Making History

Written by: Stephen Fry

Making History Book Cover
In Making History, 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 is launc In Making History, 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 is launched a brave new world that is in some ways better than ours--but in most ways even worse. Fry's experiment in history makes for his most ambitious novel yet, and his most affecting. His first book to be set mostly in America, it is a thriller with a funny streak, a futuristic fantasy based on one of mankind's darkest realities. It is, in every sense, a story of our times.
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Making History Reviews

Roz
I found myself really enjoying Stephen Fry's delve into a different history and the effects on the present.

The premise is simple. What would the current world be like if Hitler had not been born? Instinct says it should be a vast improvement. In this rather gripping novel, Fry suggests that theory incorrect. Although this is the only novel of Fry's that I have read that uses extremely simplistic language (an unusual choice considering the characters are: a student writing his doctoral thesis in I found myself really enjoying Stephen Fry's delve into a different history and the effects on the present.

The premise is simple. What would the current world be like if Hitler had not been born? Instinct says it should be a vast improvement. In this rather gripping novel, Fry suggests that theory incorrect. Although this is the only novel of Fry's that I have read that uses extremely simplistic language (an unusual choice considering the characters are: a student writing his doctoral thesis in history, a professor of physics, and a student at Princeton), the premise keeps it in the realm one would expect from the genius Fry.

The characterisation was an interesting choice. Initial I found Michael Young to be incredibly young. But then, would someone with maturity really risk changing history? As to Leo Zuckerman, his guilt felt real, which really added to his motivation for doing what he did. Having said that though, I am not convinced that Young's comic actions and immaturity were necessarily the best means to relay such an interesting theory. I think Fry was wanting a lighter tone to the novel (he achieved that), but I do not think it met my preference.

Overall, I am very happy to have read this. I learnt something about WW2 (and WW1) and have something to chew on with regards to human nature and the results of WW1. I think anyone interested in history would find this an interesting read - if they can push through the beginning (should it not appeal).
Donna
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 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 making sure Hitler was never born. But this creates problems as Michael wakes up in a different reality in Princeton, USA and the world is a very different place.
There are two storylines running at once. Michael's story and the historical story of First World wartime Germany and the development of Hitler's rise and alternately the man who does this in Hitler's absence.
It gives an interesting perspective on how history would be different.
I found that in the German bits there were words and phrases in German which were not translated into English which was a little distracting. And also I would have liked to have known more about the history of Britain in the alternate reality.
But apart from that I enjoyed it. Considering it was written in 1996, before the iPad was a twinkle in Steve Jobs' eye, there are some interesting takes on modern technological devices in alternate America!!
Gavin Broom
As much as I adore Stephen Fry, this was my first exposure to his fiction writing.

It's as clever a novel as I thought it would be. Wonderful use of language and style and a complicated storyline.

The novel poses the question of what would happen if you could go back in time and get rid of Hitler. It also makes the assertion that you don't know what you've got til it's gone.

The two strands of story blend well together and it's clear a lot of research has gone into the sections that deal with pr As much as I adore Stephen Fry, this was my first exposure to his fiction writing.

It's as clever a novel as I thought it would be. Wonderful use of language and style and a complicated storyline.

The novel poses the question of what would happen if you could go back in time and get rid of Hitler. It also makes the assertion that you don't know what you've got til it's gone.

The two strands of story blend well together and it's clear a lot of research has gone into the sections that deal with pre War Germany.

For such a potentially heavy topic, it's a humorous read, especially when our hero finds himself in a very strange land once history shifts.
The Acme Novelty Library :: Book One: Work, 1986-2006 :: Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom :: The Long Run: A Tale of the Continuing Time :: The Best American Short Stories 1995
Tjibbe Wubbels
Another great book by Stephen Fry. A student and a professor set out to change the world by changing the past. The story is not that original (I blame star trek for telling all stories there are to tell about altering timelines) but still fascinating and keeps you wanting to read more. Of course, the jokes are good and plenty.

I gave it a little less stars as The Hippopotamus, but I guess this is because I read this book in Dutch and missed out on some of the more subtle jokes and puns.
Kavya
Interesting premise, addressing the Hitler's Timer Travel Exemption Act (Warning: TvTropes). As expected, Stephen Fry's characters have an interesting voice, and the novel really had me in its grips in the middle. At the end though, it was kind of meh.
Andrea Brown Riley
I really enjoy historical fiction. This book was both that, and not that, and I found myself enjoying it more than I thought I would.

At first, the writing style annoyed me, and I couldn't understand why the perspectives kept jumping back and forth, but as I continued on through the story, it all began to come together in a most delicious way, especially towards the end.

This was certainly outside the realm of my usual reading, but I enjoyed this book quite a bit, and definitely recommend it.
Andrew
A fun and easy read with most things lampshaded well in advance. It tells us about predetermination of life.
A quote from somewhere in the beginning: «I admit that this preamble must look rather tricksy: I get as snortingly impatient as the next man when authors draw attention to their writerly techniques, and this sentence itself disappears even more deeply than most into the filthy elastic of its own narrative rectum.»
Jojo
This is my favorite Stephen Fry book. It has everything! Wit! Humor! Romance! Totally implausible science fiction technology! A World Without Hitler! Moral quandaries!

It is a little slow to start - I remember almost giving up on it the first time I read it - but hang in there, it gets totally engrossing before too long. Charming, thought-provoking.
Jack Oughton
A riveting time travel story about timeline convergence between our world and an alternate reality in which Hitler never rose to power. Written by comic and TV guy, Stephen Fry - clearly a multitalented fellow!
Marie
What if Hitler was never born.. would it be better or would it actually be worse? In the end I really enjoyed this book. The different writing styles are entertaining and interactions between Michael and Leo are brilliant.
Amber
A fun book, although not as funny as other Stephen Fry books. Great for history nerds or alternate history/alternate universe fans.
Lizzie Wall
Found the first half a bit slow and the second half I read too fast!
Diane
The ending seemed a little bit too perfect, but I do enjoy happy endings so I'm not really complaining.
Jonathan
Creative, but not his best. For those who love his work.
Ashleigh
Making History centers upon the question of "what would happen if Hitler never existed?" It's a question that has been asked many times, so this is not new territory, but Fry does deliver an interesting and entertaining response. As this is the second time I've read this book, the plot and characters didn't engage me as much as the first time, but I did get a lot more out of the speculative aspects of the story. In particular, I really appreciate Fry's main argument that Hitler represented ideas Making History centers upon the question of "what would happen if Hitler never existed?" It's a question that has been asked many times, so this is not new territory, but Fry does deliver an interesting and entertaining response. As this is the second time I've read this book, the plot and characters didn't engage me as much as the first time, but I did get a lot more out of the speculative aspects of the story. In particular, I really appreciate Fry's main argument that Hitler represented ideas already prevalent among the German (and European) population, and so even without him, a similar atrocity would still have occurred. The way Fry builds up his alternate world is also nicely done, and works in a mostly believable way. This is especially so in his fascinating depiction of the linguistic changes that would occur if Britain and America were unable to influence each other. You can tell Fry has a lot of fun with this part of the book and it was a nice touch. Other parts I'm not so sure about, though, such as the more conservative attitude of America, but I suppose this really comes down to a lack of explanation, rather than a lack of sense.

Despite the seriousness of the book's focus, this is often very funny. Perhaps one of the bigger downfalls I observed this time, though, was the gradual fading out of Fry's recognisable voice. In Book 1, his witty style is in fine form and I really enjoyed this section. Book 2 isn't bad, but it does feel comparatively blander and more action-focused, and as such, I lost some interest. I'm also not too keen on the ending. While I can appreciate the happy romantic conclusion with two gay characters, the proclamations about love feel forced and out of place, not to mention a tad cheesy.

Even though there are quite a few weak spots in Making History, I still think this was worth a second read. I'm sure there are other books out there that deal with this subject-matter in a more successful and sophisticated way, but I like that this is a fun, easy read that also manages to be thought-provoking.
James Frederick
I loved the premise of this book. I like to think about alternative histories and what effect they would have on our world. This was not overly science-y. The story was what drove it forward. There were no explanations for how the devices worked, which was fine. With a good enough premise, I can suspend my disbelief.

