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‘In The Plot Against America Roth precisely described the sinister and chilling nightmare in which the United States now finds itself America has not read enough of Philip Roth’ Bernard Henri Lévy When the renowned aviation hero and rabid isolationist Charles A Lindbergh defeats Franklin Roosevelt by a landslide in the 1940 presidential election fear invades every Jewish household in America Not only has Lindbergh publicly blamed the Jews for pushing America towards a pointless war with Nazi Germany but upon taking office as the 33rd president of the United States he negotiates a cordial 'understanding' with Adolf Hitler guaranteeing peaceful relations between the two nationsWhat then follows is the alternative America of this startling counterfactual novel by Philip Roth who recounts what it was like for his Newark family during the menacingly anti Semitic years of the Lindbergh presidency Jewish families are shaken violently apart whilst America is oblivious to its own dark metamorphosis‘Many passages in The Plot Against America echo feelings voiced today by vulnerable Americans – immigrants and minorities as alarmed by Trump’s election as the Jews of Newark are frightened by Lindbergh’s’ New YorkerONE OF THE GUARDIAN'S 100 BEST BOOKS OF THE 21st CENTURY‘In The Plot Against America Roth precisely described the sinister and chilling nightmare in which the United States now finds itself America has not read enough of Philip Roth’ Bernard Henri Lévy When the renowned aviation hero and rabid isolationist Charles A Lindbergh defeats Franklin Roosevelt by a landslide in the 1940 presidential election fear invades every Jewish household in America Not only has Lindbergh publicly blamed the Jews for pushing America towards a pointless war with Nazi Germany but upon taking office as the 33rd president of the United States he negotiates a cordial 'understanding' with Adolf Hitler guaranteeing peaceful relations between the two nationsWhat then follows is the alternative America of this startling counterfactual novel by Philip Roth who recounts what it was like for his Newark family during the menacingly anti Semitic years of the Lindbergh presidency Jewish families are shaken violently apart whilst America is oblivious to its own dark metamorphosis‘Many passages in The Plot Against America echo feelings voiced today by vulnerable Americans – immigrants and minorities as alarmed by Trump’s election as the Jews of Newark are frightened by Lindbergh’s’ New YorkerONE OF THE GUARDIAN'S 100 BEST BOOKS OF THE 21st CENTURY‘In The Plot Against America Roth precisely described the sinister and chilling nightmare in which the United States now finds itself America has not read enough of Philip Roth’ Bernard Henri Lévy When the renowned aviation hero and rabid isolationist Charles A Lindbergh defeats Franklin Roosevelt by a landslide in the 1940 presidential election fear invades every Jewish household in America Not only has Lindbergh publicly blamed the Jews for pushing America towards a pointless war with Nazi Germany but upon taking office as the 33rd president of the United States he negotiates a cordial 'understanding' with Adolf Hitler guaranteeing peaceful relations between the two nationsWhat then follows is the alternative America of this startling counterfactual novel by Philip Roth who recounts what it was like for his Newark family during the menacingly anti Semitic years of the Lindbergh presidency Jewish families are shaken violently apart whilst America is oblivious to its own dark metamorphosis‘Many passages in The Plot Against America echo feelings voiced today by vulnerable Americans – immigrants and minorities as alarmed by Trump’s election as the Jews of Newark are frightened by Lindbergh’s’ New YorkerONE OF THE GUARDIAN'S 100 BEST BOOKS OF THE 21st CENTURY


4 thoughts on “The Plot Against America

  1. says:

    This is an astonishing book written by an author whose works I have been meaning to read for some time For me it is a classic American novel which provides as much to think about as 'To Kill a Mockingbird' and 'The Grapes of Wrath'It is a counter factual novel which conducts a thought experiment looking at what would happen if the United States of America had elected the aviation expert celebrity and renowned anti Semitic Charles Lindbergh in 1940 This aspect of fiction is set amongst all the factual events that led up to and followed this election Lindbergh of course was the famous aircraft pilot who flew the Spirit of St Louis from America to France and was the pioneer of modern aircraft travel It discusses the story of the kidnapping of his son and his voluntary exile to Europe where he becomes aware and interested in the rise of National Socialism in Germany Following his election upon which theories as to why this happened are discussed towards the end of the novel America sees a slow build up of anti Semitism across the country starting with minor indignities which the protagonist family experience on a trip to Washington DC to full blown pogroms and massacresRoth's main characters are himself and his own family He places them all at the centre of the story and we see the events through the seven year old Roth himself This gives us a fascinating insight once again just as Harper Lee gives us through the eyes of Scout Finch into how ordinary families people and children can have their lives affected influenced and turned upside down by the decisions of those with power and authority We are shown in great detail how this ordinary Jewish family and most notably the father are turned from being people who embrace American life and culture and who fully feel American and celebrate being American to feeling outsiders in their own country We see how a totally unualified man can become President on the strength of his celebrity and his method of appealing to the general public's xenophobic fears Reading this in the build up to the Trump Clinton election provides an unnerving context that Roth could not have foreseen in 2004 when this book was writtenThis book is a wonderful thought provoking read and while it clearly has its disturbing scenes it is not without moments that are touching and humorous You sense that it will become relevant as years go by as humanity continues to embark on its journey to self destruct It belongs on the list of those books that all should read at some point in their lives Never has there been a better time to do so


