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Philip Roth (1933–2018)

Author of The Plot Against America

106+ Works 67,971 Members 1,440 Reviews 302 Favorited

About the Author

Philip Milton Roth was born in Newark, New Jersey on March 19, 1933. He attended Rutgers University for one year before transferring to Bucknell University where he completed a B.A. in English with highest honors in 1954. He received an M.A. from the University of Chicago in 1955. His first book, show more Goodbye, Columbus, received the National Book Award in 1960. His other books include Letting Go, When She Was Good, Portnoy's Complaint, My Life as a Man, The Ghostwriter, Zuckerman Unbound, I Married a Communist, The Plot Against America, The Facts, The Anatomy Lesson, Exit Ghost, Deception, Nemesis, Everyman, Indignation, and The Humbling. He won the National Book Critic Circle Awards in 1987 for his novel The Counterlife and in 1992 for his memoir Patrimony: A True Story. He won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction in 1993 for Operation Shylock: A Confession and in 2001 for The Human Stain, the National Book Award in 1995 for Sabbath's Theater, and the Pulitzer Prize in 1998 for American Pastoral. He stopped writing in 2010. He died from congestive heart failure on May 22, 2018 at the age of 85. (Bowker Author Biography) show less


Works by Philip Roth

The Plot Against America (2004) 8,939 copies
American Pastoral (1997) 8,055 copies
Portnoy's Complaint (1967) 7,360 copies
The Human Stain (2000) 6,556 copies
Everyman (1997) 3,725 copies
Sabbath's Theater (1995) 2,314 copies
I Married a Communist (1998) 1,992 copies
Indignation (2008) 1,947 copies
The Ghost Writer (1979) 1,893 copies
Nemesis (2010) 1,638 copies
Exit Ghost (2007) 1,638 copies
The Dying Animal (2001) 1,502 copies
Operation Shylock: A Confession (1993) 1,483 copies
The Counterlife (1986) 1,407 copies
The Humbling (2009) 1,002 copies
The Professor of Desire (1977) 992 copies
The Great American Novel (1973) 960 copies
The Breast (1972) 870 copies
Zuckerman Unbound (1981) 842 copies
Deception (1990) 774 copies
The Anatomy Lesson (1983) 766 copies
My Life as a Man (1970) 755 copies
Our Gang (1971) 747 copies
When She Was Good (1967) 686 copies
Letting Go (1962) 594 copies
The Prague Orgy (1985) 362 copies
Reading Myself and Others (1975) 231 copies
The American Trilogy (2011) 189 copies
Philip Roth at 80: A Celebration (2014) — Contributor — 59 copies
A Philip Roth Reader (1980) 44 copies
Seven Contemporary Short Novels [Third Edition] (1997) — Contributor — 40 copies
Seven Contemporary Short Novels [second edition] (1969) — Contributor — 35 copies
The Human Stain [2000 film] (2004) — Original novel — 27 copies
Writers From the Other Europe (4 Volume Set) (1979) — Editor — 21 copies
New American Review # 1 (1967) 20 copies
Goodbye, Columbus [1969 film] (2004) — Author — 13 copies
The Courter | Defender of the Faith (2010) — Contributor — 3 copies
Las vidas de Zuckerman (1988) 2 copies
His Mistress's Voice (1995) 2 copies
No title 1 copy
2004 1 copy
Upokorzenie (NIKE) (2011) 1 copy
Sokaktaki Adam (2021) 1 copy
Arzu Profesörü (2020) 1 copy
La Leçon d'anatomie (1985) 1 copy
Meme 1 copy
Black Dogs 1 copy
Letting Go, Part 1/2 (1983) 1 copy
Letting Go, Part 2/2 (1983) 1 copy
Libby 1 copy
Novotny's Pain (1980) 1 copy
Romanzi (2018) 1 copy
A Writer at Work (2011) 1 copy
Zbogom, Kolumbo (2004) 1 copy