The book was well-edited, which seems like is a real rarity, these days. Kudos to the author for that.

I like books that make me think and this one did that. There were things that I loved the premise of this book. I like to think about alternative histories and what effect they would have on our world. This was not overly science-y. The story was what drove it forward. There were no explanations for how the devices worked, which was fine. With a good enough premise, I can suspend my disbelief.

The book was well-edited, which seems like is a real rarity, these days. Kudos to the author for that.

I like books that make me think and this one did that. There were things that I thought were handled in a very trite way and a lot of it just did not seem reasonable to me. Other parts of the story seemed confusing and somewhat repetitive, which was somewhat acceptable, given the premise. On the other hand, it made the reading a bit less fun.

A lot of the characters were just kind of "fluff" and really could have been interchangeable with most of the other characters in the story. The two main characters were fleshed out fairly well.

The ending was only so-so. I was torn between rating this 3 and 4 stars. I really wish I could give it 3.5. I wish there had been more exploration of the moral and ethical dilemmas related to both changes in the timeline. Too much attention was paid to things that were really peripheral to the main plot.
Bill
I liked this book, though less than I'd hoped. Anyone familiar with this plot line knows that attempts to change historical events usually have unseen consequences for the present & future. I expected that, and Fry did not disappoint even going into minute details. I think Mike is a representation of Fry himself, at least as far as personality go. The fact that much of the book takes place in my home state of New Jersey and mentions places I know was an added plus. I liked very much the "Alt I liked this book, though less than I'd hoped. Anyone familiar with this plot line knows that attempts to change historical events usually have unseen consequences for the present & future. I expected that, and Fry did not disappoint even going into minute details. I think Mike is a representation of Fry himself, at least as far as personality go. The fact that much of the book takes place in my home state of New Jersey and mentions places I know was an added plus. I liked very much the "Altered United States", as well as what Mike learns about European history, both before & after his collaboration with Leo. But I have no idea what the purpose of switching from narrative prose to a screenplay was. It added nothing to the story. Not being a techie much of the computer talk was wasted on me. I do have another Fry novel on my "To Read" shelf, and my views on Making History have in no way changed the fact that I will read it at some point.
Memento Morton
I must confess it is the first book by Stephen Fry that I chose to read for getting (or not getting) into the author's works and I haven't doubted I picked it up!

The plot intrigued me from the first pages and the whole idea of changing the historical events isn't brand new, but the originality depends not on the base only. Each story must have a skeleton: a story, an idea, characters, a moral.
So the bones of Making History are the characters. As I've mentioned before, the plot isn't very new, b I must confess it is the first book by Stephen Fry that I chose to read for getting (or not getting) into the author's works and I haven't doubted I picked it up!

The plot intrigued me from the first pages and the whole idea of changing the historical events isn't brand new, but the originality depends not on the base only. Each story must have a skeleton: a story, an idea, characters, a moral.
So the bones of Making History are the characters. As I've mentioned before, the plot isn't very new, but the characters make you continue reading, they're alive and they have reasons to do or not to do certain things.

And the second thing (but not really the last one) that the book is very well written! I truly liked light humour and the play/drama/kind of these things pieces.

So, if you're looking for a good book to entertain you - it's a right choice!
Lindsey
Interesting idea-what would have happened if Hitler had never been born?- but I had a very hard time getting into the story and almost gave up after the first 40 pages. I felt I should persevere since everyone else seems to love this book but I felt Puppy/Mikey was just too juvenile to be credible as a graduate student with his excessive use of slang. The intermittent use of a play-type style was also distracting. Just an ok read for me.
J.J.
As an essay on 'what if?' this book is thought provoking. It also follows the dramatic story arc of inciting incident, rising action, climax etc, but that didn't really work for me somehow - it might be that the characters were a little flat. For example the protagonist literally changed midway. His friend Steve was a little too stereotypical and one-dimensional. Ben Elton does this kind of book better, in my opinion.
Dave
It took me a while to get into the flow of this book, but once I understood what Mr. Fry was doing, I read much more eagerly each night. The premise is quite good, and unexpected. It is worth wading into and not giving up. And so I will still wonder what our world would be like if Hitler had never been born.
Dancall
A great central premise - altering history to stop Hitler being born - and some very good sequences, but not a great novel. It takes too long to get going, strangely shifts to screenplay for some sections and so on. Having said that it is a shame that Stephen Fry has stopped writing fiction - his most recent novel was The Stars' Tennis Balls in 2000.
Janet Page
I adored this book and have recommended it to many people.

A real 'what if' book which sucks you in then twists and turns. What a wonderful imagination Stephen Fry has, yet it also addresses some (possibly) uncomfortable truths.

Read it!
Mariah
Was all set to make this 3 stars because I did not enjoy the writing format. I found the story hard to follow at times, as well as the story not grabbing my interest quickly. The last two chapters and The Epilogue pulled together the story so well I found that I could give a redeeming 4th star.
Sarah Luchins
I really love this book. It shows everything that is wrong with the "let's go back in time and kill Hitler" idea. It's funny and sad and has a perfect ending. I'm going to have to buy a copy just for lending.
Susan Wiser
I gave up at page 130. I wanted to like it --so many other readers did --and I like time travel books. However I didn't like the main character and found the soliloquies tedious and not at all funny. Rats.
Lois
I love Stephen fry. The read was wholesome, and worth it (not very time consuming). A good story! Interesting idea. Nothing spectacular but a fully entertaining read
Brian
I really enjoyed this book. Sometimes changing the past has unforeseen consequences and that is what happens in this novel.
Vera
Such a good book! Very unique concept and story and beautifully written.
Dan McLaughlin
This is Stephen Fry, through and through. It is incredibly witty, intelligent and entertaining. A splendid concept with amusing characters - and I may have cheered at the end!
Rebecca
Cambridge history graduate Michael Young and physicist Leo Zuckermann come together, quite by accident, when Michael's thesis falls out of his briefcase and is scattered into the wind. Michael has studied the early life of one of the most famously horrific and anti-semitic figures in our history, Adolf Hitler. Despite the thesis not being his speciality, Leo takes a personal interest and requests to read a copy. Michael later discovers just why Leo has such an interest in Michael's study and tog Cambridge history graduate Michael Young and physicist Leo Zuckermann come together, quite by accident, when Michael's thesis falls out of his briefcase and is scattered into the wind. Michael has studied the early life of one of the most famously horrific and anti-semitic figures in our history, Adolf Hitler. Despite the thesis not being his speciality, Leo takes a personal interest and requests to read a copy. Michael later discovers just why Leo has such an interest in Michael's study and together they undertake a project in the hope of re-writing history, for the better. The narrative flits seamlessly between the present day and fictional scenes based on true events during both "halves" of the book - both realities are explored in the same way.

It was the explored concept of time travel that prompted Mark's recommendation of the book to me. In particular, we talked about what is known as the grandfather paradox... to keep it simple - if you travelled back in time and killed your grandfather before your parents were born, you could never have existed to kill your grandfather. It boggles the mind to think too hard about it, so unless that's really a subject of interest to you, I wouldn't think any further than the general concept too much.

Michael Young and Leo Zuckermann, with the use of a machine built by Zuckermann, succeed in ensuring Adolf Hitler was never born - but their actions have disastrous consequences. Can they restore the course of history to its former self? Michael wakes up in this new alternate reality as a student studying Philosophy in Princeton, New Jersey. He has a full recollection of his life before the experiment and little recollection of the life he SHOULD now be living. With vague memories of being out drinking with friends and banging his head the night before, Michael, who now goes by Mikey struggles with his "amnesia" and eventually comes to terms with his new life and the consequences of his and Leo's experiment.

The book suggests that people (both individually and as groups), despite various circumstances, have certain in-built reactions or behaviours - for example, in both versions of history - Leo Zuckermann invents the time machine in response to feelings of guilt over his ties in what happens during this dark period of history. In our alternate version of history, the unchanged socio-economic circumstances Germany experiences and the unchanged general public opinion is offered by way of explanation as to why history does not change radically in the way Michael and Leo had hoped.

