am 16. November 2000
Dieses Buch ist wirklich ein Buch. Wenn man angefangen hat muss einem schon etwas sehr wichtiges dazwischenkommen (das Haus brennt, die Katze klemmt im Fenster oder das Bad steht unter Wasser), damit man es wieder aus der Hand legt. Frys Umgang mit Geschichte ist fantastisch. Er schreibt ohne einem ständig vor Augen zu halten wie wichtig es ist, sich betroffen zu fühlen und einem einzureden wieviel Verantwortung man selbst noch zu tragen hat. Andererseits ist er auch nicht verharmlosend oder respektlos. Fry hat meiner Meinung nach den perfekten Mittelweg gefunden, wie man 50 Jahre nach dem Holocaust auch darüber schreiben kann. Und er schreibt nunmal mit diesem unvergleichlichen Witz, der einen sogar in der U-Bahn oder im Hörsaal laut loslachen lässt. Dieser Roman ist allen zu empfehlen. Denen die sich nicht für Geschichte interessieren und ganz besonders denen, die sich dafür interessieren.
am 18. November 2005
What a book. All the usual Oscar Wilde flippancy, Evelyn Waugh waspishness and P.G. Wodehouse absurdity, cleverly guided by the pen of one of the world's sharpest wits plus, in this case, maybe just a touch of H.G. Wells thrown in for good measure.
The nub of the plot is that two Cambridge academics decide to reverse history and have Hitler 'unborn'. Simple enough, really! Unfortunately, of course, they don't foresee that the void left by a non-Hitler would have to be filled. Nature abhorrs a vacuum. Someone HAD to rise to power, in this case someone even worse - the timing and the circumstances in Europe pretty well guaranteed it.
History is changed, but the world doesn't turn out how they intended. Michael struggles in this new, disturbing world to find the physicist and to right the wrong, and along the way he finds love with another man. But will this love survive when they try to set the world right?
Sometimes fun, always intelligent, this novel can be called a sci-fi comedy, or just a highly imaginative book. It is rare to find a read that is this lighthearted and fun, yet profound enough to bring me to tears. Which is better, pain or oblivion? This book is clever on so many levels. But I still can't help but wonder what the world would have been like if Queen Victoria, rather than Hitler, was the one erased from our History.
am 24. April 1998
Making History is one of those books that takes a fascinating idea--What Hitler had not been born?--and wanders around wondering just what to do with it. Certainly the inital premise is compling, graduate student Mark Young and his *Jewish* teacher Zuckerman send sterilization tablets back to the water in Hitlers hometown, thus preventing his parents from conceiving him. With this act, the world changes--yet not all that much. Fry upsets the Great Man Idea of history by giving Hitler an understudy--another despot, Rudi Glober, who not only becomes a more effective Fuhrer but also embraces the *Jewish science* of physics Hitler rejected. The resulting Reich now dominates all Europe with its nuclear warheads--yet how is it different from a world in which Hitler won? The concept has been done elsewhere--most notably Fatherland--with stronger results. Fry is considering removing the most provocative man of the 20th century, yet he only replaces a wolf with a tiger. The time-travel concept, first pills, then a dead rat, are shot backward a hundred years, is mentioned, then dropped. The homosexual angle is almost silly: In the alternate world Mark Young finally meets his One True Love,--Stephen, a fellow student. This idea is not new, in other hands Stephen would simply be Stephanie. While it is good to see homo-love mentioned without the mandatory agonizing, in this case it almost distracts from the initial idea of Hitler. True, gays died in the death camps, but Gay Guy Steve is no different from a Jewish girl in this setting. Mark, his lover, and Dr.Zuckerman shift from world to world with little real upheaval; the alternate world is grim, yet I have seen far worse ones, and far better. While Fry pens an enjoyable read, he plays with marvelous ideas he then abandons in favor of his own playful agenda. A dog sled goes faster if one dog is allowed to lead, not let each one get a sniff along the way.
am 18. Januar 1998
Stephen Fry is mad as hell and he's not going to take it any more. Or is this book a satire? It's hard to tell. Anyway, he seems to have it in for sophomoric graduate students such as the putative hero Michael Young, the student's girlfriend, flunkies of various sorts, pompous professors, unaccountably gullible FBI agents, German militarists, and the village of Brunau-am-Inn, Adolf Hitler's birthplace. The main characters are so strange, to say the least, that Hitler himself tends to get lost in the shuffle.
The action oscillates between tragedy and slapstick comedy. Young, a schlemiel, accidentally spills some male sterilization pills that his chemist girlfriend happens to have left lying around in her laboratory. He steals them and, with the help of a friend's handy time machine, engages in a little trans-temporal terrorism, poisoning the water supply of Brunau 10 months before Hitler was to be conceived. I suppose we should be glad he doesn't rifle his girlfriend's desk drawers; he might discover even worse weapons of mass destruction, like a cache of atomic hand grenades.
