This book has a brilliant premise. What if FDR was not elected to an unprecedented third term? What if the President elect was Charles Lindbergh, an overwhelmingly popular figure, who was also an isolationist and admirer of Hitler?
The book has an overwhelming feeling of oppression and doom, which is undoubtedly the authors intention. The story is not told from a broad prospective, but from the eyes of a nine year old Philip Roth, the authors potential other self. This device gives one a view of history not from a world wide story, but rather from the way history can impact a very small part of the world.
Many parallels can be drawn between this alternate history, and much of what has happened with the past 2 Presidential elections, with the division between Red & Blue states. Clearly using the divisions of pre WW II and the divisions going on today was one of the authors intentions. A provocative view of what if, that is an eye opening parable for people who shake many things off, saying it could never happen here.
The ending of the book at times felt rushed, and an absolution of certain of the power players in the story, however I recommend this book very highly.
Read this book for class, but am sooo glad I did. Until the ending, the writing was fast-paced, breathtaking, frightening, and entangling. Living in a very Jewish area, the premise was intensely horrifying, and although the end was an epic disappointment, the middle more than makes up for it.
Appeals to a wider audience than the traditional Roth readers. Interesting what-if historical fiction. It led to stimulating and interesting discussions --- about Philip Roth, Lindbergh, Winchell, the era, anti-Semitism, and more --- in my book discussion group.
The book drew me in right away. There was a point about 3/4 of the way through where it seemed a bit contrived, but I forgave Roth because I could not stop talking about the premise. The underlying facts were well-researched, and the alternate political reality was believable enough to be scarier than anything by Stephen King.
Philip Roth is one of America's most reknowned writers. This imaginative novel describes the US Philip Roth grew up in, within a Jewish household. There is one major twist, Charles Lindbergh defeats Roosevelt in the 1940 presidential election by a landslide. Hilter is tolerated, and anti-semitic views grow in this fictional, yet believable scenario.
Intriguing premise of what the US would have been like had Lindburgh been elected president in 1940. The reader has to get past thinking of the actual historical events and read the book like the work of fiction it is. Excellant read.
Not an easy read (nothing by Roth is an easy read), but most is extremely pertinent to the overall story line. This is an intense re-creation of history, but not unbelievable, and the narrator's voice (a child) is extremely authentic.
Alternate history novel. While fiction it incorporates many real characters and (of course) real events. It is riveting! Presents thought-provoking options regarding how events could have unfolded in the America of early 1940's. There is a sense of suspense and tension as the alternative-ness of the events are presented. Do not be surprised if you come away from this novel with an emotional reaction and desire to re-read history of the period. As with most Philip Roth books there is alot of introspection regarding jewish american life.
I can see why it was a NY Times Book Review Best Book of the Year! It's powerful and frightening to think of this happening. This is a fictionalized account of Lindbergh defeating FDR in the 1940 presidential election and, with his isolationist bent, refusing to enter WWII, instead siding with Hitler. It's a tale of what happens when the chips fall one by one... Recommended!
I love books like this, historical fiction, because despite the plot being fictional, the facts are accurate. I learned a lot, and this book stayed with me long after I was done reading, asking myself, what if....It takes a bit of patience to get into (beginning is slow) but well worth it.
Charles Lindbergh becomes president and decides that the US needs to stay out of WWII. That's the jumping off point for this book and it is nothing but predictable. Roth is a master of language and eliciting feeling in his story. Fantastic book.
I enjoyed this speculative fiction novel... the premise of FDR losing his third term is an interesting one. The narrator (also named Phillip Roth) was rather charming, but the style of the book as a whole - chronological to an extent, with phrases were completely too far ahead - was a little annoying at times, and overall, the book didn't seem to go far enough... the Lindbergh years seemed erased by the happy ending, lending an implausible aspect to the book. Still, it was certainly an interesting read.
This is absolutely one of my favorite books of all time. The 'historical' fiction storytelling is truly engrossing and scary. It really feels like a plausible dark alternate universe. I could not put it down. I would highly recommend this book.
The book was an interesting take on a very turbulent era in history. Though I liked the idea of the book, I think I liked the idea more than the actual story. The story was sort of predictable and slow moving at times. Though I must say that the author does a good job of creating and maintaining interesting and beleivable characters. For me, this book was okay but a bit like trudging through mud at times.
Read it, liked it, recommend it to others. This Roth book is a fast paced book of alternative history that lets others see what could have happened to America if Hitler had become influential in our government. The story is told by a young Jewish boy incorporating his day to day life in a close nit Jewish family living in his neighborhood in the early 1940's with the approach of a world war looming above all things important to him.
An excellent book with sobering parallels with what we're going through politically today. Roth paints a frightening picture of what could have happened if Charles Lindbergh, a notorious anti-Semite and admirer of Adolf Hitler, had won the Presidency in 1940 (he never actually ran, of course, but some Republicans had asked him to run). The book is all from the perspective of a fictional version of young Philip Roth, and the author leads you into their lives very well. My only quibble is he seems to be in a hurry at the end, and events start happening one right after another, when the build-up has been full of detail and emotional depth. Yet, I'm satisfied after putting it down, and he provides as nice collection of bios of the historical figures and what really happened to them, which helps put it all in perspective. Enjoy!
A Book Club selection...lots of discussion....entered political arena. Hard to separate fact from fiction in the beginning. Very well written. Did not like quick change of writing style near the end. STUNNING last paragraph!
What would America be like if Charles Lindbergh had been elected president? Very interesting twist on history. Lots of detail pertaining to Lindbergh. I wasn't sure what was true and what was fiction but the postscript helped quite a bit. This was a slow read, particularly at the beginning but I was drawn into the story as it progressed.
What if Charles Lindbergh had been elected President instead of FDR? Lindbergh was an isolationist and anti-semitic who was a fan of Hitler's themes. This intriguing twist on history will keep you up for several nights.
I was really excited about this book, I thought that the topic would be extremely interesting but the book dragged for me. The end was good but the rest of it I felt like I was forcing myself through to see if it got better... except for the last line it didn't.
If this book had been written in the past couple of years, I would think that it was a transparent metaphor for the most alarmist fears in the current US political climate, and dismiss it as such.
But the fact that it was written like 15 years ago makes the similarities striking (and a little scary). I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone who doesn't understand how the anxiety that many people are feeling right now.
Plus it's an interesting and engaging story.