As much as this book is based on a turbulent and sensitive part of our history, it was still a fun and enjoyable read. I loved history at school so I fell in love with this book pretty much straight away. Anyone who isn't so interested would probably not enjoy this book as much as I did, being perfectly honest... but you never know!! Michael is a lovable character, despite his flaws. I actually find him quite relatable. Even though he is graduating from Cambridge, he is still a bit of an idiot so the reader doesn't feel either patronised or alienated from the narrative.

One of my favourite elements of the book is that it both discusses and challenges our current history, yet in a fictional and humorous way. Even though historical and philosophical messages can be interpreted from the narrative, it also succeeds in being an entertaining read.

At 575 pages I wouldn't suggest this was a light read, but to my mind, it's an absolutely worthwhile one. Thank you for the recommendation Mark - this is high up on the list of favourite reads this year!
Christine
3.5 stars. This was a good book. Engrossing. I enjoyed the breaks from typical narrative into screenplay, and I thought the voice of the main character was quite strong. That being said, the conclusion came a bit abruptly. We also spent a lot of time getting to the action of the book, and less time on the buildup to the conclusion. (view spoiler)[ I understood the motivations of the character for attempting to change history, but I understood less the motivations for trying to change it back. I 3.5 stars. This was a good book. Engrossing. I enjoyed the breaks from typical narrative into screenplay, and I thought the voice of the main character was quite strong. That being said, the conclusion came a bit abruptly. We also spent a lot of time getting to the action of the book, and less time on the buildup to the conclusion. (view spoiler)[ I understood the motivations of the character for attempting to change history, but I understood less the motivations for trying to change it back. I feel like we could have delved into the alternate reality's historical atrocities a lot more, the effects on the current alternate reality, and in particular how these affected the narrator through his sexual awakening. It would have made the story that much stronger, instead of making the climax feel like a knee-jerk reaction. (hide spoiler)]

I read a NY Times review of this book that talked about how the author, Stephen Fry, treated the holocaust so cavalierly, and how the holocaust is not a topic for a funny book, not even if it's satirical. The reviewer was disgusted. I can see the reviewer's point, but only in the sense that I wanted more from the book. The main character explains his motivations so clearly in the beginning. He says, essentially, that we only have 70 years or so on this planet. Isn't it worthwhile to find out what causes a person to buy a gun, walk into a school, shoot a person, walk them die, and then continue shooting and watching people die? Trying to understand why this could happen and how to prevent it? It's very clear to me that's (at least partially) the purpose behind writing this book, and also the reason why the main character decides to go ahead and eliminate Adolf Hitler from the timeline. There is a lot of thought that goes into how to make that happen, and why, particularly in light of the main character's thesis topic. There is much less thought in deciding to reverse those actions.

All in all, I liked this book. I liked the ending, although again I would have enjoyed a bit more elaboration. But I am a sucker for happy endings.
Rach
In an interesting take on revisionist history, Michael and Leo actually find a way to send something back in time to stop Hitler for being born. The main question this brings up is who has the right to decide that one history is better than another? Just because Hitler was a horrific human being doesn't mean another horrific human being wouldn't step up to fill his void. And who is to say that that person wouldn't be worse?

Those are exactly the issues Michael and Leo (or Axel) come to face after In an interesting take on revisionist history, Michael and Leo actually find a way to send something back in time to stop Hitler for being born. The main question this brings up is who has the right to decide that one history is better than another? Just because Hitler was a horrific human being doesn't mean another horrific human being wouldn't step up to fill his void. And who is to say that that person wouldn't be worse?

Those are exactly the issues Michael and Leo (or Axel) come to face after they make their decision, and Michael realizes that the world without Hitler was much more unjust and terrible than a world with him. Without Hitler there to take charge and found the Nazi party, the much more handsome, charismatic, and purely evil Rudolph Gloder steps up and ends up controlling all of Europe. Leo's father, the SS doctor, didn't murder thousands of Jews at Auschwitz. Instead, he reverse-engineered the sterilizing water from Hitler's hometown and sterilized all the Jews of Europe. Once he realizes his mistake, Michael is understandably horrified, and does all he can to reverse his mistake, but we are still left with the thought that as evil as you might feel something or someone is, there is always the possibility that it could be worse.

I enjoyed the method in which this book was paced, alternating chapters of Michael's "present day" story with the story of Hitler's parents, youth, and early army career, and eventually Gloder's life and thoughts as well. I'm still not sure why Fry decided to switch to writing screenplay-style, but at least it moved the action along at a swift pace. The thing I wished the most for, though, was deeper character development. I feel like there is more we could have known about Michael, and some of his character changes came about rather suddenly, without much explanation. We definitely could have learned more about Steve, and dug more into his relationship with Michael.

All in all, though, it was an enjoyable read and I'd happily recommend it to others.
Thomas Sips
I really liked the concept behind the book. 'Would our present world actually be a better place if Hitler never was born?' I think a lot of people presume it would be. So I was glad that Stephen Fry dared to question this reasoning. I think this book tries to convince people to look at our present and future, and not at the past. Yes, a lot of bad things happend in the past and some of them are real tragedies, but they shaped the world like we know it today. And maybe other (even worse) things c I really liked the concept behind the book. 'Would our present world actually be a better place if Hitler never was born?' I think a lot of people presume it would be. So I was glad that Stephen Fry dared to question this reasoning. I think this book tries to convince people to look at our present and future, and not at the past. Yes, a lot of bad things happend in the past and some of them are real tragedies, but they shaped the world like we know it today. And maybe other (even worse) things could have happened if these tragedies didn't happen. This is in my opinion the idea behind the book.

The story starts in the university of Cambridge, where Micheal Young has just finished his thesis. His topic: the life of the parents of Hitler, Hitler's birth and childhood. By coincidence he meets professor Leo Zuckermann, who is very interested in the topic. They quickly become friends and Leo shows Michael some sort of time machine that can bring 'molecular matter' back in time. Michael's ex-girlfriend, who really has a small part in the book, made some sort of contraceptive pill for men. Michael steals it from her lab and he and Leo use the time machine to drop the pill in a well in Braunau to prevent Hilter from getting born.

From that moment we are in a parallel universe where Hitler never saw the light of day, and we find out that this place isn't the magnificent world that Leo and Michael thought they would have created.

I think the book is very cleverly written, but the changes between time, space and characters made it really difficult to get 'into the story'. Luckily that changes as the story progresses. I had the feeling that the last part was much weaker than the 400 first pages. I think that there could be done a lot more with this original idea. Overall it's a good sci-fi 'What If?' book, definitely worth reading! Personally I think it would be a great script for a movie!
06MirandaH
Life would be grand if Hitler had never been born wouldn't it? That is what Michael "Puppy" and Leo Zuckerman thought. When I first picked up this book, I thought it would be a cute book with a nice world sans Hitler, maybe with some regret about the world not learning a lesson. It was silly to think such a thing would turn out okay, and Puppy accidentaly caused someone worse than Hitler to be born.

"Making History" is set shortly after World War Two, for the beginning, and the same time in an Life would be grand if Hitler had never been born wouldn't it? That is what Michael "Puppy" and Leo Zuckerman thought. When I first picked up this book, I thought it would be a cute book with a nice world sans Hitler, maybe with some regret about the world not learning a lesson. It was silly to think such a thing would turn out okay, and Puppy accidentaly caused someone worse than Hitler to be born.

"Making History" is set shortly after World War Two, for the beginning, and the same time in an alternate time stream for the middle and part of the end. They make Hitler never be born, but instead a more successful dictator named Rudolph Gloder rises to power and is more successful in his goal. This is a fantastic book for those interested in time travel and oppressive societies being rebelled against,but you must read it with an open mind. Not a good book for homophobic people, but the story is fantastic and I did cry quite a bit in the end.

The author is Stephen Fry, so it is quite a funny book at times, but when it gets serious, it gets very serious. The beginning is somewhat long, and spends a lot of time setting up for the middle, and it doesn't set up any clues that Michael is gay, its just thrown in in the middle of the story. It can get vaguely rambling at points, but the story is so fantastic you must push yourself to look past it. Stephen writes in first person narrative for some parts, but to condense large portions of information into a small amount of space, he uses film scripts.

