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Making History

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  6,184 ratings  ·  372 reviews
In Making History, Stephen Fry has bitten off a rather meaty chunk by tackling an at first deceptively simple premise: What if Hitler had never been born? An unquestionable improvement, one would reason--and so an earnest history grad student and an aging German physicist idealistically undertake to bring this about by preventing Adolf's conception. And with their success ...more
Paperback, 575 pages
Published August 5th 2004 by Arrow (first published January 1st 1996)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Ben Babcock
So you invent a time machine, and what’s the first thing you do? You go back in time and kill Hitler, of course! Except you can’t (TVTropes), because either it doesn’t work or it screws up the timeline even more. Thus resolving one of the burning questions surrounding time travel: if it’s possible, why do we still have Hitler? Stephen Fry tackles this in a best-of-all-possible worlds way in Making History, where his protagonist succeeds in averting Hitler’s birth only for someone more charismati ...more
Katie Muffett
Feb 13, 2009 Katie Muffett rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone (including you)
My favourite Fry book. His jumps between narratives and playful use of various lit devices is only possible for Stephen Fry. As usual, you instantly adore the protagonist and watch his every fumbling step with the same paternal-yet-slightly-benevolently-lecherous gaze as Fry. The action in this is perfectly paced, the history glitters with colour, the humanity is raw, the politics aren't preachy or overdone, the love is true, and the voices are clear and exact. Above all of course, is the humour ...more
Hugh Malcolm
The book started well enough, young chap at Cambridge (Fry's alma mater) immersed in the history of Hitler, working towards spending his life at Cambridge in a paid capacity, is having a tough time with his hard-nosed scientist girlfriend who finally leaves him (I found her more interesting than our hero, stronger, and more capable of carrying a story, and was sorry to see her go). Young man makes a hash of his thesis, dissertation, whatever, by being way too inventive for historical research, b ...more
Slow to get started, but once the set up ended (around page 150), it got completely awesome and very interesting. Michael and Leo try to fix the world by making it so that Hitler was never born, except the world that results is even worse.

I loved the glimpses of the technology in the alternate world. I think the premise that the world ends up in a perpetual state of the 1950s is fascinating. I liked how Michael and Steve's relationship evolved, although I'd have liked to see a bit more of it. I
Thoroughly good book. The idea this book is based on is nothing new, people have discussed this many times, but this is the first time I have seen the idea written down.

It has been very well done, the different writing styles used keep you entertained. Michael and Leo are very good characters and some of their dialogue had me in stitches.

The first book I have read by Mr Fry, I will be back to read some more.
You can read this review and more on my blog

In a nutshell: Making History is an equally fun and thought-provoking read about an alternative history where Hitler was never born.

This was not only my first Stephen Fry novel but my first read for 2015. It was a wonderful beginning on both accounts. I've wanted to read something by Fry for a while now and Making History was a perfect book for me to start with. I'm a history student - like the protagonist - and I'm fascinated by alternative history, e
You know, there were issues with this book. It wasn't perfect by any means (Rapidly Demoted Woman issues and general marginalisation of women. Also no POC. Might be other issues, but it's been a couple of years since I read it) but I actually loved this like few books I've ever read before.

Have any of you guys listened to Chimamanda Adichie's 'Single Story' on TED? Because I feel this book resonates with what she's saying. It is, in my [admittedly not massively extensive] experience, not at all
Jun 08, 2008 Wendy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: 2008, fiction
This amazing novel is a blend of science fiction, history, and time travel, and I thought it brilliant. If you're over the age of sixteen, chances are that you have spent a minute or two - in school or outside of it - pondering what our world would be like if the Germans had won World War II, or if Adolf Hitler had never been born, and that's exactly what this novel is about. Fry explores a spectrum of potential realities: historical, political, scientific, cultural, and sexual, and his speculat ...more
This was the first book by Stephen Fry that I have read. It is an enjoyable easy read, dealing with one of my favorite genres, time travel.

I found the chapters that were written to mimic a movie scripts were very distracting, and don't really understand its use as a literary style. does Fry do this often?

The storyline is a fairly classic one, What would happen if you travelled back in time and prevented Hitler from being born?

The clever consequences of this action make this a very interesting r
Amazing. My absolute favorite of Fry's excellent works, and one of my favorite books, period. Hilarious, it goes without saying. Intelligent, playful, silly/serious. Romantic. No one but Fry could write a book about Hitler that can make you cry with laughter.
"Sodding pants."
I think I read somewhere once that the first rule of timetravel is that you try to kill Hitler, and the second rule is that it either doesn't work, or things get even worse.

