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The Man in the High Castle

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  190,107 ratings  ·  12,358 reviews
"The single most resonant and carefully imagined book of Dick's career." New York Times

It's America in 1962. Slavery is legal once again. The few Jews who still survive hide under assumed names. In San Francisco, the I Ching is as common as the Yellow Pages. All because some twenty years earlier the United States lost a war and is now occupied by Nazi Germany and Japan.

Paperback, 274 pages
Published January 24th 2012 by Mariner Books (first published October 1962)
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Tyler B. Readin I think this is to further convey the "Japanization" of society in the PSA. The choppiest sentences are when the Japanese characters are speaking or t…moreI think this is to further convey the "Japanization" of society in the PSA. The choppiest sentences are when the Japanese characters are speaking or thinking to themselves, but some of the the white characters on the West Coast also speak in a sort of streamlined English to a lesser extent. I think this is meant to portray how the new ruling class has affected nearly every facet of American life.(less)
Craig No more than life itself.
No more than life itself.

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Average rating 3.62  · 
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 ·  190,107 ratings  ·  12,358 reviews

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Oct 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
On Wednesday I found myself at a party (an occurrence itself worthy of remark) at which everyone wore "I'm currently reading..." stickers, so I had several opportunities to explain why I was loving The Man in the High Castle. One such conversation went like this:

"So what's that about?"
"Well, it's scifi. Or rather speculative fiction."
"Er, hm. No. I don't do scifi."
"But it's got Nazis!"
"Oh my god I love Nazis!"

Another conversation involved me explaining to a white guy how interesting I (a half-Ja
Emily May
3 1/2 stars
Scientifically and politically, this is absolute genius. The way Philip K. Dick masterfully rewrites history and portrays this alternate United States is quite incredible and I can easily see why the guy has such a huge following. That being said, while this novel is undeniably clever, I think what it lacks is a human touch. I found it hard to care about any of the mishmash of characters, which for me means that I ultimately found it hard to care about the direction of the story and i

[Original review, Feb 22 2016]

DISCLAIMER: It would evidently be irresponsible to call Donald Trump a Nazi merely on the strength of a recent speech in which he suggested it would be desirable to shoot Muslims using bullets dipped in pig's blood. A more plausible interpretation is that this is no more than the result of dispassionately calculating that the upside in terms of increasing his attractiveness to the ignorant racist demographic is larger than the downside in terms of decreasing his app
Mario the lone bookwolf
Dick, did you really just wasted a perfect plot by endlessly driveling about pseudo philosophical deeper meaning of art while being unable to establish other plotlines, any major action, suspense, believable characters with comprehensible motivations to let the mess culminate, again, in just ending the novel in the middle of nowhere without anything, resolution, explanation, maybe an excuse for publishing something like that?

This thing is truly completely overrated, the weaknesses of Dicks´writi
Jeffrey Keeten
“They want to be the agents, not the victims, of history. They identify with God's power and believe they are godlike. That is their basic madness. They are overcome by some archtype; their egos have expanded psychotically so that they cannot tell where they begin and the godhead leaves off. It is not hubris, not pride; it is inflation of the ego to its ultimate — confusion between him who worships and that which is worshiped. Man has not eaten God; God has eaten man.”

 photo 56b1f27b-cbcb-43dc-a465-ba7177d0a14a_zpsstiaqwmn.png

If Franklin Delano Roo
Glenn Russell
Jun 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Fans of Philip K. Dick and science fiction might be underwhelmed by The Man in the High Castle since, other than passing mention of cross- continent rocket-ship travel and a German exploration of Mars, there really isn’t any science or signature PKD craziness or large-scale action; rather, Dick’s 1962 book is alternative history, the aftermath in the United States after Germany and Japan win World War II and a novel of ideas.

There are a number of crisscrossing plots, colorful main characters, a
Thank God, this is fiction, at least in our dimension!


It is impossible that ours is the only world; there must be world after world unseen by us, in some region or dimension that we simply do not perceive.

This book is a frightening glimpse of how our world could been if the Axis Powers would have won the World War II.

The Nazi Germany and the Imperial Japan won and they divided the planet between them. Even the United States is now divided with the East Coast dominated
Aug 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick, winner of the Hugo Award for best novel, is classic, very good science fiction.

It is the story of a segmented and defeated United States after the Axis powers won World War II. This alternate history actually began in the thirties as Roosevelt is described as having been assassinated. Taking a roving perspective amidst several characters and some loosely connected interwoven storylines, PKD explores a world where America is divided into three distin
Michael Finocchiaro
Philip K Dick was certainly a brilliant man and a gifted writer. His imagined dystopia of a world split between the victorious Reich and Imperial Japan is chilling and realistic. Ok, perhaps colonisation of Mars in 1962 is a bit of a stretch, but the depiction of San Francisco under the Japanese administration was excellent. His characters were vivid and lifelike. His villain was somewhat predicable, but still a fascinating one.
The dystopia he describes - particularly the horrors of unbridled f
2 stars.