The characters are also written fairly well. He gives depth to Hitler's parents, who history doesn't know much about. Rudolph Gloder is cunning, charismatic, and a very bad person. He does things like meticulously planning every move to help his rise to power. This is a great one, and I recommend that everyone reads it sometime.
Sabina
As I finished tonight, couldn't wait to tell what i think in the end about this book.

When i was told about the plot, i loved the idea right away, but when i started reading i wasn't convinced by the slang the author used in a book. Strangely enough, it sounded too contemporary for me, meaning that i prefer classics and their way of writing: lean, long, complicated, making you stop and go back 10 times as you read just one sentence. Here it's a complete difference, you read the book like you are As I finished tonight, couldn't wait to tell what i think in the end about this book.

When i was told about the plot, i loved the idea right away, but when i started reading i wasn't convinced by the slang the author used in a book. Strangely enough, it sounded too contemporary for me, meaning that i prefer classics and their way of writing: lean, long, complicated, making you stop and go back 10 times as you read just one sentence. Here it's a complete difference, you read the book like you are talking to a person, who stops to breathe in, forget some words so has to swear and ask you all the time if you understand what he is taking about. A book is constructed in a notebook-style: the story is divided in 2 parts history and a real world. I loved the historical part, also as it is partly fictional, since the idea of the book is to present the world in case the greatest tyrant of the 20th cent had never been born. Honestly, i regret i had to read the book in my native language and not the original. I think it would sound first of all more logical and not so disturbing as regards to the slang. Funny to say, but i don't have problems with the word f@*k as i do with its Russian equivalent, so i guess encountering it on every page or so wouldn't make me wanting to stop every now and then.
All in all, the book is terrific and is absolutely worth reading! I love it when you stop and then get back to the book in a while, it gives you time to get back to the real world and refreshes you with energy to start reading again and find it even more 'juicy' then before.You might get bored sometimes or better to say not bored but find it overwhelming to sit down and finish the book in one night, but last 100 pages must be read in a one shot! The culmination of the story and epilogue are really well done!
Jason
Stephen loves history,you can see that obviously in this book,if you cannot you are either "blind" or you love history too.
The start it doesn't give you an idea of what will follow, but as you read you will stick to it.
***SPOILER***
Stephen sometimes changes writing style from novel to screenplay which makes it helpful for the plot to move one faster.
At some point he considers useful to read ten pages of history which your hero reads but it's fictional history,so, I read it sideways.
Yes,I do that Stephen loves history,you can see that obviously in this book,if you cannot you are either "blind" or you love history too.
The start it doesn't give you an idea of what will follow, but as you read you will stick to it.
***SPOILER***
Stephen sometimes changes writing style from novel to screenplay which makes it helpful for the plot to move one faster.
At some point he considers useful to read ten pages of history which your hero reads but it's fictional history,so, I read it sideways.
Yes,I do that and I move on episodes and in general when you understand the principles of plot, you just move on because you know where is what you want,no, you can't do that to "Sunset Boulevard" you will miss the end or the start..
Anyway,there is a big finish.I think I would recommended.
Though it drives me crazy when he describes the first world war following a bunch of soldiers who among them supposed to be the person we are now looking for (kind of) and he doesn't make it clear from the start but somewhere in the middle of the book it goes chapter by chapter which sometimes makes it really bad (for me).Today, I said that a play was bad and when I came home I realize that is the play our company gave the money too and I felt really awful,so,guys,this is just an opinion,a personal view,you have to read it and study it in order to get yours (opinion).
I like his descriptions of flavors, he has a gift to describe things that you don't notice in general when you read a book but when you live your life instantly you make these small thoughts and it's wonderful to find these thoughts in a book.
In general I love Stephen Fry and his first novel is another prove of why he is where he is.
Enjoy.
Sarah
I'd give this 4.5 if I could, half stars please Goodreads! I requested this from the library to read for August book club but was on holiday on the day of the meeting and the book hadn't arrived at my library by then either! They've rather nicely let me keep renewing it since then and I finally got round to starting it last month.

I was unconvinced by Making History to start with, I wasn't really sure where it was going or why I should be interested. Then suddenly the story totally surprised me w I'd give this 4.5 if I could, half stars please Goodreads! I requested this from the library to read for August book club but was on holiday on the day of the meeting and the book hadn't arrived at my library by then either! They've rather nicely let me keep renewing it since then and I finally got round to starting it last month.

I was unconvinced by Making History to start with, I wasn't really sure where it was going or why I should be interested. Then suddenly the story totally surprised me with its direction and sucked me in. Fry uses an interesting device to make certain sections more intense, a few chapters were written in the style of a movie script rather than in the usual prose of the rest of the book, to clever effect.

The story is mainly one of lessons learned.
-We can't make the world a better place by changing the past; we have to deal with the past and work to make things better in the here-and-now.
-The more things change, the more they stay the same.
-In our unhappiness, sometimes we seek to change the world so that we can be happy, when actually we need to change ourselves. Or look to see ourselves for what we really are.

Some of the events seemed to be foregone conclusions once the essence of the plot was revealed in full, but there was a wonderful surprise waiting in there that I did not see coming and which left me happier than I had expected to be when I reached the end.

Thought-provoking, silly, fun and left me with a smile at the end. I couldn't ask for much more :)
Linde Vervoort
Stephen Fry’s way of writing about a serious topic like this really surprised me. He uses humour to make you forget at times that you’re dealing with a history that isn’t fictional. At first, I was rather uninterested; the first 160 pages were full of details, a way for Fry to set the scene. Not such a great start, but after that, it only got better and better. I read the book in about two weeks. For someone who doesn’t ready that fast nor that much, that means a lot.

One thing I personally like Stephen Fry’s way of writing about a serious topic like this really surprised me. He uses humour to make you forget at times that you’re dealing with a history that isn’t fictional. At first, I was rather uninterested; the first 160 pages were full of details, a way for Fry to set the scene. Not such a great start, but after that, it only got better and better. I read the book in about two weeks. For someone who doesn’t ready that fast nor that much, that means a lot.

One thing I personally like in books, is that there is a clear ending, which is also the case here. So for those of you who share that opinion with me, this is a book you can and should consider reading. For those who favour stories with an open ending; there’s still enough room to imagine what’s going to happen next, so even though there are certain things that are told and explained, there’s enough details left to be filled in by the reader.

The book was written in a way that I could have never imagined; it was better. I didn’t see the ending coming either, showing one final time that this book isn’t predictable at all. Fry knows how to surprise you and writes from a certain POV you wouldn’t expect.

This is the first book I’ve read by Stephen Fry and I would definitely recommend it to everyone who likes to read, and even those who don’t, because you’ll finish it in no time and end up with a smile on your face, happy with how the story ended and proud of yourself for sticking with it and finishing a book of almost 600 pages.
Marijke Gils
As it goes with almost every book that I have to read for school, I wasn’t very motivated to turn the cover and start reading it. After reading, let’s say, the first ten pages, I was a little confused. But once I realised the book follows two story lines, after more or less 25 pages, I was intrigued by this kind of complexity. I desired to know what the link was between those different story lines. The novel absolutely satisfied my hunger for answers and I read on with great interest. Although t As it goes with almost every book that I have to read for school, I wasn’t very motivated to turn the cover and start reading it. After reading, let’s say, the first ten pages, I was a little confused. But once I realised the book follows two story lines, after more or less 25 pages, I was intrigued by this kind of complexity. I desired to know what the link was between those different story lines. The novel absolutely satisfied my hunger for answers and I read on with great interest. Although the first major part of the book ends with a cliff-hanger, I appreciated the pause the author gave me.

