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It Can't Happen Here

by Sinclair Lewis

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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3,354883,879 (3.71)151
First published in 1935, when Americans were still largely oblivious to the rise of Hitler in Europe, this prescient novel tells a cautionary tale about the fragility of democracy and offers an alarming, eerily timeless look at how fascism could take hold in America. Doremus Jessup, a newspaper editor, is dismayed to find that many of the people he knows support presidential candidate Berzelius Windrip. The suspiciously fascist Windrip is offering to save the nation from sex, crime, welfare cheats, and a liberal press. But after Windrip wins the election, dissent soon becomes dangerous for Jessup. Windrip forcibly gains control of Congress and the Supreme Court and, with the aid of his personal paramilitary storm troopers, turns the United States into a totalitarian state.… (more)
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    Lammers: A unique literary and historical view of the fears and uncertainties surrounding the 1936 Presidential election.
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» See also 151 mentions

English (83)  Swedish (1)  German (1)  French (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (87)
Showing 1-5 of 83 (next | show all)
It's easy to see why this 1930s novel was reprinted in 2017, but I didn't find this one as chilling as I was expecting. And I thought it would spend more time on build-up of Buzz Windrip becoming a president than it did—all that happened very quickly very early on. ( )
  queen_ypolita | Mar 30, 2024 |
An interesting alternate history dystopia in which the US turns into a fascist dictatorship in response to the Depression. ( )
  JBarringer | Dec 15, 2023 |
Strange character names, an older style of prose writing doesn’t stop Lewis’ view of the constant flux in world politics to be much different than today. In other words, it CAN happen here ( )
  schoenbc70 | Sep 2, 2023 |
This extraordinary novel from 1935 predicts with uncanny accuracy the American political situation of 2016, and has authentic and frightening warnings. Sinclair Lewis satirizes with biting humor the potential for America to fall to populist demagogues with nothing to say but what people want to hear, and of the terrible consequences of the people's naïvete. A must read. ( )
  jumblejim | Aug 26, 2023 |
A timely book though it was written in 1935. It deals with a presidential election where the President declares martial law and takes everyone's liberties and rights away. He changes the country from states to 8 districts and appoints people loyal to him. Those who object to his authoritarian ways are jailed, put in concentration camps, or killed. Many try to flee to Canada. He, of course, ends up like all dictators, deposed, with another man like him taking over.

I had a bit of a problem getting into this. Once I did, I found it interesting to see how some accepted with happened especially if they ended up in the "ruling" class. Watching others protest showed the power of the people when they stand together, though it was an underground movement. IAs news gets around about what is happening in other parts of the country, I liked how Doremus and his band of rebels get the information out by any means possible. This book shows what could happen if a fascist gets into office and what is lost and how much is lost because he says what the poor want to hear. It also shows what happens when the press is suppressed. When news gets out, it's disseminated to the masses. I found it fascinating how they did it.

This is worth reading and learning from it. ( )
  Sheila1957 | Jun 23, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 83 (next | show all)
“It Can’t Happen Here” is a work of dystopian fantasy, one man’s effort in the 1930s to imagine what it might look like if fascism came to America. At the time, the obvious specter was Adolf Hitler, whose rise to power in Germany provoked fears that men like the Louisiana senator Huey Long or the radio priest Charles Coughlin might accomplish a similar feat in the United States. Today, Lewis’s novel is making a comeback as an analogy for the Age of Trump.
 

» Add other authors (17 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sinclair Lewisprimary authorall editionscalculated
Kennedy, Jay RichardIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Meisel, HansTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Meisel, PerryIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Meyer, Michael LeversonIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scharnhorst, GaryAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schorer, MarkIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The handsome dining room of the Hotel Wessex, with its gilded plaster shields and the mural depicting the Green Mountains, had been reserved for the Ladies' Night Dinner of the Fort Beulah Rotary Club.
Quotations
I am convinced that everything that is worth while in the world has been accomplished by the free, inquiring, critical spirit, and that the preservation of this spirit is more important than any social system whatsoever.
Summarized, the letter explained that he was all against the banks but all for the bankers—except the Jewish bankers, who were to be driven out of finance entirely; that he had thoroughly tested (but unspecified) plans to make all wages very high and the prices of everything produced by these same highly paid workers very low; that he was 100 per cent for Labor, but 100 per cent against all strikes; and that he was in favor of the United States so arming itself, so preparing to produce its own coffee, sugar, perfumes, tweeds, and nickel instead of importing them, that it could defy the World . . . and maybe, if that World was so impertinent as to defy America in turn, Buzz hinted, he might have to take it over and run it properly. (Chapter 7)
And Loveland, teacher of Greek, Latin, and Sanskrit (two lone students), had never till now meddled in any politics of more recent date than A.D. 180. (p. 25)
"...we've got to change our system a lot, maybe even change the whole Constitution...The executive has got to have a freer hand and be able to move quick in an emergency, and not be tied down by a lot of dumb shyster-lawyer congressmen taking months to shoot off their mouths in debate." (p. 30, Senator Windrip)
He used to surprise persons who were about to shake hands with him by suddenly bending their fingers back till they almost broke. (p. 29)
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First published in 1935, when Americans were still largely oblivious to the rise of Hitler in Europe, this prescient novel tells a cautionary tale about the fragility of democracy and offers an alarming, eerily timeless look at how fascism could take hold in America. Doremus Jessup, a newspaper editor, is dismayed to find that many of the people he knows support presidential candidate Berzelius Windrip. The suspiciously fascist Windrip is offering to save the nation from sex, crime, welfare cheats, and a liberal press. But after Windrip wins the election, dissent soon becomes dangerous for Jessup. Windrip forcibly gains control of Congress and the Supreme Court and, with the aid of his personal paramilitary storm troopers, turns the United States into a totalitarian state.

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