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Making History Paperback – 5 Aug 2004

4.2 out of 5 stars 111 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow; New Ed edition (5 Aug. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099457067
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099457060
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 24,674 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Stephen Fry is a leading light in film, theatre, radio and television the world over, receiving accolades in spades and plaudits by the shovel. As a writer, producer, director, actor and presenter he has featured in works as varied and adored as the movie 'Wilde', the TV series 'Blackadder' and 'Jeeves and Wooster', the sketch show 'A Bit of Fry and Laurie', the panel game 'QI', the radio series 'Fry's English Delight', Shakespeare's Globe's celebrated 2012 production of 'Twelfth Night' (as Malvolio) and documentaries on countless subjects very close to his heart.

He is also the bestselling author of four novels - 'The Stars' Tennis Balls', 'Making History', 'The Hippopotamus' and 'The Liar' - as well as two volumes of autobiography - 'Moab is My Washpot' and 'The Fry Chronicles', which published in six unique editions that combined to sell over a million copies. His third volume of autobiography, 'More Fool Me', is published in September 2014.

Product Description

Review

"Stephen Fry at his twinkling best" (Sunday Times)

"His best novel yet ... an extravagant, deeply questioning work of science fiction" (GQ)

"A sci-fi comedy that is also a time-travel thriller, constantly topical and always surprising... packed with the author's personal enthusiasm and hatreds, the former red-hot and the latter icy-black" (Literary Review)

"A powerful imaginative pull that keeps the pages turning while the tea goes cold and the cat gets the goldfish" (The Independent)

"A sprightly and entertaining read" (Daily Telegraph)

Book Description

A novel of ideas – comical, historical, frightening and unputdownable.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 29 Nov. 2001
Format: Paperback
Having enjoyed both Stephen Fry's autobiography, 'Moab is my Washpot', and his first novel, 'The Liar', I expected 'Making History' to run along similar lines. How wrong I was!
I must admit, it took a few pages before I got into the story, but once I did, I couldn't stop reading it! This story is written in Stephen Fry's usual witty, rambling way, yet still manages to be a gripping read. The story's concept is that of an alternative present-day life brought about by the non-existance of Hitler. However, the way in which Fry blends events of a 'changed' history with those taking place in an alternative present, makes for a thought-provoking read. I found that I couldn't wait to find out the changes that had occurred as a result. A refreshingly different, non-boring way of learning modern history - great stuff!
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Format: Paperback
Nazis. Gas chambers. Mass murder. Fun? OK that's an unusual quartet but it applies here. I read this because Stephen Fry is just a genial bloke with a sharp turn of phrase,... but with trepidation as the "what if Hitler had made a couple of different decisions" idea has been explored by so many people, it couldn't be original. Wrong! Somehow Mr Fry has used a hotchpotch of familiar ideas and merged them into an original story. OK, there are some easy ways to get out of difficult situations by blaming mysterious time travel "rules" (first seen in the original Star Trek - coincidentally Mr F is a fan I believe), but over all this is an appealing take on the "what if" idea. I certainly learned a lot about Herr Schicklgruber's pre WW2 years, and surpisingly this is the content, 3 years after reading the book, that has stuck with me. If you want to learn a little about history and enjoy a "ripping yarn" (SF is truly a Python of the 21st Century) at the same time, read this silly stuff.
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Format: Paperback
This was the first of SF's books I had read and didn't know what to expect. I started reading it and found the first couple of chapters hard to follow and couldn't see what the book was getting at. After about the 3rd chapter I found it difficult to put this book down and finished reading it in about a week. What a far fetched but excellent idea of fact/science fiction. Couldn't recommend it any more highly.
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It would be easy to give up after the first few pages, when it does look rather as if a creative writing student has been ordered to Write About What You Know. But once you are used to Stephen Fry's habit of playing at length with every concept it quickly becomes engrossing. The war scenes are remarkably authentic and the modern scenes often brilliantly witty. I never really liked his lapses into film scripts as they broke up the emotional tension, reminding us forcefully that the characters are fictional. But undoubtedly he does dialogue well. Most self indulgent bit (defnintely calls for a bit of editing) is Fry's long discussion of an IT system that would be better than Microsoft. (And they said the first Star Wars prequel had a dull plot. Somehow I thought alternative reality fiction would not focus so much on word processing software.) But this is a rare lapse. The gradually emerging love story is all the more affecting because it is done with such a light hand. By the end only a first class grouch could emerge without a lump in the throat.
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Format: Paperback
I first read Stephen Fry about a year ago, starting with his novel, "The Liar." The humor and interesting plot alone were more than enough to keep me reading his books, but I found the differences between "Making History" and "The Liar" to be amazing. Fry goes from writing simply for the sake of a good story, to having a very thoughtful book, providing different views on life and the situation in Europe after the 1920s. The novel challenges your views on what is better, along with what would happen if circumstances in the past had been different.
Really, would life be better if Hitler did not exist? "Making History" says that if Hitler had not risen to power, someone else would have. And if not him, then who? Someone who would use his power better, or worse? The same situation had existed in Europe at that time, whether Adolf Hitler had been born or not.
Besides the questions that arise in the reader's mind, this book has much more of interest to it. Stephen Fry has an amazing ability to turn absolutely terrible situations into laughable comedy scenes, from being left by a girlfriend, to a battle in World War I. From there he can take his humor and disperse it, such that intensity, suspense, and drama are still brought into effect.
The characters are strange but interesting. The young Englishman, Michael, seems to dislike American styles of living, while at the same time he adopts their words and language. He tries perhaps too hard to be cool, but at the same time he truly is himself. His girlfriend, who is intolerable of just about any nonsense, a character who cannot be lured into making herself ever look stupid or foolish, seems much the type of girl Michael is likely NOT to be with.
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Format: Paperback
Having never read any of Stephen Fry's novels before I have to say I was surprised by how accomplished a writer he really is. The novel is pretty long at well over five hundred pages, but manages to remain extremely quick and light-weight reading throughout, with Fry's trademark sparkling wit lending the whole thing an admittedly slightly self-indulgent but nonetheless very intelligent tone.
The story is an extremely well thought through peice of sci-fi working around the old question of whether or not it would be justifiable to kill Hitler before he had a chance to commit his attroticies. There's a good understanding of history present here though and Fry avoids over simplifying his portayal of the people and the time, in fact lending the whole thing a great deal more complexity then most writers would have. The principle character is very relatable, he's sympathetic for all the same reasons as a Douglas Adams character but is very much Fry's creation and a protagonist who the reader can't help but like.
The story has enough thematic intricacies and philosophical questions to keep hardcore sci-fi fans satisfied but remains highly accessible throughout and as such never excludes the reader regardless of their personal taste and preferences.
This is an inventive little sci-fi adventure that should keep both newcomers and stalwart fans of the genre entertained for all of it's pretty considerable length. Definitely one to check out if you get the chance.
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