When I picked out the title I wasn’t really sure it was ‘my thing’. Now, after finishing it, I have to admit I was wrong and that I should be more open minded in the future because I really enjoyed reading it. This marvellous piece of literature can’t be put in the box of one specific genre as it touches many subjects. Love and war, cruelty and guilt, history and reality. They all appear, sometimes together, but not necessarily as counterparts. Therefore it can be read by anyone. Nevertheless I’m in the inability to confirm GQ’s quote (“His best novel yet” that’s shining on the back flap of my copy) due to ignorance. Making History is the first novel I’ve read from the hand of Stephen Fry. After writing this positive comment on his novel I’m of course obliged to say it won’t be the last. Hopefully I can keep that promise and will I discover some more ‘Meisterwerken’.
Huw Rhys
We all love Stephen Fry. Everyone. Not just me, and my closest alickadoos, but most people on the planet so it seems. Only the other day, I happened to be speaking to a "manual worker", and the conversation got onto politics, and the sorry state of the world, and this chap just came out with "We should make Stephen Fry President or Emperor, then everything will be fine".

We love his TV Shows, we love his Twitterings and we love his books. We love him because he's witty, super intelligent, charmin We all love Stephen Fry. Everyone. Not just me, and my closest alickadoos, but most people on the planet so it seems. Only the other day, I happened to be speaking to a "manual worker", and the conversation got onto politics, and the sorry state of the world, and this chap just came out with "We should make Stephen Fry President or Emperor, then everything will be fine".

We love his TV Shows, we love his Twitterings and we love his books. We love him because he's witty, super intelligent, charming, charismatic, seemingly always right but also wonderfully flawed - and he's very self aware of all of this.

And all of these traits - positive tinged with a speck of weakness - sort of sums up this book. I never thought I'd ever give a Stephen Fry book anything less than a 5-Star rating. But this one - a little jaunt in time travel sums it up reasonably well - was heading for a 1 minus for the first 300 pages or so. Another of Fry's minute flaws is that he can, on the very rare occasion, rather waffle on a bit for a while. He did for the first 3/5ths of this book.

Then it became a work of genius as we expect from the man who we'd all have ruling us if we had the choice. Even if he does waffle on a bit sometimes. WHich I'll stop doing right here.
Nikolai
ending seems a bit crumpled as if author suddenly decided to finish this book asap. overall funny reading but can't really entertain those who are curious about time travels and alternative history. too simplified and too gay.
Lezlee Hays
I enjoyed the different style of writing and the concepts explored here. I'm always a bit of sucker for a British voice and colloquialisms in writing and I felt it lent a fun voice to the novel. The book actually got me to thinking about how often in life we think "oh if I'd only done that differently...everything might have changed for the better" but maybe this thought process isn't very productive. Maybe then we would have just had a different set of problems, or things could have still gone I enjoyed the different style of writing and the concepts explored here. I'm always a bit of sucker for a British voice and colloquialisms in writing and I felt it lent a fun voice to the novel. The book actually got me to thinking about how often in life we think "oh if I'd only done that differently...everything might have changed for the better" but maybe this thought process isn't very productive. Maybe then we would have just had a different set of problems, or things could have still gone the wrong way, just a DIFFERENT wrong way. Who knows. But it was thought provoking. I'd probably give it 3 1/2 stars if that were possible on the goodreads system. He lost some points with me for taking some long asides at times which were not always germaine to a pretty involved plot line and story that needed attending to as it way. I'm normally fine with diversions, so I didn't mind it too much, but the plot had so much going on anyway that I felt a little tighter editing might have been called for in spots. I also wish the whole first chapter could have been re-written. It almost felt like we could have started at Chapter 2 and been better off.
Albena Georgieva
Very amusing book. Is the history made by powerful individuals or is the society ready for something and the individuals like Hitler or Stalin are just on the bad spot at the bad time. would the same things have happened if we could have stopped those people from being born? more than the subject, the humor is what makes you go through the book in no time. Here is an impression:

"The arrogance of these people. It is as if scientists exert every effort of will they possess deliberately to find t Very amusing book. Is the history made by powerful individuals or is the society ready for something and the individuals like Hitler or Stalin are just on the bad spot at the bad time. would the same things have happened if we could have stopped those people from being born? more than the subject, the humor is what makes you go through the book in no time. Here is an impression:

"The arrogance of these people. It is as if scientists exert every effort of will they possess deliberately to find the least significant problems in the world and explain them. Art matters. happiness matters. love matters. They are the only things that matter and they are of course precisely the things that science goes out of its way to ignore. You people treat art as if it is a disease, or an evolutionary mechanism, pleasure. We never hear you say, 'ooh, we've discovered that those electrons are evil and these protons are good', do we? Everything is morally neutral in your universe, yet a child of two can tell you nothing is morally neutral. Bastards. Suckmothers. Smug, smuggy, smuggery smuggers." - from "Making history" by Stephen Fry -
Ensiform
Much, much better than Fry’s first book, this 550-page SF time-travel historical thriller is engrossing from start to finish. The dialogue is witty and crammed with topical references, the complex plots are weaved together solidly, and the suspense is truly heart-pounding at times. In a nutshell, it tells the story of a Cambridge graduate student and a professor, the son of an Auschwitz doctor, who make sure Hitler was never born. The result is far more horrific than either one of them ever drea Much, much better than Fry’s first book, this 550-page SF time-travel historical thriller is engrossing from start to finish. The dialogue is witty and crammed with topical references, the complex plots are weaved together solidly, and the suspense is truly heart-pounding at times. In a nutshell, it tells the story of a Cambridge graduate student and a professor, the son of an Auschwitz doctor, who make sure Hitler was never born. The result is far more horrific than either one of them ever dreamed on both a global and individual scale: the new Fuhrer is a charismatic, worldly man of guile, foresight and deceit, resulting in The Fall of Europe; while the human condition being what it is, the professor of the alternate present carries the same guilts and fears as before. Fry comments throughout on good and evil, love and life, and while his sexual orientation seems to force him to make his main characters bisexual, the conclusions are universal. Really an excellent book, replete with comedy, adventure, quite well researched historical speculation and high drama.
Adam D'souza
I go back and forth on how I feel about this one. It took a long time to get going... over 100 pages in I still had no idea what the narrative thrust was supposed to be. And I was left a bit cold by the somewhat surprising message of the book, which seemed to come out of nowhere and not have been earned. I also have a general suspiciousness when it comes to books about Nazis, time travel and physicists, and some of my general concerns were manifest in this book.

On the other hand, I deeply admire I go back and forth on how I feel about this one. It took a long time to get going... over 100 pages in I still had no idea what the narrative thrust was supposed to be. And I was left a bit cold by the somewhat surprising message of the book, which seemed to come out of nowhere and not have been earned. I also have a general suspiciousness when it comes to books about Nazis, time travel and physicists, and some of my general concerns were manifest in this book.

On the other hand, I deeply admire Stephen Fry's wit and linguistic ability, and his prose is a joy to read for its melodiousness alone. My favourite line:
"...I get as snortingly impatient as the next man when authors draw attention to their writerly techniques, and this sentence itself disappears even more deeply than most into the filthy elastic of its own narrative rectum, but there’s nothing I can do about that." I also continue to be impressed by his depth of knowledge of seemingly everything. Clearly a man who has read Wikipedia cover-to-cover.
Adrian
This is an awkward review, because, as good as the book is, it is better if you know what you are getting into. However, knowing what you are getting into both spoils the plot and doesn't, because it takes a long time to get where it is going. I personally think the book is therefore better on a second reading, than on a first, but personal tastes may differ.

The plot itself is convoluted and cliched, but approached in a clever way, leaving very little to be unasked. I can recommend it, but you n This is an awkward review, because, as good as the book is, it is better if you know what you are getting into. However, knowing what you are getting into both spoils the plot and doesn't, because it takes a long time to get where it is going. I personally think the book is therefore better on a second reading, than on a first, but personal tastes may differ.

The plot itself is convoluted and cliched, but approached in a clever way, leaving very little to be unasked. I can recommend it, but you need to go in with the ability to open and close your mind at the right points, which may be tough for some. If you don't enjoy Stephen Fry, this won't convince you to, but if you do you will probably enjoy it more.