Logically, "Making History" makes no sense. Young is catapulted into an alternate timeline where Hitler never existed. Orthodox time-travel theory prescribes that he stay home and somehow communicate with his new alter ego, but ours not to reason why. The Hitlerless timeline turns out to be even worse than our own: Rudolf Glober, just as diabolical as Hitler and twice as smart, founds the Nazi party and conquers Europe by playing all his cards impossibly right.
And that's the book's fatal flaw: Glober is a fictional character, and his success in outdoing Hitler is unbelievable. If Fry wished to show that Nazism was historically inevitable, his creating Glober out of whole cloth proves the opposite by lending credence to Hitler's essential role in creating the Third Reich and, thereby, to the "great man" theory of history.
For a better-conceived and historically more interesting treatment of the subject, albeit with situations, heroes and villains reminiscent of James Bond films, I recommend James P. Hogan's "The Proteus Operation."
Making History hat mich von Anfang an gefesselt. Es ist spannend, intelligent und gespickt mit dezemten, britischem Humor. Natürlich will das Buch kein ernsthaftes "was wäre wenn" sein. Aber es gibt einem dennoch reichlich mit auf den Weg, um darüber nachzudenken.
Stephen Fry versteht es, die Sprache wunderbar einzusetzen. Dadurch fühlt sich die Geschichte richtig lebendig an!
Zum Inhalt möchte ich nicht zu viel verraten. Vorrangig geht es natürlich darum, die Welt von Hitler zu befreien.
Doch im Buch geht es um mehr. Es geht um Ziele, um Moral, um Schuld, um Konsequenzen und um Liebe. Hitler ist für den Erzähler Michael Young nur der Ausgangpunkt für eine spannende Selbstfindung.
Ich selbst habe das Buch begonnen, ohne überhaupt nur eine Idee vom Inhalt zu haben. Und das war in meinem Fall ein genialer Zufall... Denn eigentlich wollte ich Er ist wieder da lesen. Da das aber bald günstiger als Taschenbuchversion zu haben sein müsste, bliebt es vorerst im Warenkorb. Ich wählte stattdessen blind das Buch mit den meisten Rezensionen eines Autors aus, der oft im Zusammenhang mit meinen Lieblingsautoren genannt wird. Stephen Fry. Da ich die Inhaltangabe gar nicht erst angeschaut hatte, war ich dann doch stark überrascht, als Frys Geschichte sich nach und nach als ziehmlich genau das Gegenteil von "Er ist wieder da" entpuppte.
am 27. August 2010
Dieses Buch von Stephen Fry ist eins dieser Bücher, die man auch den letzten Seiten immer langsamer ließt um das Ende noch hinauszuzögern.
Die Handlung allein ist, auch wenn es sich hier um Science Fiction handelt, ein Meisterwerk der Fatasie welche gleichzeitig durch die enge Verknüpfung zu historischen Tatsachen sehr real wirkt. Sprachlich gesehen finde ich 'making history' einfach nur genial (entgegen einiger negativen Stimmen zu der deutschen Version). Ich kann nur empfehlen das Buch auf english zu lesen denn es lebt quasi von den oftmals witzigen Unterschieden zwischen anglizismen und amerikanismen und den eingeschobenen deutschen Wörtern. Ich kann mir ehrlich gesagt nicht vorstellen, wie man dieses Buch auf deutsch übersetzen kann, und gleichzeitig den Sinn beibehält.
Ich würde dieses Buch jedem empfehlen, auch wenn er nicht wie ich Geschichte studiert. Fantasie, Witz, Ernst, Spannung, Liebe, all das hat dieses 'Meisterwerk' (-Leser werden diese Anspielung verstehen ;)) zu bieten.
am 7. Februar 2001
"Vorwärts in die Vergangenheit" hätte der Titel in Anlehnung an den Film "Zurück in die Zukunft" auch lauten können. Jedermann weiß seitdem, was passiert, wenn man das "Raum-Zeit-Kontinuuum" stört. Fry konterkariert Richard Harris "Fatherland" in ironischer Brechung. Was wäre passiert, wenn es Hitler nie gegeben hätte und was könnte man tun, um zu verhindern, dass es ihn gegeben hat? Stephen Fry beantwortet diese Frage in für ihn typischer ironischer Weise in einer virtuosen Kombination von Campusliteratur, historischem Roman und Science Fiction. Wie bereits in "The Liar" gelingt es ihm, die einzelnen Genres ohne Brüche ineinander zu verschmelzen und zu einem unterhaltsamen Leseerlebnis zu machen.
am 22. November 2012
Imagine Cambridge. Imagine a history student, Mike Young, writing his thesis about Adolf Hitler - how it began - not the political career, his life. Imagine a physics professor, Zuckermann, jewish by name and upbringing but in truth the guilt-ridden son of Nazi criminal...
