed, but I did feel satisfied when I put down the book.
Bre

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By digerati VINE VOICE on May 3, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Having read all of Stephen Fry's earlier works, it came as no surpise to experience Fry's usual laser-guided wit and aplomb. While the book certainly earns its place in the top 5% of popular novels for 97/98 [Why oh why did it take so long to release this book in the USA? I had to get my mates in Britain to send me a copy], it lacks some of the style, pace and out-and-out cleverness of his earlier novels.
In short, I enjoyed "The Liar" and "The Hippopotamus" more, and I would encourage anyone who hasn't read Stephen Fry to buy this one first and then work backwards.
The main problem with the book is that Fry seems to lose his way once the main character wakes up in his alternate reality. The pace drags and it seems that the main character mirrors Fry's own fumblings to find a way out of the situation. The solution, when it comes, is rather too trite and the ending sugar coated.
That said, Stephen Fry remains one of the most talented authors around: fighteningly intelligent, excoriatingly funny and endowed with an unfashionable generosity (in literary circles, it seems) that ensures his readers have a good time.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Amerigo Vespucci on June 2, 2002
Format: Paperback
This novel is well-written in the finest tradition of British humor. The classic premise that when we change things we sometimes make them worse is the basis for the novel, and it is served very well, with vivid descriptions and color. I highly recommend this book, but I think that it takes a certain type of off-color personality to really appreciate it.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By shsilver@ameritech.net on December 11, 1997
Format: Hardcover
British author Stephen Fry is most well known as actor who has appeared in "Blackadder", "Jeeves & Wooster" and "Peter's Friends." Making History, however, is his third novel, so he can be considered something of a novelist as well. This particular novel is an alternate history, although Fry classifies it as an alternate reality.
Michael D. "Puppy" Young is a graduate student reading history at Cambridge. His recently finished thesis is on the childhood of Adolf Hitler, a person who has always fascinated Young, not because of who he was, but because of the simple coincidence that they were both born on April 20. A chance meeting with Leo Zuckerman, a refugee whose father was at Auschwitz, provides the impetus of the adventure. Zuckerman has a feeling about Young and shows him a device that Zuckerman has invented which can transmit shadowy images from the past. Zuckerman has it tuned to the day his father arrived at Auschwitz. The two men work to build a transmitter so they can send a permanent male contraceptive pill which Young's girlfriend has developed, to poison the water supply in Brunau, in time to stop Adolf Hitler from being born.
The first half of the novel, which sets the scene, varies between being tedious and interesting. Several of the chapters show Hitler's parents or Hitler in World War I and introduce us to a person who will figure prominently in the second part of the novel, Rudolf Gloder. Strangely enough, the interesting parts cannot be said to belong only to the present-day sequences or the historical sequences. They vary without regard to the characters.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By magnet36@hotmail.com on May 3, 2001
Format: Paperback
Stephen Fry has produced a novel that not only causes laught but also intrigues the mind. Ever thought 'what if the German's had won?'well, Fry considers this situation. We the readers are merely dragged along with a plot that is audacious to say the least. Hitler is, in fact, not the dictator of the world at all. Instead there is some kind of 'imposter'. The world is actually a better place to be in with Hitler as part of its history. The story sees our leading character dashing in time to remove a pill from the water supply that distorts what we now know as histroy. Inventive to an unpresidented extreme.
If there is one flaw, it has to be the slightly weak conclusion. One feels that there could have been something with a little more impact than what we do get. However, this should not deter you from reading this exellent book. Any weaknesses this novel has are easily outweighed by its merits.
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23 of 30 people found the following review helpful By J C E Hitchcock on December 24, 2002
Format: Paperback
As an enthusiastic reader of alternative history fiction, I have found that certain themes seem to appeal to writers more than others. Among the more popular ones are "What if there had been no Reformation?", "What if the South had won the American Civil War?" and,of course, "What if Hitler had never been born?" and "What if the Nazis had won World War Two?"
Stephen Fry exercises considerable ingenuity in combining these last two questions with the science-fiction theme "Could we travel back in time and alter the past?" The central premise of his novel is that two Cambridge academics, Michael Young, a young historian, and Leo Zuckerman, an elderly German-born physicist, decide to prevent the birth of Adolf Hitler by using a time-machine to introduce contraceptives into the water-supply of his home town of Braunau shortly before his conception.
Unfortunately, this experiment goes awry. Then second half of the novel is set in a world where the Nazis still came to power in the early 1930s led by one Rudolf Gloder, a man as ruthless as Hitler but more subtle and cunning. Under Gloder's leadership, Germany develops the atomic bomb and uses it to dominate Europe. America remains independent and nominally democratic, but develops into a deeply reactionary society, racist, anti-homosexual and with an intrusive secret police.
This is a clever idea, and Stephen Fry writes with a good deal of wit and style. There are a couple more, very dark, twists of the plot, which I will not reveal. Nevertheless, the book suffers from structural weaknesses. The main one is the decision to set the second part of the book in America rather than Nazi-ruled Europe. (In the alternative universe he has conjured up, Michael is a student at Princeton rather than Cambridge).
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