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Thread: The Plot Against America, by Philip Roth

  1. #1
    running amok Sancho's Avatar
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    The Plot Against America, by Philip Roth

    So I bought this book at Strand Books in Manhattan. The Strand is one of those great old independent book stores that continues to thrive while the chain stores keep going out of business. For me itís like a casino - I walk in there and then many hours later I walk out and wonder what happened to the time. One thing Strand Books does well is pick out interesting books to put on their tables on the street level floor, books that may be years old but are somehow of current interest.

    This book is an alternate history where after FDRís second term he is defeated by Charles Lindbergh for the presidency. Lindbergh runs on an America First platform of keeping the United States out of WWII. ďVote for Lindbergh or vote for warĒ Lindbergh is sympathetic to the Nazis and blames the British and moneyed Jews for trying to drag America into the another European war.

    Iíve read other alternate histories. Itís an interesting genre, sometimes thought provoking, sometimes fun, sometimes just weird. (The Yiddish Policemenís Union falls into all those categories). But this book is the first Alternative History that scared the bejesus out of me. It seems like it really could have happened that way. And maybe, just maybe, somehow, over in D.C. there was a glitch a few years back and we are all now living in an alternate history.

    Has anybody here read this book?
    Some people call me Maurice
    'Cos I speak of the pompatus of love

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    I haven't read this particular novel, but I have read and greatly admired other works by Philip Roth. Since yours fooly is old enough to realize that her opinion isn't worth -- to quote Rick in Casablanca-- "a hill of beans in this crazy world," allow me to say that I'd wished the Nobel Committee had honored one of the best American writers of the Twentieth Century.

    Coincidentally, I heartily recommend that any NitLetters who might be HBO subscribers take a look at the 6-part Limited Series version of The Plot Against America. It goes without saying that the source material as well as the adaptation are superb, with excellent period details of 1940s era New Jersey and DC. (There are some dialogue slipups, such as verbal anachronisms, but as far as I can tell, they are few in number.)

    What is most striking to me are the stark parallels between Roth's vision of a broken America and what we're experiencing in these "uncertain./challenging/troubling" times.

    My "bitter half" comments, "Oh, you like everything on TV," which may be partially true, but this particular miniseries is top-notch.
    Last edited by AuntShecky; 05-09-2020 at 02:51 PM.

  3. #3
    running amok Sancho's Avatar
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    Hear-hear

    I haven’t watched the mini series yet, but it’s on the list for when I find some spare time - like if we were to go under some sort of national lock-down or something. Anyhow I did binge on “The Man In The High Castle” on Amazon Prime a while back. It a little hit-and-miss in my humble opinion.
    Some people call me Maurice
    'Cos I speak of the pompatus of love

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    Ecurb Ecurb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AuntShecky View Post
    I haven't read this particular novel, but I have read and greatly admired other works by Philip Roth. Since yours fooly is old enough to realize that her opinion isn't worth -- to quote Rick in Casablanca-- "a hill of beans in this crazy world," allow me to say that I'd wished the Nobel Committee had honored one of the best American writers of the Twentieth Century.

    .
    When Roth lost out in his last chance to be honored by the Nobel committee, he was asked, "What do you think of Bob Dylan winning the Nobel Prize for literature?"

    "Oh, I have nothing against the decision," deadpanned Roth. "Except I thought it should have gone to Peter, Paul and Mary."
    Last edited by Ecurb; 05-10-2020 at 08:42 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ecurb View Post
    When Roth lost out in his last chance to be honored by the Nobel committee, he was asked, "What do you think of Bob Dylan winning the Nobel Prize for literature?"

    "Oh, I have nothing against the decision," deadpanned Roth. "Except I thought it should have gone to Peter, Paul and Mary."
    I like him even more now.

    Speaking of funny lines, I'm no fan of Jacqueline Susann, but I loved her quip about Portnoy's Complaint when she was Johnny Carson's guest on The Tonight Show. She said, "Philip Roth is a good writer, but I wouldn't want to shake hands with him."


    It was undoubtedly before your time, but yer Auntie's so old she heard it live!

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