  2. says:

    There was extensive coverage of the death a few weeks ago of Philip Roth who was widely feted as one of the greatest American novelists of his generation Nearly twenty years ago I read and enjoyed I Married a Communist but had struggled to finish any of his other books Since his death I have read books from either end of his lengthy career Portnoy’s Complaint his first major success and now The Plot Against America one of his last novelsI found Portnoy’s Complaint utterly unappealing and frankly embarrassing one of the most distasteful and disappointing books I have read The Plot Against America is cut from entirely different cloth – an assured and imaginative novel from an established writer still completely in command of his powers It also has a particularly strong poignancy just nowThe novel offers an alternative history in which in 1940 having experienced the extremes of the huge success of his first solo flight across the Atlantic and then the tragedy of the kidnap and then death of his infant son celebrity aviator Charles Lindbergh enters domestic politics Having already raised eyebrows by his apparent praise for Adolf Hitler’s rise to power in Germany he makes a series of injudicious comments that are increasingly anti Semitic in nature As the Republican Party struggles to find a candidate who could feasibly stand against the incumbent President Roosevelt Lindbergh enters the fray and romps away with the nomination While the electorate looks on in disbelief his campaign on an American isolationist platform at a time when Roosevelt was clearly veering towards entering the war in Europe starts to gain traction Come November in a devastating turnaround he wins the PresidencyThis is all recounted through the eyes of Roth himself who was seven years old in 1940 and living in a Jewish community in New Jersey As Lindbergh reveals his own anti Semitism and then advances in the opinion polls the community grows increasingly alarmed yet still can’t believe that he could possibly win Roth captures the growing disbelief and paranoia very acutelyOf course there are strong parallels between the rise of Lindbergh an ‘amateur’ politician with no experience in government offering divisive and isolationist policies and ‘stealing’ an election against what appeared to be a better experienced ‘insider’ from the establishment and the election of Donald Trump It also reminded me closely of Sinclair Lewis’s eually prescient 1935 novel It Can’t Happen HereIts resonances were not however restricted to America The British Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn has been riven over the last few months by constant allegations of anti Semitism and counter claims that these are backed by pro Zionist factions within the party Of course there is a certain irony that in Roth’s book anti Semitism is seen as the province of the Right while in Britain at the moment it is so much of an issue with the LeftBut back to Roth’s book While I found it interesting and clever I just couldn’t make myself like it It was certainly better than Portnoy’s Complaint well for one thing I didn’t feel I needed to take a cleansing shower after reading it but somehow it just didn’t uite appeal to me


  3. says:

    Its a book that is rich and diverse in its language as you would expect from Philip Roth and it gives incredible insight into thedichotomies faced by the American people with the prospect of another War in Europe In my opinion it is a book that should be acompulsory read in any syllabus covering the Second World War or politics in general because although it is a work of fiction it demonstrates in anenlightened way how different racial types react to what is happening in the World Whether you would want your daughter orson fighting abroad for a cause that you had no direct connection with Why should our children get involved? And yet how canwe watch while people are being slaughtered in other countries because of their religious beliefs as we do today with Muslims abroad being killed unbelievably by Buddhists Is the World going mad? But then are we the Worlds policemen? Do we have that right? or should we get involved and make the personal commitment of our children's lives because fundamentally genocide is heinous? A thorny tomegenocide is wrong wherever and whenever it occurs? A thorny book


  4. says:

    I have never before left a poor review but this was awful and a total waste of time and money Throughout the book absolutely nothing happens yet a very ordinary sentence leads to 4 5 pages of description that have nothing to do with anything This happens constantly Almost the entire book is describing background buildings and names About 10% is a story I get about setting a scene and background but this is just not there The book ending tells a tale that could have genuinely been a terrific story but is told in only newspaper flashes The main characters are dull and do not actually do a single thing or have a single story worthy thing happen to them 110