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The Plot Against America
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1001 book reviews > The Plot Against America by Philip Roth

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Diane Zwang | 1315 comments Mod
Plot Against America by Philip Roth
4/5 stars

“Because everybody sees things differently.”

This is a fictionalized version of a real time and place. The year is 1940 and Lindbergh has won the presidency. Roth paints a very vivid picture of what America could have looked like if history was different. Roth puts his own family at the center of the story and displays their experience in this alternate universe. At the root of this story is antisemitism but hatred, bigotry and ignorance rear their ugly heads. I learned quite a bit of history in this story, although I have heard of all these figures before I had no idea the extent of antisemitism in the beliefs of Charles Lindberg and Henry Ford. I had great sympathy for the Roth family and what they were going through. I liked how the book ended especially the postscript A True Chronology of the Major Figures and Other Historical Figures in the Work.

“Though on the morning after the election disbelief prevailed, especially among the pollsters by the day after that everybody seemed to understand everything, and the radio commentators and the news columnists made it sound as if Roosevelt's defeat had been preordained.”

“The terror of the unforeseen is what the science of history hides, turning a disaster into an epic.”

“How can this be happening in America? How can people like these be in charge of our country? If I didn't see it with my own eyes, I'd think I was having a hallucination.”

“There were two types of strong men: those like Uncle Monty and Abe Steinheim, remorseless about their making money, and those like my father, ruthlessly obedient to their idea of fair play.”


Chili Hanson (chilipinkcat) | 59 comments The Plot Against America by Philip Roth
3.5 stars

In this book, Roth presents an alternate history of the 1940’s leading into America’s involvement in WWII. Told from the perspective of nine year old Philip Roth, what happens if FDR is not elected for his third term in 1940. Instead Charles Lindbergh is elected president and vows to keep America out of the European war. In making an agreement with Hitler, Lindbergh puts America on the path to fascism. Anti-semitism, hatred and fear take center stage in the Roth’s life. With oldest son Sandy falling into the Lindbergh rhetoric, puts a tremendous strain on the family. America is being split apart by hatred and fear. The premise of the book is very good and is relevant today but I am not a Roth fan.


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments 4 stars

I have to admit that I dreaded this book. I see Philip Roth's name alongside that of Saul Bellow and Norman Mailer quite often. I also see their type of literature referred to as "bro lit." I have read Bellow's Humboldt's Gift, which I hated, and Mailer's The Executioner's Song, which I found overdone and much too long. But I actually really liked this book. It is so strong, unique and creative. Mr Roth created an alternative history that is shocking, disconcerting and tough to swallow. It is also completely believable. Most of all, it is scary ... makes one think.


Nick | 2 comments Yes, I really liked The plot against America, as well. American Nazi sympathisers were around (Ford and Lindbergh?) so Roth’s setting is quite believable. But I never went back to read any more of Roth, maybe I should.


Kristel (kristelh) | 4259 comments Mod
read back in 2008, it was recommended as a top 100 books by Publishers Weekly. My reviews back then, sparse or non existent. "Alternate History. What if America would have gone fascist in WWII? Lindbergh is elected president. America stays out of WWII and befriends Hitler. The story was well developed but the end felt rushed."

I remember this one, that means it was a better book than some books.


message 6: by Jamie (last edited Nov 30, 2019 02:02PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jamie Barringer (Ravenmount) (ravenmount) | 481 comments My review: This is an interesting approach to alternate history, an alternate-history memoir set in the time and place and family of the author, but tweaking events to create a temporarily fascist, Nazi-loving USA. I've read a few different authors' novels trying to imagine how the US might become a fascist state, and while this one is not the most convincing, it still made sense. I found it amusing that Roth magically tidied up his version of the US to bring the story back in line with real US history by the early 1950's. That part seemed artificial, like Roth just couldn't leave his fictional US in the condition it was in.
I gave this book 4 stars on Goodreads.


Diane  | 2051 comments Rating: 4 stars


I went on a bit of a Roth marathon this month between the BOTMs and my TBR pick. Plus, I threw in an extra one that I had on hand. This book is a great example of alternate history in that it is factual, well-reseached, and eerily believable.

Overall, a very thought provoking book about what might have been.


Amanda Dawn | 1243 comments I get very hit and miss with Roth (I usually give 1-2 stars for his "man pain" books). But, I loved this one and gave it 5 stars.

Very believable alternative history that is fundamentally about how close any country or culture is to fascism. Even though this was written in the early 2000s and a lot of people asked if it was commentary on the Bush administration (Roth denied this), it actually reads as a lot more horrifying and realistic now.

The whole "and then FDR got back in and it was undone so we could pretend America is normal again and not a place just bubbling to have a authoritarian insurrection" felt very Biden election relevant.

The element of graduation escalation and dread was also extremely well accomplished.

Also loved the inclusion of the conservative rabbi working with the Lindberg regime as a "pick me" to get special privileges, and the regime could try to deny their bigotry. Very Candace Owens or Ben Shapiro, and literally so many conservative pundit figures about right now.


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