Associated Works

If This Is a Man (1947) — Afterword, some editions — 6,062 copies
Herzog (1964) — Introduction, some editions — 5,189 copies
The Periodic Table (1975) — Introduction, some editions — 4,020 copies
Laughable Loves (1968) — Introduction, some editions — 2,906 copies
The Best American Short Stories of the Century (2000) — Contributor — 1,561 copies
The Story and Its Writer: An Introduction to Short Fiction (1983) — Contributor — 1,132 copies
Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama (1995) — Contributor, some editions — 915 copies
A Tomb for Boris Davidovich (1978) — General Editor (of series), some editions — 707 copies
The World of the Short Story: A 20th Century Collection (1986) — Contributor — 463 copies
Mendelssohn Is on the Roof (1960) — Afterword, some editions; Preface, some editions — 368 copies
Wonderful Town: New York Stories from The New Yorker (2000) — Contributor — 356 copies
Baseball: A Literary Anthology (2002) — Contributor — 336 copies
The Best of Modern Humor (1983) — Contributor — 292 copies
100 Years of the Best American Short Stories (2015) — Contributor — 285 copies
Life With a Star (1949) — Foreword, some editions — 274 copies
The Treasury of American Short Stories (1981) — Contributor — 269 copies
Great Jewish Short Stories (1963) — Author, some editions — 240 copies
Russell Baker's Book of American Humor (1993) — Contributor — 210 copies
Sixteen Short Novels (1985) — Contributor — 177 copies
Granta 24: Inside Intelligence (1988) — Contributor — 151 copies
Other Men's Daughters (1973) — Introduction, some editions — 134 copies
The Oxford Book of Jewish Stories (1998) — Contributor — 131 copies
The Schocken Book of Contemporary Jewish Fiction (1992) — Contributor — 124 copies
Growing Up Jewish: An Anthology (1970) — Contributor — 121 copies
The Granta Book of the American Long Story (1822) — Contributor — 99 copies
Norton Introduction to the Short Novel (1982) — Contributor — 98 copies
Neurotica: Jewish Writers on Sex (1999) — Contributor — 86 copies
Stories from The New Yorker, 1950 to 1960 (1958) — Contributor — 80 copies
Great Esquire Fiction (1983) — Contributor — 70 copies
The Grim Reader: Writings on Death, Dying, and Living On (1997) — Contributor — 60 copies
Granta 147: 40th Birthday Special (2019) — Contributor — 56 copies
The Jewish Writer (1998) — Contributor — 52 copies
Fifty Best American Short Stories 1915-1965 (1965) — Contributor — 36 copies
Modern Jewish stories (1963) — Contributor — 36 copies
The Good Parts: The Best Erotic Writing in Modern Fiction (2000) — Contributor — 34 copies
Kafkaesque: Stories Inspired by Franz Kafka (2011) — Contributor — 27 copies
Trial and Error: An Oxford Anthology of Legal Stories (1998) — Contributor — 24 copies
Studies in Fiction (1965) — Contributor — 22 copies
Elegy [2008 film] (2009) — Original story — 21 copies
American Pastoral [2016 film] (2016) — Original book — 18 copies
Son of Man: Great Writing About Jesus Christ (2002) — Contributor — 17 copies
The Best American Short Stories 1956 (1956) — Contributor — 17 copies
Indignation [2016 film] (2016) — Original book — 15 copies
Twenty-Nine Stories (1960) — Contributor — 13 copies
The Best American Short Stories 1959 (1959) — Contributor — 13 copies
The Best American Short Stories 1960 (1960) — Contributor — 11 copies
The Playboy Book of Short Stories (1995) — Contributor — 11 copies
Het derde Testament : Joodse verhalen (1995) — Contributor, some editions — 7 copies
Moderne joodse verhalen (1964) — Contributor — 7 copies
Portnoy's Complaint [1972 film] (2015) — Original novel — 4 copies
Haut ab!: Haltungen zur rituellen Beschneidung (2014) — Contributor — 3 copies
American Short Stories (Oxford Literature Resources) (1992) — Contributor — 2 copies
It Can Happen Here (2012) — Contributor — 2 copies
Groot zomerboek (1993) — Contributor — 1 copy
Introduction to Fiction (1974) — Contributor — 1 copy


1001 (262) 1001 books (263) 20th century (823) alternate history (448) America (309) American (1,073) American fiction (468) American literature (1,981) anthology (719) autobiography (442) biography (312) fiction (9,572) first edition (242) historical fiction (298) history (514) Holocaust (959) humor (458) Italian literature (234) Italy (225) Jewish (778) Jews (289) Judaism (235) Library of America (365) literary fiction (268) literature (1,951) memoir (588) narrativa (241) New Jersey (287) non-fiction (641) novel (2,194) Philip Roth (456) read (696) Roman (519) Roth (442) short stories (1,360) to-read (3,276) unread (493) US literature (255) USA (709) WWII (896)

