Mark's Reviews > It Can't Happen Here

It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis
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Oct 05, 11

Read in May, 2010

Seventy-five years after it was written, Sinclair Lewis' piercing satire shows how populism on the heels of economic distress can be transformed into fascism. Even more interesting is that Lewis wrote this before the Nazi and Stalinist nightmares were played out, but somehow the book foresees their methods. The characters, including the aging small town newspaper editor, are never allowed to become cliches or caricatures. Instead, Lewis is able to balance witty satire with a compelling and haunting alternative take on U.S. history.

"So debated Doremus, like some hundreds of thousands of other craftsmen, teachers, lawyers, what-not, in some dozens of countries under a dictatorship, who were aware enough to resent the tyranny, conscientious enough not to take its bribes cynically, yet not so abnormally courageous as to go willingly to exile or dungeon or chopping-block — particularly when they "had wives and families to support."

This passage describes the speaking style of the populist turned fascist dictator, who resembles a certain FOX news radio host turned entertainer.

"He was an actor of genius. There was no more overwhelming actor on the stage, in the motion pictures, nor even in the pulpit. He would whirl arms, bang tables, glare from mad eyes, vomit Biblical wrath from a gaping mouth; but he would also coo like a nursing mother, beseech like an aching lover, and in between tricks would coldly and almost contemptuously jab his crowds with figures and facts — figures and facts that were inescapable even when, as often happened, they were entirely incorrect."
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Mark (new)

Mark Taha Had they had the guts to film it properly at the time-my casting ideas.
Doremus Jessup Lionel Barrymore
Buzz Windrip Edward G.Robinson
Lee Sarason Colin Clive
Lorinda Pike Aline MacMahon
Shad Ledue Wallace Beery
Adelaide Tarr Gimmitch Hedda Hopper
Oh-didn't care for Trowbridge's vision of an America in which the State owned all major resurces and the worst crime was taking advantage of the State.Man's greatest enemy is big government.


message 2: by David (new) - added it

David Seeing as the book was published in 1935, the totalitarianism of Hitler/Stalin was in full effect. You should check out personalities like William Randolph Hearst and Huey Long to see how close to fascism the USA was (think of how scary Sarah Palin would be if she was the wealthiest woman in the country or if she was actually an effective ).


message 3: by David (new) - added it

David *an effective politician


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