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The Man in the High Castle [Kindle Edition]

Philip K. Dick
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (376 customer reviews)

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Book Description

“The single most resonant and carefully imagined book of Dick’s career.” – New York Times

It's America in 1962. Slavery is legal once again. The few Jews who still survive hide under assumed names. In San Francisco, the I Ching is as common as the Yellow Pages. All because some twenty years earlier the United States lost a war—and is now occupied by Nazi Germany and Japan.

This harrowing, Hugo Award-winning novel is the work that established Philip K. Dick as an innovator in science fiction while breaking the barrier between science fiction and the serious novel of ideas. In it Dick offers a haunting vision of history as a nightmare from which it may just be possible to wake.

Winner of the Hugo Award

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Dick's Hugo Award-winning 1962 alternative history considers the question of what would have happened if the Allied Powers had lost WWII. Some 20 years after that loss, the United States and much of the world has now been split between Japan and Germany, the major hegemonic states. But the tension between these two powers is mounting, and this stress is playing out in the western U.S. Through a collection of characters in various states of posing (spies, sellers of falsified goods, others with secret identities), Dick provides an intriguing tale about life and history as it relates to authentic and manufactured reality. Tom Weiner reveals an impressive vocal range that delivers the host of characters with distinct culture, class and gender personas, which helps to sort the various plot strands. His prose reading is engaging, though sometimes lacks sufficient emphasis and energy.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From the Inside Flap

It's America in 1962. Slavery is legal once again. the few Jews who still survive hide under assumed names. In San Francisco the I Ching is as common as the Yellow Pages. All because some 20 years earlier the United States lost a war--and is now occupied jointly by Nazi Germany and Japan.

This harrowing, Hugo Award-winning novel is the work that established Philip K. Dick as an innovator in science fiction while breaking the barrier between science fiction and the serious novel of ideas. In it Dick offers a haunting vision of history as a nightmare from which it may just be possible to awake.

