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Our Gang

3.4  ·  Rating Details ·  914 Ratings  ·  89 Reviews
A ferocious political satire in the great tradition, Our Gang is Philip Roth’s brilliantly indignant response to the phenomenon of Richard M. Nixon.

In the character of Trick E. Dixon, Roth shows us a man who outdoes the severest cynic, a peace-loving Quaker and believer in the sanctity of human life who doesn’t have a problem with killing unarmed women and children in self
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Paperback, 224 pages
Published May 29th 2001 by Vintage (first published 1971)
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TK421
Dec 16, 2010 TK421 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literary
Okay, I've had some time to think about this book. I know political satires are a dime-a-dozen, but this one works.

Here are my thoughts:

Even though it was written almost 40 years ago, and about a president that was less than decorous, I think it still has much clout concerning politics and politicians today. (That's both side of the aisle for those wondering.) We've seen how inadequate our elected officials are and, worse, just how incompetent they can be.

I think that was the point of this nov
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Lee Foust
Jun 09, 2013 Lee Foust rated it really liked it
Living in an era of the non scandal--whitewater to Benghazi--while the real scandals go unnoticed--how many hundreds of William Calleys have gone unseen, un-prosecuted, and ignored in Iraq or Afghanistan? How come Clinton's cigar-placement is a scandal but his sending bombers to devastate civilian populations in Europe in order to halt the genocide of other civilian populations is presented to us as a just and even leftist (once they were called doves--another endangered species) strategy? So, a ...more
Michael
Feb 27, 2013 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It helps to know about (or remember) the administration of Richard M. Nixon to laugh out loud as I did while reading Roth's great satire, but it's not necessary. Our Gang certainly satirized Nixon (as well as Spiro Agnew, several Democrats, and a cadre of famous news reporters and commentators), but far beyond that, it satirizes cynical political opportunism that uses rhetoric that sounds reasonable to twist reason into unrecognized train-wreckage, no matter the time or place.

The book opens with
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Jim Leckband
Mar 22, 2011 Jim Leckband rated it it was amazing
The first thought I had when I was going to read this book, was that it would be like watching someone shoot fish in a barrel. Sure, the guy can hit a lot of fish, but there ain't much going on in strategy or how it is going to end.

That is NOT how the book ended up. The book's main satirical target isn't Richard Nixon - rather it is a send-up of how language is used for political ends - and how masters of this utility (like Nixon or "Dixon" in the book) can get so far. The main thing that you se
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Aaron
Sep 11, 2008 Aaron rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Our Gang is probably one of the two most underrated books in Roth’s bibliography. A fake play of political satire, it is also a window into the writing career Roth could have had. Now mostly a novelist, Roth started his career as a writer of short stories, nonfiction, and political satire (he was first noticed by “The New Republic” when he wrote a parody transcript of an Eisenhower press conference), and he continued to shadow his novels with this type of writing throughout the 60’s and 70’s. Mo ...more
Jay
Roth starts with something like a Firesign Theater political satire ("Man, you broke the president") and ratchets it up a few grade levels. This really felt like a Firesign Theater radio play, with the names used and the pacing. It's just a bit too long for their kind of audio, and a bit too repetitive. Roth did really get down the mannerisms, the verbiage, and maybe the thought processes behind Nixon, err Dixon. Very good for going down memory lane in a satirical way. I'm not so sure it works w ...more
Ruth
Nov 13, 2016 Ruth rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Albert Kadmon
Dec 12, 2016 Albert Kadmon rated it liked it
La portadilla no se queda corta, una sátira a la altura de Swift. "Tricky sufre una crisis, o Conferencia de los Cerebrines" es maravilloso e hilarante (y no sufre los efectos del paso del tiempo; lo mismo sucede con muchos presidentes). Creo que el traductor comete un error al ahorrarse notas al pie de página, es un librillo muy pequeño y servirían para hacerlo más serio.
James
Jan 18, 2017 James rated it really liked it
Shelves: satire, fiction
I read this book as it began to sink in that Nixon was going to win re-election no matter how strongly I as a 15 year old high school sophomore felt. It had me positively rolling with laughter.
Ellie
Feb 03, 2017 Ellie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-modern
rarely has there been a more accurate assessment of what government is capable of. Time to re-read this satire. You will find surprisingly similar events occurring in 2017.
Dacod
Oct 22, 2016 Dacod rated it it was amazing
A hilarious look at political language, conspiracy, and hyperbole.
RK Byers
Feb 03, 2017 RK Byers rated it it was amazing
was cruising to maybe a 4 until Trick E. Dixon got to Hell and ran for the office of Satan.
Fino
I read this book today and to be honest, it was terrifying. Yes, Tricky Dick is long in the grave (and apparently trying to usurp Satan if we believe Roth), but the scenario of the book is so close to the insanity of Drumpf that it made me want to scream. Whether it was the horrifying week in Washington with the ever-insistent attacks on democratic process even before taking office or his public speeches (or his fucking tweets), everything about Drumpf is present in Roth's Tricky B. Dixon in spa ...more
Alan
May 18, 2008 Alan rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Thomases Pynchon and Robbins
Recommended to Alan by: the dollar rack
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Adri Villegas
Richard Nixon pasó a la historia por ser el único presidente de Estados Unidos, hasta ahora, en dimitir a su cargo como consecuencia del escándalo de Watergate. Las numerosas películas sobre el tema lo muestran como un personaje oscuro, enredador, con muchos secretos para esconder y un rabo de paja inmenso.

