Lynn Williams
Lynn Williams asked:

This book is full of revisionist history and incorrect statements! I know it is fiction but so full of propaganda.

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Bevan Lewis Follett has a left wing perspective. I think you have to have some perspective to make historic fiction interesting, otherwise it ends up being a textbook. Is he inaccurate? Is it 'revisionist' whatever that means (presumably falsely changing the historic record?)?
I would answer no. More 'liberal' figures like Kennedy are shown with their flaws, hesitations and their pragmatic political decisions which often are contrary to what you might argue is the morally right thing to do. His hesitation at taking action over segregation is well portrayed.
Equally Nixon's positive actions (recognition of China etc) are pointed out, as is his deception and corruption. Reagan is not such a central 'character' in the story but the hawkish arms buildup, and Bush's failure to act strategically as communism crumbled (aiding the Soviet hawks by threatening to build up weapons) are all factual.
I think we need to hear some examples of falsity, or relevant facts that disprove his perspective.
Mark Cahill Indeed, this is revisionist history. Basically a hatchet job on Reagan/Bush. Convenient how one of his socialist characters is responsible for the fall of communism, in spite of the inept leaders. Also interesting to see Jimmy Carter portrayed as a competent leader. I lived through these times, he does not portray the 80's correctly. The book suffers horribly from it, and unnecessarily. Story would have worked as well if he didn't put an heavy finger on the scale...

Sadly, many who did not live through those times will take this for a good approximation of what happened. Which no doubt was Follett's aim.
Graeme Waymark I believe that you are wrong about this and making uncalled for judgments. It is not fair to read a novel and state: 'this or that is wrong', without stating your facts and your proofs. You give none.

You are not only being unfairly judgmental but also generalizing in the worst possible fashion. I found the book quite startlingly realistic to what I have experienced in my seventy years on this planet. What I did not know before reading this novel, I looked up and still could find no inconsistencies or inaccuracies even to the research he did on a rock'nroll band. His entire description of them was about as factual as an author could have got for artists in the sixties. On that I am sure as I was a financial advisor to an international group a few years later.
Nicholas Lefevre I was born in Washington DC in 1951 so this is the volume that corresponds with my life. I didn't find anything in it that was inaccurate historically outside of the fictional characters. Obviously the fictional character, Maria Summer, is so central and so tied to JFK that it is problematical, but JFK's liaison with Mary Pinchot Meyer, though white, makes this not so much of a stretch.

Many readers are offended that Follett shifts the story from America to the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1980's. As someone who has lived through all of it, I agree entirely with his judgement. The really substantial events of the last half of the 20th century are covered. As I discussed recently with some octo and nanogenarians, the events after 1975 or so have been evolutionary, not revolutionary, except the collapse of the Soviet Union. One can quibble about whether the computer and internet "revolutions" were of historic proportions (and having worked in Silicon Valley from 1983 through 2008 I would argue that they were) but they were not events so they didn't belong here. The events in the US since 1975 have been like pressure building in techtonic plates without any cataclysmic fracturing,

The collapse of the Soviet Union was driven entirely by the building inefficiencies in their system and the collapse in oil prices in the 1980s. The Soviet Union would have fallen regardless of who was President. If, as Mark Cahill says, it was a hatchet job on Reagan/Bush I, it was a hatchet job on a myth.
Sue Propaganda and incorrectness not withstanding, the issue to me is that the whole book was an effort to read! The dialogue! So juvenile! Not the awesome KF writing I'm used to. Can't say I will ever read another if this is what he has resorted to. Arghghghg! I am still so angry! Thanks for letting me vent.
Max de Freitas The book is historically accurate. Anyone can check the facts. I did. The problem with contemporary history is that the miscreants are still around. They employ the media to burnish their reputations with revisionist history and blatant falsehoods. Foundations and think tanks are dedicated to the task. Republicans are particularly busy because they perpetrated more misdeeds. Now they have been joined by the Southern Democrats. More history desperately needs, dare we say, a white wash.
Vicky I think that we all know that just because something isn't in the history books, doesn't mean it didn't happen. That is why I love historical fiction - what is not commmonly known, or what is commonly believed but cannot be irrefutably proven, can be included in creative and representative terms. Hopefully, it inspires the reader to do some research and see what really happened "back then". Even if you were around "back then", doesn't mean you know what happened. Finding out that what we believed to be true just isn't can be quite difficult - but hopefully mind expanding. Cheers!
John I agree completely. It was a struggle reading this book cover to cover, with so many misleading and erroneous portrayals of people and events.
Lorraine Hall alicandri I wonder how Follett will portray the killing of innocents by all the Drone attacks Obama is ordering......Oh wait he's a liberal so he will be portrayed as a super hero doing something necessary, I'm guessing Obama's only flaw will be something caused by society, for which he will be readily forgiven. Oh and he'll have Bush to blame so there we go. I will never know because this will be the LAST follett book I ever read.
Lewis Smith The problem I saw was not that Follett was necessarily inaccurate, but rather VERY selective in his presentation of facts, and the facts he selected were mostly designed to show liberals at their best and conservatives at their worst. While liberal leaders, most notably Kennedy, were shown with enough flaws to humanize them, there were virtually NO redeeming qualities shown in any conservative character, real or fictitious. It's Follett's book and he can do what he wants with his characters, but as a conservative American it made this a tedious read.

