The 150-word Review: I’ve been thinking about this book recently. The Plot Against America is a historical fiction that speaks as much about the present as the bizzaro-America Roth imagines. The Plot Against America is a cautionary tale of what can happen if we do not remain wary of our leaders. In our information-saturated world, it’s difficult to delineate the truth from the noise, misdirection, and subterfuge. In this light, Roth’s seemingly preposterous scenario remains frighteningly plausible.
Flying from town to town in the Spirit of St. Louis, Charles Lindbergh, an outspoken isolationist, defeats Roosevelt for the presidency in 1940. Lindbergh soon negotiates a treaty with Adolf Hitler. America becomes a friend of the Nazis. Phillip Roth is a young Jewish boy in a working-class neighborhood in New Jersey. Through his eyes, we witness a slow creep of Antisemitism take hold of the nation, culminating in a riot of oppression, hysteria, and hate.
You will enjoy this book if you are a fan of: anti-fascist jeremiads, larger-than-life events rendered intimately at home, media attack dogs like, Walter Winchell, the forgotten politics of Henry Ford and Charles Lindbergh, cautionary tales.
Clavinism (stuff that will not make you look cool in a bar): Actually Norm, Charles Lindbergh delivered a speech in 1941 titled, “Who Are the War Agitators?,” naming the British, the Jewish people, and the Roosevelt administration as war agitators.