And yet, I can't give it 5 stars. Perhaps it bit off more than it could chew, trying to encompass everything such a story could bring. Perhaps the relative obscurity of the title amongst his other works bleeds into my enjoyment of the book. Whatever it is, it isn't perfect, but it is good (and as said earlier, better a second read through)
Beth
Stephen Fry's "Making History" is not great literature, but it is a really good read. I generally enjoy Fry's writing, and this book is no exception. I find his writing makes me smile wryly along with the narrator, and become invested in his characters rather quickly. This particular book deals with the idea of what would happen to modern history if someone important were not allowed to be born. Mr. Fry's take is interesting and, indeed, won him an alternate history award at the time of it's pub Stephen Fry's "Making History" is not great literature, but it is a really good read. I generally enjoy Fry's writing, and this book is no exception. I find his writing makes me smile wryly along with the narrator, and become invested in his characters rather quickly. This particular book deals with the idea of what would happen to modern history if someone important were not allowed to be born. Mr. Fry's take is interesting and, indeed, won him an alternate history award at the time of it's publication. I found this aspect of the book to be very interesting, along with the emotional and personality pitfalls and motivations that transcended historic events in either alternate presented. Having said all of this, I did feel that the ending was very weak. It's as if Mr. Fry didn't quite know how to get out of his own narrative. I also felt a bit duped by the love story woven into the second half of the book. I didn't see the seeds for this anywhere in the first half of the story, and therefore, it all felt a bit jarring.
Psychophant
This is a very courageous and ambitious book. Or rather, two books. One about the misadventures of a clueless academic from Cambridge, and his culture shock in something resembling Princeton, and discovering love in an unexpected place. Full of what you would expect from Fry, painting with a wide brush academics, Oxbridge, homophobes, Americans, and several other targets of opportunity. The other a quite rigorous historical exercise of What if?, concerning that typical paradox of time travel, ho This is a very courageous and ambitious book. Or rather, two books. One about the misadventures of a clueless academic from Cambridge, and his culture shock in something resembling Princeton, and discovering love in an unexpected place. Full of what you would expect from Fry, painting with a wide brush academics, Oxbridge, homophobes, Americans, and several other targets of opportunity. The other a quite rigorous historical exercise of What if?, concerning that typical paradox of time travel, how would the world be if Hitler had been killed at birth/had not been born?

The problem is that the two books are twisted in, but they just do not mix, like water and oil. Both sides lose in the exchange, at times extremely jarring. Or maybe I like my genres separate, but to go from slapstick to Auschwitz requires more mental flexibility than I have. In the end I just had to stop reading when the subject changed, rest, and then take the book again.

Still a good read, but much more work than I expected from a Fry book.
Sarina
At the beginning I was very sceptical about this book. A cat on the cover and it is about Hitler? Strange combination! But when I started to read, I really got fond of the story. Once you started reading, it was very difficult to put it away.

The story is about the young lad, Michael Young, who is obsessed with history, especially about Hitler's life. But his quiet little life on campus changed when he crossed paths with Leo Zuckerman. Leo is a physicist with a very special invention that can ch At the beginning I was very sceptical about this book. A cat on the cover and it is about Hitler? Strange combination! But when I started to read, I really got fond of the story. Once you started reading, it was very difficult to put it away.

The story is about the young lad, Michael Young, who is obsessed with history, especially about Hitler's life. But his quiet little life on campus changed when he crossed paths with Leo Zuckerman. Leo is a physicist with a very special invention that can change the evil in the world, so they think.

I sometimes even tripped over my words, if that's even possible when you are reading quietly, since I tried to read as fast as I possibly could because the story was so exciting at some points.

I really recommend you to read this book, it’s a little on the long side, but the ending is very thrilling, has a complex twist and is really worth your while.
Robin
A book filled with wit, humour, sparkling prose, rich research, and memorable characters, but it's not entirely without problems.

Some of the early passages, and especially the final act, come across as a little self indulgent on the author's part. Some subplots don't quite gel the way they should. Some of the historical riffing gets a bit dull, just when the main plot is starting to kick off.

But all that pales against the energy, confidence, the sheer command of the English language, and the hum A book filled with wit, humour, sparkling prose, rich research, and memorable characters, but it's not entirely without problems.

Some of the early passages, and especially the final act, come across as a little self indulgent on the author's part. Some subplots don't quite gel the way they should. Some of the historical riffing gets a bit dull, just when the main plot is starting to kick off.

But all that pales against the energy, confidence, the sheer command of the English language, and the human condition, Fry exhibits here. It's one of the most engaging books I've ever read; combine that with a stupendously interesting concept, and you get alarmingly close to a classic (and this is one of the few books that I've had to put down in order to google some new or unexplored concept--they're always fun). As it is, the flaws drag it down a bit, but this book is still a noteworthy achievement.
Youri Luyten
Even though I mistakenly bought a digital version of Stephen Fry’s Making History, instead of a hard copy, and despite having to read it on my laptop with bloodshot eyes, I really enjoyed this book.

In the beginning, it can be quite confusing to keep track of all the different characters and multiple jumps in time. Once you're past that difficult and confusing beginning, however, you find yourself hooked. Stephen Fry quickly takes you to the main event in the book by writing some chapters in scr Even though I mistakenly bought a digital version of Stephen Fry’s Making History, instead of a hard copy, and despite having to read it on my laptop with bloodshot eyes, I really enjoyed this book.

In the beginning, it can be quite confusing to keep track of all the different characters and multiple jumps in time. Once you're past that difficult and confusing beginning, however, you find yourself hooked. Stephen Fry quickly takes you to the main event in the book by writing some chapters in screenplay-style. I found this an original and effective way to give a lot of information, without using too many words.

If you enjoy history, and are horrified by the Nazi’s and the Second World War, don't hesitate to read this book. Making History gives you an idea of what could have happened if Hitler had never been born. Would our planet have been better off without him and his madness? You might be surprised...
Andy Love
Stephen Fry handles his exploration of the effects of excising Hitler from history with a variety of narrative devices - chapters told in screenplay form, excerpts from a dissertation on Hitler's life written by the main character (and harshly criticized by the main character's instructor!), as well as conventional first-person narration. This is a delicate topic, of course, especially since (view spoiler)[ Fry's character learns that a Hitler-less history might be worse than our own world (hide Stephen Fry handles his exploration of the effects of excising Hitler from history with a variety of narrative devices - chapters told in screenplay form, excerpts from a dissertation on Hitler's life written by the main character (and harshly criticized by the main character's instructor!), as well as conventional first-person narration. This is a delicate topic, of course, especially since (view spoiler)[ Fry's character learns that a Hitler-less history might be worse than our own world (hide spoiler)], but Fry, who lost relatives in the Holocaust, deals with the topic seriously (especially through the character of Professor Leo Zuckerman who in two universes suffers guilt over the sins of his family). Fry also manages to invent a believably different pop-culture and technology in his alternate universe (the way computers work in the alternate universe struck me as something that might very well have happened).
Johanne
An entertaining addition to the what-if category of semi-science fiction, although I'm not sure its truly an alternative history. A PhD student who is an expert in hitler's youth meets a physicist who can send things back in time...... its all a little bit too predictable although it is entertaining and by no means the worst addition to the genre. Stylistically you couldn't fail to know it was written by Stephen Fry - his style is as distinctive as his spoken manner which I have to confess got a An entertaining addition to the what-if category of semi-science fiction, although I'm not sure its truly an alternative history. A PhD student who is an expert in hitler's youth meets a physicist who can send things back in time...... its all a little bit too predictable although it is entertaining and by no means the worst addition to the genre. Stylistically you couldn't fail to know it was written by Stephen Fry - his style is as distinctive as his spoken manner which I have to confess got a bit wearing over 500+ pages. The book is split into two large chunks and a short final chapter and interspersed with a sections written like a film script, the film script inserts don't really add anything. Overall its not bad, its always good to muse on those points on which history turns and its a light and relatively quick read.
Mike
I'd heard of Stephen Fry as an actor and "TV personality," so I went into this book with some trepidation. I was pleasantly surprised. Turns out he's a fine novelist as well.

In many ways, Fry's story of an alternate world history gave me the same creepy feeling I got when I first read The Man in the High Castle," by Philip K. Dick. I realize that's very high praise, but I feel the comparison is justified. Along with the plausibly constructed alternate history, the book also examines that staple I'd heard of Stephen Fry as an actor and "TV personality," so I went into this book with some trepidation. I was pleasantly surprised. Turns out he's a fine novelist as well.

