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The Plot Against America: A Novel Hardcover – Oct 5 2004


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; None edition (Oct. 5 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618509283
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618509287
  • Product Dimensions: 3.3 x 15.9 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 544 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #589,161 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Willmont-Jones on Oct. 7 2004
Format: Hardcover
While I haven't read everything Roth has written, I'm familiar enough with his work to note that this book is off the beaten path, even for him. If you read the premise and were turned off, don't be. This kind of material in anyone else's hands would be a disaster, but masterbuilder Roth does wonders with it. Basically he creates an alternate world, one in which Lindbergh is president in 1940. Using Lindbergh's anti-Semitism, Roth builds a scenario that is frightening and at the same time, eye-opening. Funny at times, and not without the human touch, this is one you'll want to read.
Would also recommend another book, different with equally entertaining, titled BARK OF THE DOGWOOD. Funny and disturbing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By S.T.Waller on March 3 2005
Format: Hardcover
As a long-time lover of Philip Roth's books, I was a little surprised to find he'd written a book of political allegory. That's because there's a passage in I MARRIED A COMMUNIST that discusses and crystallizes in my mind the idea that art and politics are in opposition. So I bought the book and read it to find out what the deal was and though I enjoyed it, I do not think it is Roth's best. As for the politic overhang and how it relates to modern events, I take Roth at face value that this book is not a commentary on the Bush administration. I was up in the air on this point up until the end when Roth just makes the entire Lindbergh mess disappear with an off- handed, bizarre, Weekly World News like plotline. It's impossible to read the mind of the artist, but maybe he did this because he realized at the end that this book was less about what happens to a country when its plunged into chaos and more about what happens to people and families, the characters in a book, when they face their own personal chaos. That's where the heart of the book is, in the characters. I think the author knew that. Most of the political threads end in an off-handed way. Sandy, with all his Just Folks venom, fades when he discovers girls. Aunt Evelyn and the Rabbi leave when Mr. Roth makes them and though the Rabbi makes a play for revenge, he doesn't follow through. This goes on, from Alvin to Walter Winchell to Philip's uncle to the friend who leaves for Canada and on. The political conflicts are dropped one by one with minimal explanation or enlightenment. At the end, Roth saves enlightenment for the characters, mostly Philip, his mother and Seldon. Philip's mother becomes the hero.Read more ›
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By Oliver TOP 500 REVIEWER on Jan. 6 2008
Format: Paperback
The premise of this book is unusual, and did not appeal to me before I read the book. Roth invents an alternate history where Charles Lindbergh is elected President of the United States in 1940, defeating FDR. Roth then retells what is presumably his own life story, beginning when he was a seven year old Jewish boy living in New Jersey. Needless to say, things do not go well. President Lindbergh cozies up to the Nazis, the United States withdraws support from England in World War II, and, most importantly for the story, Jews are persecuted here in the United States.

This book is not just an idle story, or at least not in my view. It is a cautionary tale about what can happen, and how easy it is for a society to turn to the dark side. Of course, it is fiction, so it does not prove anything, but the fact that the story seems so plausible makes it very scary indeed. Given my personal views, I felt a bit like I was reading about the Bush administration!

Finally, whatever you may think of the odd premise, the book is well-written and fun to read. I highly recommend it.

p.s. I stole the title for my review from the New York Times review, but it is absolutely accurate.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Craobh Rua on Aug. 12 2008
Format: Paperback
Charles Lindbergh is best known as the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic. However, he was also a noted isolationist and, prior to Japan's attack on Pearl Harbour, opposed any American involvement in the Second World War. Following the conviction of a German immigrant, Bruno Hauptmann, for the murder of Charles Jr, the Lindbergh family spend some time abroad, and become regular visitors to Germany in the late 1930s. Lindbergh refers to Hitler as "undoubtedly a great man", and receives the Service Cross of the German Eagle in 1938 from Hermann Goring. He continues to defend Nazi Germany after the invasions of Czechoslovakia and Poland and - in a speech in Des Moines, in September 1941 - identifies "the Jewish race" as one of the most influential groups in pushing America towards war. These groups are looking to enter the war, Lindbergh claims, "for reasons which are not American".

In real life, of course, Lindbergh's views made no real difference. America declared war on Japan, Germany and Italy after the attack on Pearl Harbour and, having once been a revered hero, Lindbergh fell rapidly from grace. He and his wife were widely viewed with distrust and even hostility - Charles was unwelcome in the Air Corps and work, for a time, work proved difficult to come by. However, things work out differently in "The Plot Against America" - which is probably best described as an alternate history book. In it, Roth imagines what his life might have been like if Lindbergh had stood for - and won - the American Presidency. However, rather than following the people in power, it imagines how Lindbergh's policies might have affected the Roth family.
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