Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
It Can't Happen Here (Signet Classics) Mass Market Paperback – March 1, 2005
|New from||Used from|
Top 20 lists in Books
View the top 20 best sellers of all time, the most reviewed books of all time and some of our editors' favorite picks. Learn more
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
After he becomes elected, he puts the media - at that time, radio and newspapers - under the supervision of the military and slowly begins buying up or closing down media outlets. William Randolph Hearst, the Rupert Murdoch of his times, directs his newspapers to heap unqualified praise upon the president and his policies, and gradually comes to develop a special relationship with the government. The president, taking advantage of an economic crisis, strong-arms Congress into signing blank checks over to the military and passing stringent and possibly unconstitutional laws, e.g. punishing universities when they don't permit military recruiting or are not vociferous enough in their approval of his policies. Eventually, he takes advantage of the crisis to convene military tribunals for civilians, and denounce all of his detractors as unpatriotic and possibly treasonous.
I'll stop here, as I don't want to ruin the story -- I can imagine that you can see where all this is going.
Fascism is here viewed as an implosion of American culture: the weight of mass media, of the desire for security and comfort, and of endemic nationalism caves in at the touch of a charismatic politician. Lewis exposes the weaknesses in our country's foundations; he shows a careful yet precarious balance of society and politics where we otherwise think we are solid. As others have noted, this book preceded the rise of Nazism in Europe. It is a testament to Lewis' grasp of fascism that much of his novel was mirrored in the chaotic climate of 1930's Germany and Italy.
Where the book falters, however, is in some of its more outlandish caricatures of the villains, including orgies, bed-time assassins, and overwrought speeches. Despite the power of these metaphors, they weaken the plausibility of "it can happen here." Nonetheless, this novel serves as an excellent warning against the dangers of cults of personality and of mob mentality. I strongly recommend "It Can't Happen Here" to remind anyone that the freedom of thought should not be taken for granted.
This is a good book to read if you like messages in your fiction - (did you enjoy reading "The Lottery?")
Windrip is the charismatic politician: a great showman, but not comfortable when people use big words. He's swept into office on a tide of revival tent enthusiasm and anti-intellectual popularism. He promises a pot of money for everyone, and (this is the 1930s, remember) promises to put in their place all the right minorities with the strong arm of his loyal followers. Of course people vote for riches for everyone - or at least, everyone who matters.
Then he's in. The loyal followers become a private army, answerable to no one. The nation is redrawn into a network of concentration camps, prisons, labor camps, and terrified citizenry. The bulk of the book documents the incredibly rapid decline into barbarity. Despite the crushing tyrrany, a resistance emerge, and among people who might not have looked very brave. Without giving any spoilers, the end is ambiguous but optimistic.
The first half of the book is pretty much guaranteed to give you that sinking feeling if you've read the news in (or about) the America of Pres. Bush II. The rise of fundamentalist Christians as a political force has a familiar sound to it. So does the the discussion of "... when the hick legislators in certain states ... set up shop as scientific experts and made the whole world laugh itself sick by forbidding the teaching of evolution."
I want this book to be irrelevant. I want people to look at it and ask "what is he talking about? who could believe even the first word of it?" I want its warning to be forgotten by people who no longer need to be warned. The fact is that this 70 year old book still as relevant, familiar, and as urgent as ever. This book still matters - or should.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A classic good read, and one that feels frighteningly prescient. It certainly was in 1935 when it was first written, and seems just as relevant in the 2015 political environment of... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Edward J. Barton
It Can't Happen Here
This 1935 novel by Sinclair Lewis begins in a small town in Vermont which has the differences of classes and people to represent the United States... Read more
This tale of how fascism could easily arise in country like the United States is laugh out loud funny at first. Read morePublished 7 months ago by DJ Arboretum
Even though Lewis was probably a socialist and the main thrust of the book seem to be socialism vs. fascism it still presents an interesting scenario of what could of happened in... Read morePublished 7 months ago by jamie lewis
great read, a little creepy how close this story is to todays realityPublished 17 months ago by oliver gandsey