(Feel free to check out my first novel, THE TESTIMONIUM!)
Pravin I have read ALL of Mr. Follett's books and I think this dies not come up to standards. Mixing historical facts in to fiction is an art that Mr. Follett is very good at. However, in this book he in my opinion is below par. Lots of errors. Jeffery Archer another British author writes similar series (Kane and Able, Prodigal Daughter).
Victor Follet is an unapologetic liberal and it is no wonder he would use his platform to promote his platform to his millions of fans.

In any case, it is a good story and should be viewed as nothing more than good fiction.
Marianne Bowen Maybe that depends on your personal beliefs about our Government. I never knew much about Reagan, but after reading the book I did research and I learned a lot of things I did not know, so while something may seem misleading, you have the option of doing your own research and looking for unbiased historical facts.
Paul I think anyone looking at this book from the perspective of a Fox News junkie would see it as "liberal politics". I think Follett tackles a lot of things that were truly wrong in America. Racism, the selective law enforcement of "Mary" Hoover, the problems in both the Johnson and Nixon administrations. Follett is at least as tough on Communist governments and collectivism, documenting the incompetence and ruthlessness of those regimes. I didn't see any aspect of recorded history that was untrue, and I've been alive for all of the time period that this book covers.
Barbara Fusi Certainly agree this book was NOT as well-written as the first two.

Also agree that it certainly is completely left-wing and contort s history. Because of that I did not enjoy it.

Also, the author makes you feel that few or none have Christian beliefs and that everyone in all countries believed in free sex in the 60's. Not true.

I didn't mind the sex in the book but disliked that portrayal.
It gave a false impression of our culture.
Jane I am sure if we were alive during the time periods of many of his other books we would have felt the same. Even from what I know about history, some of his books fall far from the truth. It is as you said Fiction, however and should be enjoyed if at all possible, not studied.
Alasandra Alawine I to lived through these time and this so isn't revisionist history. Follett did a terrific job portraying the 80s, just wish he had written more about the 80s as I feel he rushed through them and didn't give them the attention they deserved.
Shlomo I suggest that we tag this with spoilers (so people can enter at their own risk) and address the issues that are incorrect.

While Follet's agenda can be clearly seen throughout the book, I would like to know and discuss what is incorrect.
Lidia That's quite a silly comment, really. This forum is for QUESTIONs, not for one-sentence critiques. if you didn't like something, try mentioning specifically what you didn't like. I thought the book was balanced precisely in showing the good, the bad and the ugly on all sides of the fence.
Susan Hettinger Page 90 is a perfect example of falsity. His portrayal of (character) Joseph Hugo (segregationist) as a "right wing lunatic" is patently incorrect. The Republicans (conservative) did more to advance legislation in support of integration, and the "liberal" Southern Democrats clung to support of segregationist /Jim Crow laws, at the same time they courted the black vote with "progressive" welfare programs that racist LBJ as credited for.
René Fejl I've grown up in a socialist country (Czechoslovakia) and consequently I am rather allergic to any leftist inclinations, and yet I liked Edge. Despite the hints at how wrong we all are here believing it was Reagan who brought USSR to its knees by speeding up the arms race, which the Russians just could not afford anymore. He does not deal with 89 in my country much, which is OK - he had to choose from the plethora of topics. If the German line had been Czech though, Hans would have ended up one of the most ardent revolutionaries :-)
Jim If we're going to talk about facts and fiction, can someone please point out a factual inaccuracy? I get most of the arguing is over "political slant" but unless someone points out a provable inaccuracy his depiction may be accurate.
Leo-Kathy Sigrist I can see why you may think it was favoring a left ideology. But if you are thinking he was unfair, I would say you are wrong. He gave numerous examples of shortcoming on the left as well. His statements of fact on history are factual.
Leo-Kathy Sigrist I can see why you may think it was favoring a left ideology. But if you are thinking he was unfair, I would say you are wrong. He gave numerous examples of shortcoming on the left as well. His statements of fact on history are factual.
Chris I lived through this one, and I just think that Follett's selections of events left out so many of the positive aspects of the last part of the Century. It wasn't a perfect time, but there were a few positives that could have made good reading. It won my most disappointing book of the year.
Darrin I did find the book a bit heavy-handed with the pro-liberal politics. I'm not saying what Follett said was incorrect or inaccurate. But I do believe some of the more conservative ideas in the book were a bit over-simplified, glossed-over, or completely ignored.

So it wasn't what he said so much as how he said what he said and what he didn't say that gave the book a definite liberal slant.
Cathy Williamson I have enjoyed this trilogy. The category of Historical Fiction is fiction. Propaganda indicates that my viewpoint will be changed. That will not happen!
Courtney Milford You are 100% correct on that one.
Jenny Comments like yours are absolutely useless without specific examples.
Zak Longo Each trilogy book in this series is selective. He's telling a story as he selects to. The history he moves through is massive, so yes, he is going to choose his story's path.

Revisionism is a completely different issue. I can imagine that any conservative with a thorough knowledge of history would feel that the century trilogy isn't their cup of tea, because Follett is obviously a liberal.
Pam Karnatz
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Carla It still makes a fun read with facts and maybe not so many facts. Not to mention following families through the 20th century.
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by Ken Follett (Goodreads Author)
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