This book falls into the second category. So, in terms of concept, it's not entirely new, but the execution is really really good.

The book does an excellent job of capturing the human emotional level of the whole insane thing, and it's much funnier than you'd expect this kind of book to be.

This is not really a science-fiction
This book is about Michael Young, a PhD candidate in the field of history, and Leo Zuckermann, a professor. They both attend Cambridge and have a big interest in World War II, and in Hitler especially. Young is writing his thesis about Hitler's life, while Zuckermann creates a time machine. When these two people meet, they decide to eliminate one of the biggest evils that this world has ever known: Hitler. They succeed, but what they did not know is that the world may had been better off with Hi ...more
This is the first time I’ve picked up a Stephen Fry novel, and it was an enjoyable, if slightly uneven, experience. 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 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 bo
When someone as talented, witty, and educated as Stephen Fry writes a book, you half-expect brilliance on every page. While his genius was clearly in evidence, it was only every other page or so where it struck me--still a helluva good rate.

Fry did not lack for ambition. 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. The book asks whither a world without Hitler. Fry's treatment an
Jenny Sparrow
Из всех романов Стивена Фрая я сильнее всего хотела прочитать "Как творить историю". Особенно после того как узнала, что там будут некие махинации со временем и историей - одна из моих любимейших тем.

Читаться роман начинал тяжело. У меня, по крайней мере, всегда так с Фраем - для погружения требуется время. Столько незнакомых имен использует Фрай, столько намеков и аллюзий на британскую и мировую культуру, такая у него специфичная лексика, что так просто и не занырнешь. Заныривала я, считай, на
When I heard the premise behind this book I thought I would really enjoy it. It was ok, but honestly i think I expected so much more. It was clever and inriguing but I still think Fry could have done more with it. Without adding spoilers, I think I can tell you that the idea is that 2 academics (through the magic of a time machine of sorts) change history and try to erase Hitler. Wouldn't the world be a better place? Well you'll have to read it to find out. Maybe its just me, but I would have li ...more
Забавно, насколько чудесные концовки "Лжеца" и "Гиппопотама" меняют отношение ко всему тексту. Это действительно так работает: Читаешь книжку, местами скучаешь, местами ощущаешь легкое неудобство, будто кто-то публично испортил воздух, а потом, внезапно, концовка, катарсис, гранд финале и все внезапно становится на свои места и ощущение совершенно замечательное. Я за это очень люблю Фрая, да.
Ну так вот, а тут все наоборот:( Замечательный зачин и сюжет и его развитие...
А потом, вдруг, самая изби
Loved this book from the first page, Stephen Fry has a wonderful turn of phrase and the way, which is so easy to read.

The story is different take on time travel and results in history being worse after the first bout of time travel than it originally was. However all things end up as they should by the end, or do they?

At times it was very funny, at other times quite serious, but a great read overall.
Dimitrije Vojnov
MAKING HISTORY, roman Stephena Frya iz 1996. godine ne spada u alternativnu istoriju iz prostog razloga što kreće iz našeg doba (mada danas je to već prilična prošlost) i govori o promeni istorijskih okolnosti usled korišćenja novootkrivene mogućnosti da se intrveniše u prošlosti i time promeni tok istorije. Međutim, ovaj SF triler o putovanju kroz vreme vrlo detaljno prikazuje to "novo vreme" stvorenom intervencijom u prošlosti, pa bih ga po čitalačkom ugođaju svakako mogao uklopiti u alternati ...more
Amir Nakar
Dec 18, 2013 Amir Nakar rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoyed The Liar
Great book.
Even though it is the longest book I read in a while (500+ pages), I got through it in a daze.

I'm having a hard time placing it, either as sci-fi, pure humor or just something else.
Surely anyone who likes the likes of Douglas Adams or other stuff by Fry will enjoy this book.

