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on March 4, 2017
Since it was written in a time when the English was somewhat different in America, the reader must adjust
to the way Lewis wrote the book. However, old-timey sayings aside, this is an incredible piece of fiction.
It Can't Happen Here parallels what an American regime, like that of Adolph Hitler's in Germany would
be like as it unfolded. The main character is a small town newspaper editor, who enjoys his life and the
way things have gone in his town and state, for much of his life. Doremus Jessup, the main character, is
even able to convince himself to stay out of the way of an administration that becomes more and more
authoritative and dictatorial. Unfortunately, things develop rapidly around the country and the regime's
bad deeds end up in Doremus' town and he's no longer able to ignore it.

The ease at which this turns from a cozy and sleepy small town to outright war on any critical voice is
quite drastic. There is tension and unease sprinkled here and there, but the reality hits Doremus and
when it does, he starts to act in any way he can. The country is virtually a loss and men like Doremus,
who just wanted to enjoy what they had accomplished in life and not become overly political, became
the ones that begin the resistance. I'll say no more, so nothing is given away.

I read this book over two days time and could not put it down. This is quite simply one of the most remarkable
and prescient books I have read in years. I highly recommend this as a Political Science expert and policy
analyst. Thanks to my view of the world, this book was both chilling and thought provoking.
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on May 6, 2017
What’s wrong with me? I majored in political science in college and grad school. I studied for a PhD, worked in state & local government & taught “American Government” for decades at various colleges in the Baltimore-Washington area. And, I did not read It Can't Happen Here [ICHH] until 2016. Finally, in the storm of the 2016 election, I read this book. Shame on me.

This is a classic fictional novel by American Sinclair Lewis. Published during the rise of fascism [1935], it describes the rise of Berzelius "Buzz" Windrip, a politician who defeats FDR to become US President. Windrip foments fear and promises drastic reforms while promoting a return to patriotism and "traditional" values. [“America First.”]

Windrip takes complete control of the government and imposes totalitarian rule with the help of a ruthless paramilitary force, similar to Hitler’s SS. The novel's plot centers on journalist Doremus Jessup's opposition to the new regime and his subsequent struggle against it. [The Press vs. President]

Some have emphasized a connection with Louisiana politician Huey Long, who was preparing to run for president in the 1936 election when he was assassinated in 1935 just prior to the novel's publication. Over the years, ICHH has been compared to FDR’s internment camps, Nixon’s Watergate affair, and even the 2016 Donald Trump campaign. Following the 2016 US presidential election, sales of ICHH surged significantly as it made various bestseller lists. And now that #45 is 100+ days into his term, it still resonates loudly.

President Windrip outlaws dissent, puts political enemies in concentration camps, and trains and arms a paramilitary force called the Minute Men, who carry out his wishes. One of his first acts is to eliminate the influence of the United States Congress. In addition, his administration curtails women's and minority rights, and eliminates individual states by subdividing the country into administrative sectors.

Early in the story, Doremus states: “”Yes, I agree it’s a serious time. With all the discontent there is in the country to wash him into office, Sen. Windrip has got an excellent chance to be elected President…. And, if he is, probably his gang of buzzards will get us into some war, just to grease their insane vanity and show the world we’re the huskiest nation going.” Is this 1935 or 2017 – fiction or fact; “alternative facts” or today’s headlines?

PLEASE read or re-read this classic. You can decide for yourself whether it is prescient or relevant or just another political novel. It will not be a waste of your time.
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on November 18, 2016
I read this leading up to the 2016 election. I'm not looking to get into a political argument with anyone, but my motivation in reading this book was to see how a demagogue could take power in the United States. After finishing the book, I would best describe my mood as sullen. The story was good, and Lewis did a nice job of putting me into the moment. I would recommend this book to others.
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on January 29, 2017
Many people seem to buy 1984 because of the recent manipulation of language / see alternative facts but I find Sinclair Lewis' book much more frightening. I read it many yeaars ago and have just given my copy to one of my children, but I want to read it again. Not that I expect it to give me any pleasure / it is truly disturbing and frightening. That's why everybody should read it.
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on February 15, 2018
Excellent and timely read. Though set during the Depression, Lewis paints a picture that is prescient and important for what we are living through today. Sinclair Lewis won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1930 and he is one of my favorite authors. All of his writing is empassioned and clear eyed, and he is reminicent of Dickens in his greatness. This, like Arrowsmith, Babbitt, Dodsworth, Elmer Gantry, and especially Main Street remain excellent and important inspirations for us even now!
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on January 26, 2017
Spoiler alert: It can.
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on January 11, 2018
This was a very entertaining read. The linguistic style of the early thirties made it a little hard to read at times, but the nature of the message was so clear and engaging that it was difficult at times to put down the kindle. It Can't Happen Here reads at times, almost like a script of recent events, particularly election year 2016. Buzz Windrip's campaign to the "forgotten men", and the promise of $5000 per year per household parallel the "forgotten no more" and tax reform for the middle class of President Donald Trump. In the end, the average majority pay the price for the benefit of the very few elite, and a Facist dictatorship triumphs for the long term. This book is a must read for every liberty loving American.
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on January 27, 2018
I certainly agree with other reviews that this is not the easiest book to read but once you get into it, it is hard to put down. And this definitely should be required reading for our elected officials. However, I think many of them are too ignorant to understand the implications which is really too bad. Don't sit idly by, Americans, because this can happen here.
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on January 28, 2017
I first read this 50 years ago, it is more relevant today
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on April 22, 2018
This is an important book but not a very good one. It reads like a 1960’s political thriller by Eugene Burdick or Fletcher Knebel et al, but isn’t particularly well written even by their standards. Lewis’ portrait of Vermont in the ‘30s, even though he lived there for a while, isn’t particularly recognizable except through the eyes of an urban literary guy trying to imagine what rural workingmen think like. I don’t believe that “it can’t happen here” – especially in the Age of Trump – but if it does, it won’t happen this way. The demagogue who takes over telegraphs his destruction of the Constitution in a pre-election series of written promises – and somehow the national media, big city papers, all of Congress, the Supreme Court, and 48 State governments (all of which he will abolish or consolidate) just roll over and say “Okay.” Admittedly, displaced Depression era workers might be co-opted into joining a militia of Brown Shirts, but their complete takeover of the government is basically a Wayne LaPierre Pipe Dream that enough Americans would resist to make it a far more protracted struggle. I didn’t believe a word of it. Even “Seven Days in May” – a ‘60s era thriller about a military coup is a better read, and slightly more plausible.
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