Lo que Philip Roth hace en estos 6 textos satíricos que fueron publicados parcialmente en The New York of Review en 1971 es revelar la clase de político que es Nixon, antes de que ocurriera el
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Timothy Cole
How do you rate a top-notch author who writes from his vehement, political heart? While the style is creative, humorous, and digging, it's hard to get past the bullying.
We all know who it's about, and the storyline is deserved, but is it within the concept of creative writing?
We all know Roth's penchant for satire, and we have all experienced his brilliant capture of our inner thoughts, the laying of them on the dissecting table, and his driving, personal need to exonerate some Freudian guilt th
...more
Lori Summers
I didn’t know what to expect from this book. I knew it was Roth’s diatribe against Nixon, I knew it was satirical, I knew it was political. What I didn’t know was that it would turn out to be one of the most enjoyable of all my reads so far as part of The Roth Project. I didn’t know what a shift in tone it would be, how hilariously on-the-nose it would be, how intentionally ridiculous and how sharply written.

Roth concocts a scenario of a President, Tricky E. Dixon, who comes out in favor of the
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Michael Austin
Oct 06, 2012 Michael Austin rated it really liked it
Roth has written a number of brilliant political novels, such as Operation Shylock (1993) I Married a Communist (1998) and The Plot against America (2004). But none of them hit my funny bone like this gem of a book published during the first Nixon administration. Before the Watergate break- in even happened, Roth created a brilliant satire of Nixon’s essential duplicity.
This is not really a novel. It is more like six separate satiric shorts featuring the American President Tricky Dixon (who has
...more
Mariano Hortal
"Nuestra pandilla" de Philip Roth es una sátira despiadada del gobierno de Richard Nixon y de toda su "pandilla" o políticos que estaban al lado de él en esa época. Y tiene para todos: el periodismo ( hay periodistas con nombres tan gráficos como lameculos, osado, cójame-en-contradicción, cacho-bruto), el FBI ("Es lo que decimos los del FBI: no me hagas preguntas y no te contaré mentiras"), el propio pureblo americano ("nunca he perdido mi fé en la maravillosa indiferencia en el pueblo norteamer ...more
Justin Evans
Oct 07, 2011 Justin Evans rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
Meh- I was really looking forward to this, but it feels a bit throw away New Journalism. This isn't so much political satire as satire on one particular politician and the stupidities of modern media. As such, it's a great idea. And Roth is uncannily good at imitating the vocabulary of Nixon and the aforementioned stupid modern media. The trick is that he's almost too good at it: Portnoy's Complaint, it turns out, is pleasurable because the rants are in Roth's voice. When you get Roth's ability ...more
Chris
Mar 06, 2016 Chris rated it really liked it
I only began to appreciate Roth's prose in this work after watching many of Nixon's speeches. It takes a master to transpose the cadence and idiosyncrasies of rhetoric that made Nixon's (Safire's?) discourse so unique. To be able to shift from a dialogue that precisely dips between some of Nixon's choice phrases like "Let me be perfectly clear," and "Incidentally, in that connection," to the ability to capture the rhetoric of various mid-century television personalities, Eric Sevareid being most ...more
Elliot Ratzman
Jul 24, 2011 Elliot Ratzman rated it liked it
How long does political satire hold up before it becomes stale? Reading Philip Roth’s 1971 spoof on (pre-Watergate, pre-Roe v Wade) Richard Nixon is a chore today, but I’m sure it was downright hilarious during the height of the 60s anti-war protests. Compared to the loathsome political discourse of today, Nixon’s policies, besides Vietnam etc., seem relatively moderate and liberal. Roth’s “Trick E. Dixon” is worried about his ratings, the Boy Scouts protesting his “pro-fornication” policies and ...more
Michael
Jun 18, 2009 Michael rated it it was amazing
This marvelous book chronicles the abuse of language. Readers familiar with Orwell's "Politics and the English Language," or with the liberal critique of Richard Nixon ("I don't think we can clearly nail Nixon as a liar," a Democrat congressional staffer once remarked, " although he undoubtedly is one in this instance, as in all others.") will laugh long and loud as "Tricky Dixon" employs every imaginable form of sly, slippery innuendo... against Boy Scouts, Denmark, and likely 1972 opponent"Ted ...more
Evyn Charles
Mar 23, 2009 Evyn Charles rated it it was ok
I have loved pretty much everything from this writer so far (but not this book...)
It was written at the time of Richard Nixon's presidency and the main character is "Trick E. Dixon," an obvious caricature. References are also made to numerous real politicians--some using real names, and other famous figures using spoof names like John F. Charisma (a.k.a. John F. Kennedy). The book shows a demented Tricky devolving into greater and greater madness until the last chapter where he actually gives th
...more
Jake
Nov 15, 2012 Jake rated it it was ok
Philip Roth must've quickly learned that his future was not in political satire. There were some passages in Our Gang that did make me chuckle, but there was more sighing and exhaustion at the farcical nature of this narrative that simply could not engage. Maybe not being a product of the times, not having lived through Watergate and the corruption eating away the core of the White House, I simply cannot connect with this novel. It's dated, purely topical and does not resonate to any higher mean ...more
John
Jan 09, 2012 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book, Roth's relentlessly sly and nasty skewering of Richard Nixon, has probably been on my shelves for 25 years (I'm guessing I acquired it cheap at a used book sale sometime during my post-collegiate Roth-reading binge) but I only just got around to it, perhaps because it seemed so different from the early Roth novels I fell in love with long ago. And it is different, but my God it's hilarious -- probably second only to Catch-22 as a work of American satire. I hesitate to say too much els ...more
Davide
Apr 25, 2016 Davide rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1951-1975, american
Indignatio facit...