In many ways, Fry's story of an alternate world history gave me the same creepy feeling I got when I first read The Man in the High Castle," by Philip K. Dick. I realize that's very high praise, but I feel the comparison is justified. Along with the plausibly constructed alternate history, the book also examines that staple of time travel stories, the law of unintended consequences.

There are a couple sections written as a screenplay, which are true to the narrator's conception of himself but tedious to read. The book also gets a bit of a Hollywood happy ending, but I guess Fry is just a romantic at heart.
Drew Pearce
An enjoyable read, I read this from cover to cover in a couple of days as I just could not put it down. It explores the notion of the going back in time and killing Hitler. This is something we see numerous times in other fiction and people generally seem to hold the belief the twenty first century without him would be a lot less bloody and tumultuous. However, as this book explores, the far right in Germany was a lot bigger than just one man and even had early support from the West and the Chur An enjoyable read, I read this from cover to cover in a couple of days as I just could not put it down. It explores the notion of the going back in time and killing Hitler. This is something we see numerous times in other fiction and people generally seem to hold the belief the twenty first century without him would be a lot less bloody and tumultuous. However, as this book explores, the far right in Germany was a lot bigger than just one man and even had early support from the West and the Church. Stephen Fry is a very good writer and this book is certainly in keeping with his usual style except the subject matter dealt with is a lot darker than other books of his I have read and as such is a lot less lighthearted. I would recommend this to anyone who likes Stephen Fry's writing, Alternative History Fiction, and anyone who enjoys a gripping read exploring how events ripple out.
Kai
Absolutely fabulous! The concept is extremely intriguing, and I love how the sci-fi element in the book is indivisable from the plot, but not a major element in it. It is a wonderful piece of science fiction nonetheless, and in my opinion actually because of that fact. I thoroughly enjoyed the different ways the book was written in- thorugh Michael's eyes and his close ones, though his book's, and through the movie script. It was refreshing and imaginative. I also enjoyed the romatic bits- I rea Absolutely fabulous! The concept is extremely intriguing, and I love how the sci-fi element in the book is indivisable from the plot, but not a major element in it. It is a wonderful piece of science fiction nonetheless, and in my opinion actually because of that fact. I thoroughly enjoyed the different ways the book was written in- thorugh Michael's eyes and his close ones, though his book's, and through the movie script. It was refreshing and imaginative. I also enjoyed the romatic bits- I read them over and over and they brought excited tears to my eyes! The book is also extremely funny, and the british humor is as clear as day all the way through. Stephen Fry obviously knows how to write dark scenes just as well, and I found them chilling and very hard to put down. A wonderful book all 'round, and very highly recomended, even to people who are not big sci-fi fans :)
Roman
The book reminded me Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” in several ways. Besides obvious interleaving of military and civil descriptions, Fry also makes a point on the insignificance of individuality in the course of history, but he presents it from the counterfactual history point of view. You can stop Hitler from being born, huh? Get another world, no better than the one with the war, the Holocaust, and the divided Europe. Hitler, Gloder — does it really matter? History is not driven by individuals.
Ano The book reminded me Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” in several ways. Besides obvious interleaving of military and civil descriptions, Fry also makes a point on the insignificance of individuality in the course of history, but he presents it from the counterfactual history point of view. You can stop Hitler from being born, huh? Get another world, no better than the one with the war, the Holocaust, and the divided Europe. Hitler, Gloder — does it really matter? History is not driven by individuals.
Another wonderful feature of the book is the level of verbosity in the descriptions of historical events and technical artefacts. It is a rare quality when those realms can be covered that well by a single author. Also, the UK and US are contrasted in a fun way. Add some cute British humour — and you’ll get a pleasant entertaining *and* educating reading.
Shari
I adore Stephen Fry, to the point of having a ABOFAL sketch programmed as the ringtone on my phone.* Put simply: I would jump at the chance to be this man's fag hag.

But after starting -- and abandoning -- The Liar twice despite my best efforts, I did not have high hopes for Making History. The only reason I picked it up is because I might, maybe, have succumbed to that weird Gen-Y fixation with the world wars -- and, of course, because any aspiring fag hag worth her salt will readily mete out se I adore Stephen Fry, to the point of having a ABOFAL sketch programmed as the ringtone on my phone.* Put simply: I would jump at the chance to be this man's fag hag.

But after starting -- and abandoning -- The Liar twice despite my best efforts, I did not have high hopes for Making History. The only reason I picked it up is because I might, maybe, have succumbed to that weird Gen-Y fixation with the world wars -- and, of course, because any aspiring fag hag worth her salt will readily mete out second (third?) chances.

And I am quite glad I did. Several times I thought about giving up, but in the end I'm pleased I didn't. Glad enough to try my luck with another of Mr. Fry's novels? Maybe. Just, it probably won't be The Liar.
*S02E01, the last 15 seconds of "Commentators" if anyone's wondering.
Tonia
This book is an interesting look at attempting to change the history of the world for the better and realizing that our intentions do not always match the desired results. Michael Young, a grad students, and Leo Zuckerman, a professor, meet by accident and through several conversations decide to attempt to erase Adolf Hitler's existence from history. They are successful and Michael falls into an alternate reality with a new life that is completely different that what he had hoped. In playing god This book is an interesting look at attempting to change the history of the world for the better and realizing that our intentions do not always match the desired results. Michael Young, a grad students, and Leo Zuckerman, a professor, meet by accident and through several conversations decide to attempt to erase Adolf Hitler's existence from history. They are successful and Michael falls into an alternate reality with a new life that is completely different that what he had hoped. In playing god, Michael realizes that removing a character from history, other individuals take his place and not for the better. An interesting and provocative idea that if people could play god and change to course of history, would a choice make the world better or worse. Pick this up and give it a read.
Parker Avrile
Wow. Home sick & did nothing all day but read this book but I consider it a day well spent. Absolutely amazing. It is sort of the gay "The Man in the High Castle"-- the author even mentions PKD as someone who doesn't exist in the new Hitler-free AU-- but "History" has more of a romantic arc and a lot of dry British humor. "Castle" is very much a novel set in California, whereas this one seems very English. Both brilliant but both very different ways of handling the classic time travel/AU the Wow. Home sick & did nothing all day but read this book but I consider it a day well spent. Absolutely amazing. It is sort of the gay "The Man in the High Castle"-- the author even mentions PKD as someone who doesn't exist in the new Hitler-free AU-- but "History" has more of a romantic arc and a lot of dry British humor. "Castle" is very much a novel set in California, whereas this one seems very English. Both brilliant but both very different ways of handling the classic time travel/AU theme that we live in the best of all possible worlds and you attempt to change fate at your own risk.

Fry's paperclip structure is absolutely brilliant, the way the last line of every chapter and the first line of the next are linked. Once you realize he's doing it, you still can't stop compulsively reading. Just an amazing book.
Helle
Another enjoyable read by Stephen Fry, which tackled Hitler, time travel, WW I, Princeton, Cambridge and romance. And while he tackled all this, he was of course alternately funny, silly and intelligent, often all three at once.

I cannot think why Fry has left novel writing behind. Maybe because, once he had mastered that skill, he felt like taking on new things? Shame, really, because he is a fine writer with a natural gift for making up engaging (if silly, but never too silly) stories, which I Another enjoyable read by Stephen Fry, which tackled Hitler, time travel, WW I, Princeton, Cambridge and romance. And while he tackled all this, he was of course alternately funny, silly and intelligent, often all three at once.

I cannot think why Fry has left novel writing behind. Maybe because, once he had mastered that skill, he felt like taking on new things? Shame, really, because he is a fine writer with a natural gift for making up engaging (if silly, but never too silly) stories, which I could personally read many more of, coming from Fry's pen.