Product Details

  • File Size: 555 KB
  • Print Length: 274 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; Reissue edition (January 24, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005MZN2B2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,913 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
174 of 182 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dick's Masterpiece May 15, 2000
The Man in the High Castle is Dick's masterpiece. Along with VALIS and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, it completes the trilogy of the author's essential works. A must read for Dickheads or for anyone who considers himself a serious fan of science fiction. Dick was clearly influenced by two earlier works of alternative history, Sarban's The Sound of His Horn and C. M. Kornbluth's "Two Dooms". In turn, The Man in the High Castle has influenced any number of later works, not just Norman Spinrad's The Iron Dream and the novels of Harry Turtledove, but Ursula LeGuin's The Lathe of Heaven as well.
This is a very complex, suspenseful novel, consisting of four main plot lines and a host of characters whose lives sometimes interact. Don't expect any slam-bang pyrotechnic action here, despite the novel's provocative premise. It's more a slice of life tale, showing that even after a catastrophic defeat, life in America would go on. Dick is very good at detailing the nuances of life in Axis-ruled America. For example, at one point as an aside, it is pointed out that after the Nazi pograms, the only surviving prewar comedian is Bob Hope, and even he has to broadcast out of Canada. Also, an unintended irony for a novel written in 1962 is Dick's conjecture that if the United States had lost WWII, we would all be listening to Japanese audio equipment and driving German cars now. The author achieves the near impossible feat of actually being even-handed towards the Nazis without glamorizing them. He describes them at one point as Neanderthals in white lab coats, technological geniuses who have drained the Mediterranean and are conquering the Solar System, yet are morally bankrupt.
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116 of 128 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Alternate history...Philip K. Dick style.
What does that mean? Well, basically, if you think that the characters in this book seem a little out of place, keep reading, and you may find YOURSELF out of place.
On the surface, it is the usual time-shifting novel...FDR was assasinated in 1936, and as a result, the United States lost WW II. Twenty years in the future, when the novel takes place, Nazi Germany and the Japanese Empire have occupied the United States and imposed their brand of culture on their respective halves of the American populace.
But this book really isn't about alternate time lines...its about alternate realities. Things are not as they seem...characters' true identities are hidden, and their moralities are tested. It's about the nature of the true state of the universe, Eastern religion, and the I-Ching. When Philip K. Dick is at his best, his characters question their own existence, and it soon follows that the readers do the same.
So when you come to the end of the book, hopefully, a number of things will happen:
Number 1: You'll instantly re-read the ending.
Number 2: You'll throw the book against the wall and exclaim "that's it?"
Number 3: You'll probably re-read the ending again.
Number 4: You'll swear that you'll never read another Philip K. Dick novel.
Number 5: Later, you'll think a bit about the book, and realize that the novel wasn't really about what you thought it was.
Number 6: You'll read it again. And again...
This isn't your typical sci-fi novel. The story doesn't wrap-up into a neat little package. Like Eastern religions, time is not linear, it is circular, and that is the reality of the book.
Alternate histories are so commonplace in sci-fi today, that it is important to look at this book as the one that really started it all. A completely original masterpiece...even the followers can't keep up.
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103 of 114 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Grasshopper Lies Heavy March 8, 2002
Philip K. Dick's masterpiece is one of the classics of the alternative history genre. This was my first Philip K.Dick novel and it's so good that I want to light up a Land-o-Smiles and read everything he's ever written. The characters seem like real people. The story is told through interleaved overlapping stories that revolve around the Nazi and Japanese domination of America after America and the British lost WWII in 1947. It's 1962 and the United States has been divided between the Nazis in the East and the Japanese in the West. America has become a third world country controlled and exploited by the victors. The Japanese are better masters than the Germans. The Germans have turned their part of the world into a living nightmare and are plotting to start a war with the Japanese. The Japanese are quiet and philosophical. The scenes of life in Japanese dominated San Francisco are oddly familiar. Dick has transposed the usual circumstance a visiting American finds in third world countries friendly to the United States: Wealthy foreigners living in exclusive enclaves, fawning local businessmen eager to get the foreign visitor's business, local police dominated and loosely controlled by the foreigners. The I Ching is central to the story, guiding the action of many of the protagonists.
In all an imaginative take on what life could have been like, uniquely flavored by the influence of Eastern Philosophy.
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81 of 92 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A complex book that defies labels! September 4, 2000
By L. Feld
OK, first let's get one thing out of the way - this is a great book, and it's absolutely irrelevant if you label it "science fiction," "alternative history," or whatever. Except for the purposes of book marketing, who cares anyway? The bottom line is that Philip K. Dick was too complex and intelligent a man for his work to be pinned down into any one genre. And who would want it to be?!? On one level, or course, "The Man in the High Castle" is - at least on the surface and on the jacket cover - about an alternative time line in which America loses World War II (with the Nazis taking over East of the Mississippi, the Japanese West of the Rockies, and the middle being a kind of backwater/no-man's land). But what is this book really about? My conclusion after reading the book, as well as many of the reviews here and out there on the web, as well as some stuff about Philip K. Dick, as well as talking to a really smart friend of mine who has read the book many times, is that this book is about several main themes, and can be read on several different levels (as most great works of fiction can be).
Thus, in my opinion "The Man in the High Castle" is about, among other things (in no particular order): 1) the lives of Americans under Japanese occupation; 2) the lives of the Japanese occupiers, and especially their interaction with various Americans - white, black, Jewish; 3) the Japanese-German relationship, and the difference in Japanese and German culture; 4) what is the nature of "reality"?; 5) what is "authentic" and what is "fake"?; 6) what constitutes a moral life?
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Imagining Another Outcome to WWII
This is one of my favorite/awful books! I gave this to a friend's son who also loved it.
Published 2 days ago by Julie A. Smith
4.0 out of 5 stars I’m particularly bored of seeing passages quoted from fictional...
The strength of this novel is in the world-building; a quite believable post-USA in the generation following the Allies' defeat in WWII. Read more
Published 8 days ago by SciFi Kindle
5.0 out of 5 stars 6/6
Excellent book. Great storyline and ideas, played out very well.
Published 16 days ago by Josiah
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
One of PKD's best novels; a thought provoker.
Published 20 days ago by Robert Lombard
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting window in to how the US could have been under a...
This book creates a post-WWII United States society, with the premise that Japan and Germany won the war. Read more
Published 22 days ago by K. Dieng
2.0 out of 5 stars Maybe just a taste I haven't acquired.
It's hard for me to distill a book like this down to "stars". I certainly reacted strongly to it and isn't that the point? Still, the reaction was completely unpleasant. Read more
Published 24 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Do yourself the favor and buy this book.
This is a great book. I really enjoyed it.
Published 27 days ago by Jim vinson
3.0 out of 5 stars Springtime for Hitler and Germany...
Ultimately, this book was rather a disappointment. Set in an alternate history universe in which the Axis Powers defeated the Allies in World War II, The Man in the High Castle is... Read more
Published 1 month ago by M. Buzalka
3.0 out of 5 stars Cobwebs in the corner of any future
Wow, I'm a big fan of the author and was greatly looking forward to reading what, according to many, was his best novel. Don't get me wrong: I liked it. Liked it a lot even. Read more
Published 1 month ago by speaks_volumes
2.0 out of 5 stars Not great
Not impressed with this book at all. It was on a list of 'must read' books that I saw online. The ending was terrible, lots of the plot lines left hanging.
Published 1 month ago by Damian Smith
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Philip K. Dick's New Book
I agree, and what made them notify me? I understand if I bought his books before, but I haven't.
Jan 12, 2012 by Ryan B. |  See all 3 posts
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