Se non rientrasse nel progetto di ritradurre tutta l'opera di Philip Roth, è altamente improbabile che
questo libro sarebbe stato ripescato.
Troppo legato direttamente alla storia americana di quegli anni (è del 1971): è una satira frontale, aggressiva contro il presidente Richard M. Nixon, qui ribattezzato Trick E. Dixon, Tricky... E visto che Trick significa trucco, imbroglio, inganno, raggiro, frode abbiamo già capito prima di iniziare a leggere dove Roth intende colpire.
Non
...more
Russio
Oct 26, 2015 Russio rated it really liked it
Very funny, freewheeling satire, in the tradition of Swift (and not a little unlike Hunter S T too). A not so fictional President concocts a lunatic policy and then pushes it through unexpected opposition to a surprising end point. Abandon all hope of realism (although the ironies that abound are only too real). The third chapter is a real zenith, as the collective minds seek to apportion blame for the way that things have gone wrong.

A very funny character assassination in slow motion, and a qui
...more
Pino Sabatelli
“La nostra gang” è stata pubblicata nel 1971 ed è sostanzialmente una invettiva nei confronti dell’allora presidente americano Richard M. Nixon (che qui diventa Trick E. Dixon) che, utilizzando vari registri (dal comizio elettorale, alla radiocronaca, passando per il copione teatrale), vorrebbe mettere in risalto la stupidità, la malvagità e l’assurdità del potere.
Purtroppo i quarant’anni di età si sentono tutti. Innanzitutto i riferimenti sono così assolutamente “americani” e circostanziati da
...more
cheeseblab
Feb 25, 2012 cheeseblab rated it did not like it
Golly. I bow to no one in my contempt for Tricky Dick, and I have no qualms about the lowest of blows against him, but I do require that satire be at least a little clever and/or funny and/or intellectually engaging. Roth must have tossed this off in a weekend--if Portnoy was largely about masturbation, this takes a further step: it is masturbation.

I read this in the second volume of the Library of American edition.
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Philip Milton Roth is an American novelist. He gained early literary fame with the 1959 collection Goodbye, Columbus (winner of 1960's National Book Award), cemented it with his 1969 bestseller Portnoy's Complaint, and has continued to write critically-acclaimed works, many of which feature his fictional alter ego, Nathan Zuckerman. The Zuckerman novels began with The Ghost Writer in 1979, and inc ...more
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“We return you to the Vice President, who is now addressing the National Sword Swallowers Association."

"-the psychotics, the sob sisters, the skin merchants, the saboteurs, the self-styled Sapphos, the self-styled Swinburners, the swine, the satyrs, the schizos, the sodomists, the sissies, the screamers, the screwy, the scum, the self-congratulatory self-congratulators, the sensationalists, the snakes in the grass, the sex fiends, the shiftless, the shines, the shaggy, the sickly, the syphilitic-”
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“Conflicting stories continue to circulate concerning the death of the President. A second White House announcement has now called attention to the President's schedule for the day, pointing out that no mention is made there of dying. Also released was the President's schedule for tomorrow, wherein there also appears to be no plan on the part of the President or his advisers for him to die. "I think it would be best," said the White House Bilge Secretary, "in the light of these schcedules, to wait for a statement, one way or another, from the President himself.” 2 likes
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