I loved how he took on different ways of speaking (well, writing how the characters spoke) English in this one. His renditions of an older German man speaking English and the 'meeting' between British and American English were brilliant.
Hannie
Mijn eerste boek van Stephen Fry, die ik hiervoor alleen kende als acteur en documentairemaker. Een origineel verhaal, met een onderliggende boodschap. Het boek gaat over wat als Hitler niet geleefd had. Hoe de wereld er dan uit zou zien. Interessant thema, dat goed uitgewerkt is. Op de omslag staat dat het een boek is met vaart, humor en spanning. Toch miste ik de humor. Er zitten wel wat grappige stukjes in, maar over het algemeen vind ik het toch een serieus verhaal. Maar wellicht ligt dat aa Mijn eerste boek van Stephen Fry, die ik hiervoor alleen kende als acteur en documentairemaker. Een origineel verhaal, met een onderliggende boodschap. Het boek gaat over wat als Hitler niet geleefd had. Hoe de wereld er dan uit zou zien. Interessant thema, dat goed uitgewerkt is. Op de omslag staat dat het een boek is met vaart, humor en spanning. Toch miste ik de humor. Er zitten wel wat grappige stukjes in, maar over het algemeen vind ik het toch een serieus verhaal. Maar wellicht ligt dat aan de vertaling. Ondanks dat toch een aanrader. Ook ga ik zeker meer lezen van Stephen Fry.

Het boek deed me trouwens een beetje denken aan 11/22/63 van Stephen King, omdat dat boek ook gaat over wat als je de geschiedenis zou veranderen. Het boek van Stephen Fry was er alleen eerder, dus als iemand geïnspireerd is door de ander is het Stephen King geweest en niet Stephen Fry.
Lea
This book was one of those under rated books that fly under the radar and yet are so brilliant I recommend it to all my friends looking for something different to read. It gives a story that answers the question what would the world have been like if Hitler never existed? It boggles the mind with its intricate story and actually has some historical accuracy as well with certain references to Hitlers life and post during the first world war. It makes the reader question as they go if that fate co This book was one of those under rated books that fly under the radar and yet are so brilliant I recommend it to all my friends looking for something different to read. It gives a story that answers the question what would the world have been like if Hitler never existed? It boggles the mind with its intricate story and actually has some historical accuracy as well with certain references to Hitlers life and post during the first world war. It makes the reader question as they go if that fate could have actually came to be. There is unexpected twists and turns (and of course my favourite, an unexpected romance!). It was a creative masterpiece of a story that kept me captivated until the end. A must read historical fiction novel!!
Lewis
A clever and funny novel about a young man, a time machine, and a world without Adolf Hitler. Fry's rhetoric is catching, sublime and full of gem-like wit. He is one of the few authors that can make me laugh out loud in a half stifled fit of mirth, and this novel is no exception to the trend stared in his first work: 'The Liar'.
The basic idea is of an alternative present day world without the existance of hitler. It's a kind of comic version of 'The man in the High Castle', but brought about thr A clever and funny novel about a young man, a time machine, and a world without Adolf Hitler. Fry's rhetoric is catching, sublime and full of gem-like wit. He is one of the few authors that can make me laugh out loud in a half stifled fit of mirth, and this novel is no exception to the trend stared in his first work: 'The Liar'.
The basic idea is of an alternative present day world without the existance of hitler. It's a kind of comic version of 'The man in the High Castle', but brought about through the cunning use of a little known drug that makes people infertile.
It has his usual rambling and poignant style that grips like a vice and let's you go only at the unexpected conclusion. I would recommend this work to anyone who likes Fry's usual humour. Expect sexual references.

Louise
I absolutely loved this book. It was quite amazing, but some parts I found to be a little bit boring. (That's why I gave four stars instead of five.)

The premise, that of a guy trying to make the world a better place by making sure Hitler was never born, then waking up in that new world and seeing that it hasn't actually improved, and trying to get history back to how it used to be may seem not so amazing, but let me tell you, it was amazing.

What I found really interesting, was the way the author I absolutely loved this book. It was quite amazing, but some parts I found to be a little bit boring. (That's why I gave four stars instead of five.)

The premise, that of a guy trying to make the world a better place by making sure Hitler was never born, then waking up in that new world and seeing that it hasn't actually improved, and trying to get history back to how it used to be may seem not so amazing, but let me tell you, it was amazing.

What I found really interesting, was the way the author used other means than merely pages of 'normal' written text, but also something I thought was a screenplay.

The book itself is, for me, a reminder that not just one factor plays a role in a particular event, and just eliminating that particular factor won't make everything alright.
Mae
A comical, science fictional, historical, and unexpectedly homosexual novel about what might happen if someone went back in time and prevented Adolf Hitler from being born. The narrator is goofy enough to make it seem like a light read, but it's actually quite long and pretty large in scope, divided into two sections: before the time-meddling experiment, and afterwards, in an alternate present. Interspersed with the present-day narrative are chapters that take place in Austria and Germany leadin A comical, science fictional, historical, and unexpectedly homosexual novel about what might happen if someone went back in time and prevented Adolf Hitler from being born. The narrator is goofy enough to make it seem like a light read, but it's actually quite long and pretty large in scope, divided into two sections: before the time-meddling experiment, and afterwards, in an alternate present. Interspersed with the present-day narrative are chapters that take place in Austria and Germany leading up to the rise of Nazism (with and without Hitler). Along with The Liar it might be my favorite of Stephen Fry's books. I like that Fry seems to have the idea that the US is a place where everyone goes by nicknames like Mikey and Steve; it's not true but it's funny.
James Marinero
A somewhat whimsical and highly entertaining story which juggles with history and time travel.

Many of us will have wondered about time travel with notions, say, of affecting the course of history by introducing advanced technology to one side at a critical stage in a war - perhaps guns to King Harold's side when William the Conqueror landed at Hastings. Fry does just this (in another setting) and explores the outcomes.

I took much of it to be factual and Fry's juggling with those facts and events A somewhat whimsical and highly entertaining story which juggles with history and time travel.

Many of us will have wondered about time travel with notions, say, of affecting the course of history by introducing advanced technology to one side at a critical stage in a war - perhaps guns to King Harold's side when William the Conqueror landed at Hastings. Fry does just this (in another setting) and explores the outcomes.

I took much of it to be factual and Fry's juggling with those facts and events of history was absolutely fascinating.

The moral (if it was that) and inevitability - or momentum - of history (if such a concept can be envisaged) was skillfully drawn.

Thoroughly enjoyable.
Florin Andrei
I would not have read this had it not been for the Read Harder challenge this year. One of the challenges is a book recommended by someone, so I asked a friend, and she told me I should read this, and I urge you to the same.

It seems that the world's fiction is divided fairly neatly into 'literary' and 'page-turners', and while some literary fiction will have you turning pages, and some page-turners might be a bit mind bending, you don't often get books that fall somewhere in the middle.

Making Hi I would not have read this had it not been for the Read Harder challenge this year. One of the challenges is a book recommended by someone, so I asked a friend, and she told me I should read this, and I urge you to the same.

It seems that the world's fiction is divided fairly neatly into 'literary' and 'page-turners', and while some literary fiction will have you turning pages, and some page-turners might be a bit mind bending, you don't often get books that fall somewhere in the middle.

Making History was equal parts romantic cheese, rehashed sci-fi and social commentary, and while Mr. Fry does his best to leave no stone without an explanatory note, there is a fair bit to consider as you reach the 572nd page in record time.

Oh, and it's pretty funny too.
Alison
I'm always intrigued by "what if..." and love history so this book with it's "what if Hitler could be stopped?" was always going to appeal to me. It is clever and while often I did think as I read it "which of this is true in our world and which isn't" it wasn't necessary to have a good knowledge of 20th century history to enjoy it.

I was worried that Stephen Fry's "voice" would be overly intrusive as he is so well known and distinctive but I needn't have worried - within a very short time I was I'm always intrigued by "what if..." and love history so this book with it's "what if Hitler could be stopped?" was always going to appeal to me. It is clever and while often I did think as I read it "which of this is true in our world and which isn't" it wasn't necessary to have a good knowledge of 20th century history to enjoy it.

I was worried that Stephen Fry's "voice" would be overly intrusive as he is so well known and distinctive but I needn't have worried - within a very short time I was no longer reading it in my head in his voice!

The one thing that was a little irritating was when scenes were written as a movie script - it didn't really work for me but it was only mildly irritating.

A very satisfying read.
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