I was disappointed with this book; it ended up going nowhere. Perhaps there was simply too much “other stuff” besides the plot (like the Zen and Eastern mysticism) in it to make it a worthwhile read for me. It seemed like an overwhelmingly large number characters constantly consult the I Ching for guidance, which has no appeal to me whatsoever.

Okay, speaking of plot, or lack thereof. The book takes place in Japanese-controlled western United States (The United States lost World War II, a
Leonard Gaya
Jun 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hermann Göring, the second most powerful man in Nazi Germany after Hitler, fancied himself an art collector and scoured Europe to acquire masterpieces. In 1945, his collection was seized by the Allies while he was on trial at Nuremberg. Among many other works of art, they found The Supper at Emmaus, signed by Johannes Vermeer, Göring’s favourite. The origin of that painting was then traced back to a Dutch art dealer named Han van Meegeren, who consequently was arrested and charged with the crime ...more
Sean Barrs
The Man in the High Castle is what I like to call a great ideas book, a book that has a brilliantly intelligent idea but is delivered with all the excitement of a potato.

It’s dull. And there’s no getting round that. The characters are boring, and they have boring little lives that I don’t care about. It lacks a certain level of emotion and human interest which meant I could not invest in the story. I had no interest in the outcome which meant reading became rather pointless.

I love speculative
Re-read 9/18/19:

So, do I have anything I want to say that I didn't say in my original review? Yes. Possibly.

My least favorite section usually involved all the jewelry making and the eventual rise and fall of the metal as a main character in the story. But this time? Maybe I just happened to be in the right mood. Tagomi's crisis in perception was VERY PKD and pretty delightful this time around. The jewelry being a catalyst, a doorway through the Yin into the Yang and vice versa, resonated strang
Megan Baxter
Jun 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think this book broke my brain.

I mean, it's so many things tied up in a slim little volume - an alt-history "what if Germany and Japan had won the Second World War," a meditation on the inability to ever accurately try to reconstruct what-might-have-beens, one of the most interesting literary experiments I've ever read, a look at chance and fate in how the world unfolds, and a book that can definitely bend your sense of reality.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent
have you ever thought about what life would be like had the axis powers won WWII? a world where every morning begins with a 'heil, hitler' and the 'i ching' is consulted for every decision? because i sure havent. at least, not until i read this book. i actually didnt even know alternative history was a thing when it came to genres, but i am here for it.

from a historical standpoint, this book is fascinating. this is my first PKD book and i was blown away by the world building. i could really tel
Vit Babenco
Dec 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets…” Ecclesiastes 12:5
The Man in the High Castle is a piece of the alternate history: Germany and Japan won in the Second World War and the world became a mixture of modern technologies and trash culture immersed in the obscurantism of dark ages
Joe Valdez
My preparedness for the regime change taking place in the United States--with elements of the Electoral College, the Kremlin and the FBI helping to install a failed business promoter who the majority of American voters did not support in the election--continues with The Man In the High Castle, the Hugo Award winning novel by Philip K. Dick published in 1962. Dick's sheer output and high concept hooks that can be reduced to three words--"Axis Won WWII"--have proved irresistible to film and televi ...more
May 12, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
the plot is simple enough: an alternate history detailing what would've happened had the axis powers won the second world war. thankfully, there's very little of that obvious government intrigue and new-world-order shit that lesser writers focus on -- rather, Dick's obsession is the spiritual life of the individual in a totalitarian society told in the form of a wonderfully messy jumble of ideas and ruminations on race and history and human connection and destiny. in fact, i think dick's ideas a ...more
J.L.   Sutton
May 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As speculative fiction (the alternate world in which Germany and Japan have won WW2 and split up a conquered America between them) and as social commentary (the attitudes embodied by both the conquerors and conquered), Philip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle hits on all cylinders. The cultural world Dick creates in which vintage Americana items are manufactured and then sold to the occupiers was really interesting. So too were the cultural attitudes that were transferred to the defeated nati ...more
My favourite parallel universe story. Germany and Japan win World War II, and it has something to do with the I Ching. Much more controlled than the average Philip K Dick - for once, you don't feel that he threw it together in a few weeks to pay for his next batch of drugs. It is in fact quite poetic.

Remarkable that no one has filmed it, considering that it's almost certainly his best novel and many others have become movies.


