Since age 11 I have enjoyed sweeping family epics set during important events. Even if the story wasn't completely strong I enjoyed the historically accurate events that they were set in. These stories always gave a personal aspect to events you read about in history books. To this day my feelings on immigration tie back to a story about a boat full of Jewish people who were turned away from America during WWII. I have really enjoyed following different fictional families through history. The Winslow family during the Civil War, the Federcenckos during the Russian revolution and the Lindheims and Murphys during WWII.
These books helped me learn history. I was always really fascinated with history and would read my whole history text book at the beginning of the school year so these books were interesting as they brought these events to life. They definitely helped me remember dates.
It has been a while since I have read a sweeping generation spanning epic. Someone recently recommended I check out The Century Trilogy by Ken Follett. The Fall of Giants reminds me of these books I loved so much as a child and young teen. The core stories are sometimes far fetched especially how characters end up interacting but the history swirling around them sucks me in. World War I isn't a war you read about as much as WWII so I really was interested in finding out more about it. The first book definitely goes into great detail about the events leading up to mobilization and the beginning of the war not just in Great Britain but how if affects those in Russia and The United States. I enjoyed reading all the different perspectives. The battles and events are detailed but also have a human element as you are feeling and thinking along with the characters. I love how long these books are. I adore fat books!
The second book did not grab me as much in the beginning but I am getting more into it about 300 pages in. I enjoy the new characters who were just children or not even born in the last book. This book focuses on World War II. One thing that Follett does that I enjoy is taking real historical events and dialogue but placing the characters there on the scene. That is actually one of my favorite things about these sweeping epics. Inevitably the characters will run into famous men and women of the time. Even when the circumstances are a little far fetched I still love it!