Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Review: Fire and Steel Vol. 4: The Proud Shall Stumble by Gerald N. Lund

Fire and Steel Volume 4
The Proud Shall Stumble by Gerald N. Lund

Book Description:

It's a truth that has stood for centuries: pride goeth before the fall. And Germany, emboldened by an increasingly popular dynamo, is becoming proud.

Across the ocean in America, people have been enjoying years of plenty since the Great War. Electricity in every home, shiny new automobiles lining the streets, roaring new music, shocking new clothing styles—a whole nation wanting nothing more than to let loose and get rich. But beneath the glittering surface, the economy's foundation has already begun to crumble.

On opposite sides of the world, the Eckhardt and Westland families are as caught up in the fast-paced times as anyone else, and they find their personal lives deeply affected by the shocking events occurring on a global scale. Though they all seek to follow a wise path, the way becomes hazy when powerful forces aim to cloud their judgment. Will they be able to recognize the darkness before they sink further into it? More dark days lie ahead, and the families stand to lose everything if they don't cling to the light.

Join the Eckhardts and Westlands in this fourth volume of master storyteller Gerald N. Lund's gripping tale of war, family and the fight for what's right.

Rorie's Review:

I know I've read at least one book in this series, but I can't remember if I've read all three previous to this one. Thankfully, that doesn't really matter too much to be able to follow the story. I have enjoyed Gerald Lund's books ever since The Work and the Glory came out, so I always jump at the chance to read his new books. Not only is he a good story-teller, but I learn so much more about history than I ever would have otherwise.

This book takes place in-between WWI and WWII, switching back and forth between the Eckhardts in Germany and the Westlands in the United States. I have to say that the timeline at each chapter heading was a bit distracting. Most of the time I didn't even read it, and just continued on to the story.

It was fascinating to learn about Hitler and how he began his rise to power. I can see how people were taken in by him. He was such a smooth-talker and very persuasive. It is easy to see why so many people followed him but at the same time it's bewildering - probably because I can look back and see what a psychotic person he was. It's scary to read his words and see how many people blindly followed them. I was shocked to read how many people cheered and agreed with Hitler when he was taking about how the Aryan people were so superior to everyone else. I mean, I definitely knew he felt that way, but to see how many others did too just boggles my mind. I know there are still people today that feel that way, but I just can't understand how anyone can think they're better than someone else just because of their race.
Parts of the book dragged on a bit, especially when they were going over the intricacies of stocks. Even though that part did drag on, I feel it was necessary to help explain why and how the Depression started.
I really enjoyed reading about the Westland family, and want to go back and read the earlier books so I can find out what happened with Frank - that's something I don't remember at all from what I have read. This story definitely left a lot of room for future books in the series, so I can't wait for them to come out.

Andrea's Review:

As a teenager I loved reading The Work & The Glory series by Gerald N. Lund, so when the opportunity came to read his latest novel, The Proud Shall Stumble, I was really excited (even though I hadn't read the prior three volumes in this series). I didn't really feel like I'd missed important details from the other books in the series, but I'm sure I could have appreciated the characters a lot more knowing their backstory.

It took me awhile to get used to the book being divided up into times sections (i.e. a date and time at a certain location). Initially it felt like a timeline instead of a story, but as it went on and I grew to know the characters it drew me in more. It was a bit jarring jumping from the guts of the chaos Hitler created in Germany in 1923 in his attempt to rise to power to a family in Monticello, Utah. The characters were connected though, and it was interesting reading about the feelings of the characters (both in Germany and in Utah) that seemed like good, sane, people who felt like Hitler was a good guy. Hindsight is 20/20, but I have wondered how so many people were taken in by the mad-man. The book shed some light on that.

The book started in Germany, and I was a little surprised that so much of the end was about the Westland family from Utah instead of the people surrounding Hitler. But, I learned quite a bit, and the notes at the end of the chapters were great to be able to tell fact from fiction.

Title: The Proud Shall Stumble
Author: Gerald N. Lund
Publisher: Deseret Book
Published: May 2017
ISBN: 1629723169
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for honest reviews.

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