Reading Recommendations: Winter of the World, Book Two of the Century Trilogy, Ken Follett
Ken Follett's Fall of Giants, the first novel in his extraordinary historical epic The Century Trilogy, was an international sensation, acclaimed as "sweeping and fascinating, a book that will consume you for days or weeks "and grippingly told and readable to the end."
Winter of the World picks up right where the first book left off, as its five interrelated families-American, German, Russian, English and Welsh- enter a time of enormous social, political and economic turmoil, beginning with the rise of the Third Reich through the Spanish Civil War and the great drama of World War II, to the explosions of the American and Soviet atomic bombs and the beginning of the long Cold War.
Carla von Ulrich, born of German and English parents, finds her life engulfed by the Nazi tide until daring to commit a deed of great courage and heart break. American brothers Woody and Chuck DeWar, each with a secret, take separate paths to momentous events, one in Washington, the other in the bloody jungles of the Pacific. English student Lloyd Williams discovers in the crucible of the Spanish Civil War that he must fight Communism just as hard a Fascism. Daisy Peshkov, a driven social climber, cares only for popularity and the fast set, until the war transforms her life and then transforms it again, while her cousin Volodya carves out a position in Soviet intelligence that will affect not only this war but also war to come.
These characters and many others find their lives inextricably entangled as their experiences illuminate the cataclysms that marked the century. From the drawing rooms of the rich to the blood and smoke of battle, their lives intertwine, propelling the reader into dramas of ever-increasing complexity.
As always with Ken Follett, the historical background id brilliantly researched and rendered, the action fast moving, the characters rich in nuance and emotion. With passion and the hand of a master, he brings us into a world we thought we knew, but now will never seem the same again.
And, Captured, A True Story of Abduction by Indians on the Texas Frontier, Scott Zesch
On New Year's Day in 1870, ten year old Adolph Korn's life as the son of a poor German speaking farmer ended, and his life as a Comanche began.
On that day, an Indian raiding party kidnapped the boy from his neighbor's pasture in the Texas Hill Country. With little hope of finding him alive and no resources, material or political, his loved ones eventually gave him up for dead.
However, Adolph survived his capture and soon thrived in the rough, nomatic life of the Plains Indians. Within a year, he had become one of the Comanches' fiercest warriors.
For nearly three years, Adolph fought alongside his fellow Comanches against the encroaching white settlers, buffalo hunters, and U.S. soldiers who threatened their survival. Forcibly returned to his parents when the army "captured" him a second time, Korn held fast to his Native American ways and never found a place in white society. He spent his last years living alone in a cave, an eccentric oddity forgotten by his family.
That is, until Scott Zesch stumbled over his relative's barely marked grave in a neglected corner of an old cemetery in Mason, Texas. Determined to know more about his ancestor and understand how a timid farm boy like Adolph could gave become so thoroughly Indianized in such a short time, Zesch tracked down surviving relatives, dug for primary sources in archives across the West, talked with Comanche elders, and expanded his search to include other child captives from the region, who also became some of the most Indianized whites in history.
Set against a backdrop of intense political wrangling and bloody confrontations between the U.S. government and Native Americans, The Captured is a true account of what settlers considered a "fate worse than death," and the dramatic, very personal story of Adolph Kern and eight other children abducted by Comanches and Apaches in the Texas Hill Country.
From Texas Bookshelves,
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