The language (as always with Fry) is very sculpted and sophisticated, at the same time remaining very believable and real.
The main character is very real and nice and I think anyone can somewhat relate to it.
What if? This reminds me of a late-night student discussion of what would have happened if Germany had won WWII, what if Hitler hadn't been born, and what if you had the ability to change history. If you changed one thing, would that make the present better? In 'Terminator', somebody returning to the past changes the future for the better, but even though one butterfly flapping its wings in Japan can theoretically change events on the other side of the world, will removing one major agent for ev ...more
Feb 08, 2013 Donna rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Donna by: Sarah Taylor
Shelves: 2013
I really liked this book!! A friend lent it to me a week ago and I have flown through it in the last couple of days - I even put down the knitting and turned off the TV for it. It's been a while since a book has done that for me.
The premise of the story is that Michael, a Cambridge postgraduate student has written a thesis on Hitler's early life and rise to power. He meets an elderly professor whose father was in the Aushwitz concentration camps. He has built a device which can change history by
Dimitris Hall
"I don't know why I find it intensely erotic to stand naked before an open fridge, but I do. Maybe it's something to do with the expectation of a hunger soon to be satisfied, maybe it's that the spill of light on my body makes me feel like a professional stripper. Maybe something weird happened to me when I was young. It is an alarming feeling, mind, because all those assembled food-stuffs put ideas in your head you're on the rise. Stories of what you can do with the unsalted butter on ripe melo ...more
We all know what happens when characters in a novel mess with history, but try they must, especially when they have a chance to prevent Hitler from being born, and so they shall. This is what the protagonists of Making History think and who can argue with such an obvious course of action. Stephen Fry in his third novel comes up with a remarkable narrative construction, which is clever, endearing, smart, intelligent, amazing, and unfortunately grossly under appreciated. Us readers don't remember ...more
Making History, first published in 1996, is a book written by Stephen Fry, and is essentially a long and thorough answer to the question If you could go back in time and kill Hitler, would you?.

The book is a piece of fiction writing, 600-odd pages long, and is an unusual novel indeed. It interweaves a set of stories: A young history student’s doctoral thesis, a historical account from the trenches of the first world war, and the main story-line, set partially in New Jersey, and partially in Camb
Genia Lukin
Okay, I'll say this outright: this is not a bad book - it just wasn't for me.

Way too many things in it I didn't like. The too-cutesy-by-half romance plot and its resolution, the writing style, the also too-cutesy-by-half "movie script" inserts. I also didn't like the mucking around joke tone the book took. It somehow managed to miss the mark, for me, both on the funny and the serious side; it ain't Douglas Adams or Terry Pratchett, that's for sure.

The continuous frivolous asides to show how humo
Dana Kenedy
I love the brilliant Stephen Fry. He is possibly one of my favourite people. Ever.

So, having read The Liar six years ago and because I am pathetically in love with the man, it was a no brainer to read Making History.

I admit, I felt a bit let down from the first half. I expected more – much more – from such a genius. It seemed to lack that Stephen Fry wit I adore so much.

I dove into the book expecting one fantastic, wonderfully crafted sentence after the other, but I was disappointed. It took me
I could not put this down. I picked it up while staying at a friend's place and despite lots of beautiful scenery going by me on a train, or interesting places to go, I simply couldn't stop reading this book. Damn you, Stephen Fry, your book was too engaging!
I do not want to tell you a thing about it. I had no idea where it was going when I picked it up and where it went was such a lovely surprise. I'll tell you that it starts at Cambridge, features a graduate student (in history) trying to fin
I have finally met a Fry book I didn't like. Well, I liked it but I didn't love it. It had two of my favourite things going for it and that was Stephen Fry as a writer and science fiction. Unfortunately it didn't mesh as well as I had hoped.

The premise is good as it's an alternate universe story about Hitler but it's been done much better. I'm not exactly sure where it went wrong but I'd say it's a lot of little things. The main one being Stephen's lack of any science fiction basis in previous w
This may even be a four-starred read...I encountered it while just finishing up my exams, though, and I worry that I'm not a reliable narrator on how good it actually is--that as with Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, it may just be that I'm a slut for all novels set in Cabbage (as Trezza Azzopardi used to call it, based on their being a roadsign off the motorway that directed one toward "Camb'ge"). Hell, I even like Dusty Answer. When there are SOMEDAY decent novels about the Greak Books ...more
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Stephen John Fry is an English comedian, writer, actor, humourist, novelist, poet, columnist, filmmaker, television personality and technophile. 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. He is also famous for his roles in Blackadder and Wilde, and as the host of QI. In addition to writing fo ...more
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“Hell, I am young. I am free. My teeth are clean. The sun shines. To hell with everything else” 161 likes
“Self-consciousness, that's what it is. Always my abiding vice. I keep seeing myself. Me watching myself watching others watch me. How do you lose that? What's the trick?” 99 likes
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