The other day, there was a
"We do not have the ideal world, such as we would like, where morality is easy because cognition is easy. Where one can do no right with no effort because he can detect the obvious."

A few years ago, I watched the first season-ish of the TV show adaptation of this book. Here is what I remember:
- scary Nazi man with family
- San Francisco
- the phrase "the man in the high castle" uttered very ominously
- lady leaving her husband, or the home where she lived with him or something
- torture stuff
- a VER
Hugo Award 1963.

It’s a bit of a stretch to call this science fiction. Alternate history, Germany/Japan win WWII. Ahead of it’s time, probably. I’m currently reading Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, more science fiction. One interesting aspect of this novel was the inclusion of an alternate history novel inside the story line titled *The Grasshopper Lies Heavy, wherein the Allies win the war. Clever touch.

*A novel published in 2015 borrows the title of Dick’s imagined novel. I understand it’
Apr 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spec-fi-i-guess
An impressive tale from a world building point of view as PKD shows his vision of a world where the Axis, Germany, Japan and Italy won the Second World War; there's some very rewarding world building, and a pretty good tale of intrigue, metaphysics and the nature of defeated peoples and nations. PKD takes a thought provoking look at the Japanese psyche as well. A highly recommend PKD jam! 8 out of 12.
Mar 20, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Science fiction fans
Recommended to Werner by: It was required reading in a graduate-level course in science fi
Note, March 2, 2013: A recent comment on this review prompted me to reread it, and I discovered a typo --I'd accidentally omitted a key word in one sentence! So I've just edited it to correct that mistake.

It has been said that Dick was the most skeptical writer in the history of science fiction towards the idea that the world of normal human perception actually reflects ultimate reality. After his thought and writing took a more Christian turn in the early 1970s (though he was always a professed
"The grasshopper shall be a burden"
-- The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick


This is one of those weird, unsettling novels that spins your brain in six or seven different directions.

I read this PKD masterpiece almost two months ago, but only just recently returned to review it because after finishing, I wasn't ready to review. After I read more of him, I realized that even when he is messy, strange, disjointed and sometimes yes >>touched<< Philip K Dick is one MuthaF'er that definitely can w
Brett C
Nov 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philip-k-dick
I enjoyed reading this story overall and was intrigued by the alternative history concept. We are in the plot of a conquered and divided America in every sense of the expression. The suppression of ideas, conformity of the masses, and the loss identity are common PKD themes found in this story. Yet there remains hints of boiling tension such as the revered "man in the high castle", the I Ching, and the various random-seeming human interactions. The mystical and mysterious "man in the high castle ...more
Manuel Antão
Jul 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, favorites, 1990
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

Beckettian SF: "The Man in the High Castle" by Philip K. Dick

"The Man in the High Castle” is my second favourite PKD novel, after “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep”. I read both novels in the same year, back in the day, along with “Ubik”, “VALIS” and “The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch”, and most of PKD's short fiction. Without doubt the most mind-bending year of reading I've ever had, and the one that hooked me on SF more than a
Jul 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When one is afraid of heights, and terrors are in the road; the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags itself along and desire fails; because all must go to their eternal home, and the mourners will go about the streets;
-----------Ecclesiastes 12:5

Welcome to your alternative nightmare.

Let me set the canvas. Allies have lost the war. Japan and Nazis have divided up the fallen countries. Jews and other groups are still being hunted down. Slavery is legal again. Nazis have mastered space t
Michael O'Brien
Mar 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the most fascinating sci-fi/ alt history books I've ever read. Imagine how the world would be different if the Axis Powers, Japan and Nazi Germany, had won World War 2. This book provides that dark vision: a Europe dominated by the Third Reich, the Soviet Union crushed into impotence beyond the Urals; the Jews all but wiped out worldwide but for a tiny remnant; Africa turned by the victorious Nazis into a continental size version of the Congo, a massive killing field, under Belgiu ...more
The Man in the High Castle (Includes review of new Amazon miniseries, Season 1 (10 episodes)
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature
Who would have thought that Philip K. Dick’s 1962 Hugo Winner about the Axis powers winning WWII would be brought to film, and not just as a single movie, but as a big-budget multi-season drama series from Amazon and produced by Ridley Scott. Stranger than fiction, as they say.

I always have two questions for film adaptations: 1) How closely does it follow the book, a
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Philip K. Dick was born in Chicago in 1928 and lived most of his life in California. In 1952, he began writing professionally and proceeded to write numerous novels and short-story collections. He won the Hugo Award for the best novel in 1962 for The Man in the High Castle and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best novel of the year in 1974 for Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said. Philip K. Di ...more

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