bup's Reviews > The Plot Against America

The Plot Against America by Philip Roth
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's review
Jun 23, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: 1001, 2010, wwii, novel
Read from February 09 to 16, 2010

I've never read any alternate history before (except for the Bush administration's post-facto justifications for invading Iraq- HEYohhh!), and this book makes me want to read a lot more. In fact, it makes me wish I had thought of this.

Charles Lindbergh becomes president in 1940, defeating FDR's bid for a third term. People elect him because they don't want war. It all seems very believable. Then, in the kind of writing that makes the book excellent, we get just the right balance of fear that the anti-semite Lindbergh is intent on marginalization and criminalization of American Jews. As a reader, I couldn't decide if our protagonists were overreacting to the programs to offer Jewish youth the chance to see other parts of the United States, or if Lindbergh's administration really was trying to brainwash the young Jewish population. Was the subsequent program that asked large corporations to voluntarily assign Jewish employees to different areas of the country too much? Roth hits just the right amount of 'things that make you go hmm' time and time again.

So why only 4 stars? Because I felt the ending unraveled too quickly and I got the sense that Roth just got tired of his alternate-history experiment and looked for the easiest ending. It needed another hundred pages, easy. Still, highly recommended.
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