Lots of potential there, right? Fry uses that potential brilliantly and writes an entertaining, funny book about "what if".
What if the intimate knowledge of a historian and the brilliant invention of a time machine by a determined physicist result in preventing Adolf Hitler from ever being born?
Three possible outcomes:
Everything is better.
Everything is much the same.
Everything is worse.
Well, the first two would make a boring story, wouldn't they?
So we learn, that Adolf Hitler wasn't born on a lonely island, isolated without any contact to any other person... suprise! We learn that however grotesque his existence might be perceived today, he was more than "the Führer" - he interacted... and his sole existence might have prevented a greater evil than the havoc he wreaked himself...
This is a great read, without the "raised finger" of "I told you so".... you could replace Hitler with any "prominent historical figure" and create the same story - it's not only one person that's making history, it's very much as well the circumstances (here the econimcal crisis in Europe and the lack of a strong leader in Germany uniting the split parties) that enable the rise and fall of ideas and people - and it's very much their ability to disguise true feelings / ideas, their so-called diplomatic abilities, that will determine the amount of evil they might produce (in secret or not so secretly).
There are a few "random" additional threads in the story that might have a feel of sidetracking from the main topic - like Mike entertaining the idea, that he might actually be gay. Sort of pointless, I first thought, but basically just one thing in the new world Mike and Zuckermann created, that's worse than before - and that's been punishible in the Third Reich. Homosexuality is illegal - and one of the first things Mike finds out waking up in "his" new world and meeting friends of "his" old world who were openly gay... I know it bothered previous reviewers, but it didn't bother me, because these small sidetracks of the story did have a meaning, if small, and actually are not overly distracting.
am 2. August 2011
A couple of years ago I read 'Geschichte machen' because I knew Mr. Fry from 'Blackadder', a show he appeared in with Rowan Atkinson, Hugh Laurie et al. Thought I might read that book again, this time in English. Wondered how the puns worked in the original and if it would be as thrilling as in German. It certainly was. Sometimes at least. To be honest, I was happy to reach the end finally. Some passages were a rather tedious read after all, like a work-through instead of a walk-through. Don't get me wrong here, please, it is a good book alright, but as I was on it the second time around I was able to concentrate on style, subtle aspects and deeper meanings of it all because I knew what the content was all about. The first time you read it it's a great show. The second you read it maybe the flaws are highlighted, I don't know..
Part I of 'Making History' sets the reader alongside a history student and a scientist who manage to find a way to make Hitler undone, meaning thwarting his birth in 1899. The second part of the book lets the reader know what this enterprise entails and puts forth another historical dimension which, of course, has vast implications in the present state of affairs. Some things are the same, but mostly, the world is a different place altogether. Adolf Hitler is done away with, yes, but...
I found the ideas not only funny, but also intriguing cuz it deals with a sad chapter in world history. It covers what is quite often a taboo-subject nowadays. And it does so in a funny AND intriguing way. I appreciate Fry's fabulous sense of humour - to be found in the somewhat ironic turns of the (hi)story. I do recommend you read it. At least once. It's worth your time. You will enjoy some hearty laughs for sure.
am 2. Juli 2000
Stephen Fry's third novel is an interesting and amusing (though not as frightening as he would have it seem) re-imagining of what would have happened had Hitler never been born. Twenty-four-year-old Cambridge University history scholar Michael Young has a penchant for the type of fictional embellishing that Edmund Morris was guilty of in his recent memoir of Ronald Reagan. But unlike Morris (and Reagan himself, to some extent) Young really is a fictional character. He still has to pay the price for his creative scholarship (his thesis is rejected by his advisor), but it is this imaginative sense that bears him up for the journey back in time to sterilize Hitler's father before the evil seed is ever planted.
I recommend that people read MAKING HISTORY after Fry's two earlier and more scintillating novels, THE LIAR and THE HIPPOPOTAMUS. The heaviness of the subject matter here is slightly out of Fry's hitting zone and I would hate to have anyone put off perhaps the funniest intellectual writer alive today. That said, this is a fine book in its own right and contains an excellent understanding of academic life (at both Cambridge and Princeton) and human nature. Special points, too, for an opening chapter that ranks among the most screamingly funny in Fry's oeuvre--what would you do if you woke up late for class and only had decaf in the house?
As an avid Stephen Fry fan I was in no way displeased with this book, I just know that he has done better work--most recently with the sensational autobiography, MOAB IS MY WASHPOT. MAKING HISTORY is not a book for science fiction connoisseurs, but definitely an ambitious, well-imagined work of literary merit. You'll be surprised how much you laugh.