Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse - by Vicente Blasco Ibáñez

US/UK Kindle Classic
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse is 1917 bestselling novel by Vicente Blasco Ibáñez.  (US Edition)  (£1.54 UK Edition)  Unfortunately, the Kindle edition is not free in the UK, but I think it is an appealing title.  Students of film will know the movie version of this book made Valentino a star. 

It is a real problem finding free titles for the UK Kindle – so you are lucky I usually do that work for you! 

The story moves across continents and from the late 1800’s through WWI. (Note to Americans, this is not a book about Notre Dame football!)  

I liked this Amazon reader review:

"This book depicts in great detail a way of life that is so changed from the present that it might as well be science fiction. The story begins in South America and moves to France and both places are described in loving detail. The father had first left Europe to avoid serving in the military and he returns, unknowingly, in time for his son to become involved in World War I. The description of the changing opinions and moods in Paris were fascinating. How many times have people thought a war would be over in a matter of weeks? The insight into pre World War I Germany was very educational. Many of the characteristics that I had assumed arose with the Nazis prior to WWII were clearly present much earlier. This book should not be missed by anyone interested in history or human nature."

So, let's take a look at this novel: 
When Desnoyers [our young Argentinean hero] entered into the smoking room in order to take the seat which Bertha had reserved for him, her husband and his wealthy hangers-on had their pack of cards lying idle upon the green felt. Herr Rath was continuing his discourse and his listeners, taking their cigars from their mouths, were emitting grunts of approbation. The arrival of Julio provoked a general smile of amiability. Here was France coming to fraternize with them. They knew that his father was French, and that fact made him as welcome as though he came in direct line from the palace of the Quai d'Orsay, representing the highest diplomacy of the Republic. The craze for proselyting made them all promptly concede to him unlimited importance.

"We," continued the Counsellor looking fixedly at Desnoyers as if he were expecting a solemn declaration from him, "we wish to live on good terms with France."
During the sea voyage, you will learn a lot about the politics of the time.  I trust it will be painless and an enjoyable voyage!  We know what it foreshadows.

"No, there will not be war," he repeated as he continued pacing up and down the garden. "These people are beside themselves. How could a war possibly break out in these days?" . . .
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