- Explore more great deals on thousands of titles in our Deals in Books store.
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 mobile phone number.
The Plot Against America: A Novel Hardcover – Bargain Price, October 5, 2004
|New from||Used from|
Four girls on a trip to Paris suddenly find themselves in a high-stakes game of Truth or Dare that spirals out of control. Learn More
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Special Offers and Product Promotions
The Plot Against America explores a wholly imagined thesis and sees it through to the end: Charles A. Lindbergh defeats FDR for the Presidency in 1940. Lindbergh, the "Lone Eagle," captured the country's imagination by his solo Atlantic crossing in 1927 in the monoplane, Spirit of St. Louis, then had the country's sympathy upon the kidnapping and murder of his young son. He was a true American hero: brave, modest, handsome, a patriot. According to some reliable sources, he was also a rabid isolationist, Nazi sympathizer, and a crypto-fascist. It is these latter attributes of Lindbergh that inform the novel.
The story is framed in Roth's own family history: the family flat in Weequahic, the neighbors, his parents, Bess and Herman, his brother, Sandy and seven-year-old Philip. Jewishness is always the scrim through which Roth examines American contemporary culture. His detractors say that he sees persecution everywhere, that he is vigilant in "Keeping faith with the certainty of Jewish travail"; his less severe critics might cavil about his portrayal of Jewish mothers and his sexual obsession, but generally give him good marks, and his fans read every word he writes and heap honors upon him. This novel will engage and satisfy every camp.
"Fear presides over these memories, a perpetual fear. Of course, no childhood is without its terrors, yet I wonder if I would have been a less frightened boy if Lindbergh hadn't been president or if I hadn't been the offspring of Jews." This is the opening paragraph of the book, which sets the stage and tone for all that follows. Fear is palpable throughout; fear of things both real and imagined. A central event of the novel is the relocation effort made through the Office of American Absorption, a government program whereby Jews would be placed, family by family, across the nation, thereby breaking up their neighborhoods--ghettos--and removing them from each other and from any kind of ethnic solidarity. The impact this edict has on Philip and all around him is horrific and life-changing. Throughout the novel, Roth interweaves historical names such as Walter Winchell, who tries to run against Lindbergh. The twist at the end is more than surprising--it is positively ingenious.
Roth has written a magnificent novel, arguably his best work in a long time. It is tempting to equate his scenario with current events, but resist, resist. Of course it is a cautionary tale, but, beyond that, it is a contribution to American letters by a man working at the top of his powers. --Valerie Ryan
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Top Customer Reviews
The story line is rather simple. Taking on the genre of alternate history (with which he shares with no small amount of irony at least some creative DNA with Newt Gingrich), Roth imagines a United States in which Charles Lindbergh storms the deadlocked 1940 Republican Convention, upsets Wendell Wilkie for the nomination, then barnstorms the nation in a novel election campaign that ousts FDR from the White House. Vote for Lindbergh or Vote for War serves as the victorious campaign slogan. Slowly, but inexorably, U.S. isolationist policy grows stronger after it signs a non aggression pact with Germany and Japan. Britain grows weaker, and Lindbergh's cabinet and the Republican congress enact a series of laws that cause no small bit of consternation in America's Jewish community.
So far, there is nothing about the story line that is at all unusual in the alternate history genre. However, Roth writes his story through the eyes of one Phil Roth, youngest child of the Roth family of the Wequahic section of Newark. This alone sets The Plot apart from what is typically found in this genre. Roth's examination of the lives of big events through the eyes of a `little' man creates a subcontext that is rife with meaning for anyone who has experienced the joys and despairs of a family in crisis.Read more ›
The story is told in a pseudo-autobiographical style through the eyes of young Philip Roth growing up in Newark, New Jersey during the time of the second world war. However, as the author points out early on, the fact that we know our history does not mean that our history is inevitable. In this story, pre-war isolationism finds an active political candidate in popular hero Charles Lindbergh, who wins the 1940 Republican presidential nomination and defeats Franklin Roosevelt in the general election. The new administration embarks on an isolationist foreign policy that culminates in secret accords with Germany and Japan that allow America to sidestep involvement in the war. The administration also begins a series of domestic policies that target the Jewish population for what is benignly called cultural absorbtion but may in fact be the harbinger of a domestic genocide. We see these things through the eyes of young Philip and his family, who try to separate suspicion and fear from paranoia as they sense their country turning against them.
The advancing menace and its impact on the family is well-portrayed.Read more ›
But, second, this latest work is his most accessible and thickly plotted novel to date, and--in spite of the forceful political theme--it is also perhaps his mellowest work of fiction. Although the prose is identifiably Roth's, the narrative is a real page-turner merged with a loving family portrait.
Thanks to the media hoopla, the novel's storyline is already well-known: the book posits a United States where, in 1940, Charles Lindbergh becomes president. Roth scores a subtle political and historical point here: the reader soon realizes that President Lindbergh himself never expresses overtly anti-Semitic remarks or actions. Instead, the true threats to American democracy are the men Lindbergh chooses for his bipartisan government, including Democrat Burton Wheeler (as Vice President) and the virulently anti-Semitic Henry Ford (as Secretary of the Interior). Furthermore, remaining true to a policy of "American First" isolation (a view Lindbergh steadfastly supported in real life), the new administration negotiates a nonaggression pact with the German Nazi government, develops faith-based programs to "integrate" Jewish residents into American society (with the ostensibly secondary goal of separating them from each other), and maintains an aura of serenity and acquiescence in the face of a rising tide of domestic anti-Semitism.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The book had such a bad opinion of Charles when in truth he and FDR had very similar political viewsPublished 3 days ago by Mike R.
Recommended, no, REQUIRED reading for anyone who is contemplating voting for Donald Trump. Yes, America, it CAN happen here. Read morePublished 3 days ago by martha
Roth's thesis in this novel is that, based on the isolationism of the 1930s and early 1940s, Charles Lindbergh could have won the presidential election in 1940. Read morePublished 14 days ago by Richard H. Elfers
Very well written, fascinating alternate history novel about a Lindberg presidency in 1941 and its impact on America. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Publius
Philip Roth is one of America's most overrated authors. His best books were Goodbye Columbus and Portnoy's Complaint, a long time ago and a pioneer venture into Jewish paranoia. Read morePublished 1 month ago by N. Ravitch