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The plot against America : [a novel] by…
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The plot against America : [a novel] (original 2004; edition 2004)

by Philip Roth

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,803191786 (3.73)431
Roth creates a mesmerizing alternate world as well, in which Charles A. Lindbergh defeats FDR in the 1940 presidential election, and Philip, his parents and his brother weather the storm in Newark, N.J. Incorporating Lindbergh's actual radio address in which he accused the British and the Jews of trying to force America into a foreign war, Roth builds an eerily logical narrative that shows how isolationists in and out of government, emboldened by Lindbergh's blatant anti-Semitism (he invites von Rippentrop to the White House, etc.), enact new laws and create an atmosphere of religious hatred that culminates in nationwide pogroms.… (more)
Member:NicoletteMarie
Title:The plot against America : [a novel]
Authors:Philip Roth
Info:Boston : Houghton Mifflin Co., 2004
Collections:Your library
Rating:
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Work details

The Plot against America by Philip Roth (2004)

  1. 100
    The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon (ljbwell)
    ljbwell: Alternate history based in the US where WWII has had a different outcome.
  2. 71
    Fatherland by Robert Harris (bertilak)
  3. 62
    The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick (ateolf)
  4. 41
    It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis (TLCrawford)
    TLCrawford: Similar plot written by a winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature at a time when it could, in fact, have happened here. Lewis' wife, journalist Dorthy Thompson was stationed in Berlin during Hitler's early years.
  5. 30
    Farthing by Jo Walton (wisemetis)
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    Maus I: A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History by Art Spiegelman (bertilak)
  7. 00
    K by Daniel Easterman (Anonymous user)
  8. 33
    The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (TeeKay)
  9. 01
    The Book of Daniel by E. L. Doctorow (whirled)
  10. 04
    American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War On America by Chris Hedges (bertilak)
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» See also 431 mentions

English (165)  French (9)  Dutch (5)  Swedish (2)  Danish (2)  German (2)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Portuguese (1)  Catalan (1)  Hebrew (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (191)
Showing 1-5 of 165 (next | show all)
I read this book years ago when it was first published, but thought I would reread it in light of our current situation This is an alternative history in which Charles Lindbergh defeats Franklin Roosevelt and becomes president in 1940. He immediately enters into a pact with Hitler (and soon after with Japan), so that the United States will not enter WW II. Soon, encouraged by Lindbergh's government, anti-Semitism is overt, government-approved, and everywhere.

Despite covering these big issues though, this is also a family story, the story of a Jewish boy named Philip Roth growing up in Newark at this time. He is growing up in a poisonous atmosphere, but he also has many of the normal experiences you might expect for a young boy. The family tries to live their normal lives in an extraordinary time. I have to wonder how much, if any, of the familial stories and relationships are autobiographical.

So while at times this is a sweet coming of age story, it is also a vivid reimagining of what might have been, and a terrifying look at how quickly and easily America could go so wrong. And it is all the more tragic because of how prescient the book was regarding our present circumstances.

Highly recommended.

4 stars ( )
  arubabookwoman | Aug 23, 2020 |
It took me almost an entire month to get through this but after two DNF’s, it was worth it. A densely detailed, wonderful, scarily-accurate dystopian masterpiece. ( )
  tuf25995 | Aug 23, 2020 |
A paranoid dystopian fantasy; reads with the ease of a comic book. As always with Roth, it has some fabulous writing and insights, and an uncompromising honesty and lack of sentimentality. In fact, sometimes I wish he would compromise. It's hard to hold an object that's all cutting edge. That's why his best book remains the ones that leave some ambiguity, some room for the bafflement of the heart -- American Pastoral. ( )
  oatleyr | Aug 22, 2020 |
I first read this book fifteen years ago, and enjoyed and admired it. But the central premise -- that a Nazi sympathizer like Lindbergh could become President -- seemed improbable. Rereading it now, that premise looks frightening less far-fetched. When Roth writes about Lindbergh's effect on the crowds, the parallel to our own political situation rings strong and deep. That only strengthens a compelling novel, which is at least as interesting on the human level as in grand historical terms. Why not five stars? The ending seems somewhat muddled, both historically and in novelistic terms, but it's a great read nonetheless. ( )
  annbury | Aug 16, 2020 |
An enjoyable read as Roth theorises what might have happened had America kept out of WW2, and elected a Fascist sympathiser in place of Roosevelt. I find it difficult to understand the "it couldn't have happened here" comments that so often accompany this book. Those who believe that clearly have understood neither history, nor men's hearts. The US treatment of Japanese during the period described shows how those perceived as enemies were in fact treated, and Roth's description of the persecution of the Jews does not exceed that directed at the Japanese. All that would be required to encourage such persecution would be the belief by some in authority (not even a majority) that the Jews were a threat. Clearly that is not beyond the realm of possibility. It is true that the final chapters do stretch credulity - but more because Roth tries to 'undo' the plot to make it fit into modern America. For me, at least, the narrative would be even more powerful if the threads had been left to unravel. Other than that, you do feel as though Roth was really there, and the events he describes are true. This is one of the few modern works of fiction that has an accessible depth. Whether you agree the plot is credible or not, you are forced into thinking about what would stop it 'happening here'. That alone makes the book well worthwhile. ( )
  mark_read | Aug 13, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 165 (next | show all)
Philip Roth has written a terrific political novel, though in a style his readers might never have predicted — a fable of an alternative universe, in which America has gone fascist and ordinary life has been flattened under a steamroller of national politics and mass hatreds.
added by danielx | editNew York Times, Paul Berman (Dec 29, 2014)
 
Young Philip's greatest epiphany is to recognise the difference between history as taught in school - harmless and inevitable - and history as it's lived through, "the relentless unforeseen". His novel is a different kind of history again, an imagined past which, if we learn from it, might save us from a calamitous future. It's not Roth's funniest novel (and there's hardly any sex). But in its sweep and chutzpah, it ranks with his great trilogy of the late-90s. Isn't it time they gave him the Nobel?
added by danielx | editThe Guardian, Blake Morrison (Jan 1, 2004)
 
Philip Roth's huge, inflammatory, painfully moving new novel draws upon a persistent theme in American life: "It can't happen here." That's how we express our longing to believe that our ideals are too strong to be shoved aside by some cruder impulse, and our nagging fear that our democracy is too fragile to withstand assault by the muscle of fascism...
 

» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Roth, Philipprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kooman, KoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Línek, JosefTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mantovani, VincenzoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Silver, RonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zwart, JannekeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Fear presides over these memories, a perpetual fear.
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Et je n'avais jamais aussi bien compris à quel point la vanité éhontée des imbéciles peut faire le malheur d'autrui.
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Roth creates a mesmerizing alternate world as well, in which Charles A. Lindbergh defeats FDR in the 1940 presidential election, and Philip, his parents and his brother weather the storm in Newark, N.J. Incorporating Lindbergh's actual radio address in which he accused the British and the Jews of trying to force America into a foreign war, Roth builds an eerily logical narrative that shows how isolationists in and out of government, emboldened by Lindbergh's blatant anti-Semitism (he invites von Rippentrop to the White House, etc.), enact new laws and create an atmosphere of religious hatred that culminates in nationwide pogroms.

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