Common Knowledge



Philip Roth in Legacy Libraries (January 2020)
Group Read, November 2016: Portnoy's Complaint in 1001 Books to read before you die (November 2016)
2013 Quarter 1 - Philip Roth in Monthly Author Reads (May 2013)


I agree with the consensus--not too good. Some good sentences though.
k6gst | 45 other reviews | Mar 29, 2024 |
For more reviews and bookish posts visit: https://www.ManOfLaBook.com

American Pastoral by Philip Roth is a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel tackling the American Dream. Mr. Roth is one of the most famous contemporary American writers, earning and reciving multiple national and international awards.

Seymour Irving “Swede” Levov is the son of a successful Jewish businessman lining in 1930s Newark, NJ. Swede has won the genetic lottery in brains, looks, and athleticism. After joining the Marines during World War II, Swede marries Dawn Dwyer, former Miss New Jersey from Elizabeth, NJ.

Swede creates the perfect American life until his daughter, Merry, bombs a post office and kills a man to protest the Vietnam War. Slowly the masks come off and Swede realizes that there is darkness hidden under everyone’s veneer of respectability they project.

This is a slow, thought-provoking book that is worth the effort but difficult to start. Frankly, if I was intimately familiar with the New Jersey scenery I might have had to put it down and read another book before continuing.

After having about a week to think about it, I agree that American Pastoral by Philip Roth is a great American novel. the author has a keen insight into the American Dream, what it masks, and how it so quickly falls apart.

A slow read, but full of discussion about dreams, success, and the layers of truth we hide. The novel is also about America, and the idyllic image presented versus the struggles of everyday life. Mr. Roth peels the layers of a seemingly idyllic American family until the truth comes out and the protagonist realizes they are just as bad, or worse, than everyone else.

One of the reasons the book seems slow is because Philip Roth doesn’t spare the reader the difficult moments, or spoon-feed us what he wants us to get out of this book. We witness the uncomfortable moments, anguish, screaming, and neurotics of the characters.

The big question at the end, for me, was whether or not Swede, the protagonist evolved. Did he become a better human being, or just better at repressing all that has happened, and burying his findings?

The author looks at different aspects of society, and the people living in it, ruminates on them, and then reexamines his findings to shed a new light on them. A different, and cynical, take on America and its promises.
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ZoharLaor | 179 other reviews | Mar 29, 2024 |
Roth tells an excellent story, and his character descriptions and development are top notch. This book however, is a bit on the misogynistic side and borders on racist.
bookonion | 95 other reviews | Mar 10, 2024 |
I was sifting through a box of old books from my shed and found this edition without a cover and missing page 37 (where one of Portnoy's testicles retreats into his body). Nevertheless, I began to read and Phillip Roth rapidly sucked (yes, sucked) me in to this damnable, relentlessly pejorative, monologue of Jewishness. There were many times I felt almost contaminated by the endless guilt, insecurity and Yiddish hatred of non- Jewish goyim, girls or shikses and just wanted it to end or go somewhere else.

But the shikses, ah, the shikses are something else again […] I am so awed that I am in a state of desire beyond a hard-on. My circumcised little dong is simply shriveled up with veneration. Maybe it’s dread. How do they get so gorgeous, so healthy, so blonde? My contempt for what they believe in is more than neutralized by my adoration of the way they look, the way they move and laugh and speak.

Is this why an essentially Jewish Hollywood movie industry fetishized and then spat out the blonde temptress? Is it Jewishness that is responsible for what is seen today as the objectification of women? Portnoy in name (Port Noir) is the black gate to, depravity, guilt, insecurity or what? By culminating in Portnoy's failed attempt to rape a red-headed Jewish/Israeli girl (his monstrous mother) due to lack of an erection, it is as though nothing is resolved. It's an extraordinary diatribe of a book that eventually just peters out (literally in a series of dots) with a weak punchline - exhausted.

The blurb says it is a funny book and I did laugh out- loud a few times:

...my father is a man who has a certain amount of worrying to do each day, and sometimes has to forgo listening to the conversations going on around him in order to fulfill his anxiety requirement. It can well be that he hasn't heard a word that she's been saying.
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simonpockley | 152 other reviews | Feb 25, 2024 |


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