Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Review: The Plot Against America

The Plot Against America by Phillip Roth is a What If? historical novel. The idea is that, instead of FDR, anti-semitic Charles Lindbergh gets elected President in 1940, after running on a strong isolationist platform. It is a good yarn, as well-written as any of Roth's novels.

Politically, the book is particularly interesting because, while the Republicans are the anti-Semitic bad guys and the heroes are the liberal Jewish family of the charming 9-year old narrator (little Phillip Roth), Roth's clear message is that it is wrong for America to turn its back on evil, especially if that evil will then infiltrate America. It seems that the lesson Roth tries to get across is that liberals can be hawks -- and should be to protect the American way of life.

That lesson may come across more clearly in the audio book narrated by Ron Silver. Silver described himself as a “9-11 Democrat” and is a robust hawk in the war on terror.

The Plot Against America is very entertaining, as much for the central story as for the side stories about being a young, Jewish kid in Newark in the 1940s. Worth reading. Or, better yet, listening to, because Silver does an incredible job.


Ross Douthat
Books 'N Border Collies

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