When the renowned aviation hero and rabid isolationist Charles A. Lindbergh defeated Franklin Roosevelt by a landslide in the 1940 presidential election, fear invaded every Jewish household in America. Not only had Lindbergh, in a nationwide radio address, publicly blamed the Jews for selfishly pushing America towards a pointless war with Nazi ...
When the renowned aviation hero and rabid isolationist Charles A. Lindbergh defeated Franklin Roosevelt by a landslide in the 1940 presidential election, fear invaded every Jewish household in America. Not only had Lindbergh, in a nationwide radio address, publicly blamed the Jews for selfishly pushing America towards a pointless war with Nazi Germany, but, upon taking office as the 33rd president of the United States, he negotiated a cordial 'understanding' with Adolf Hitler, whose conquest of Europe and whose virulent anti-Semitic policies he appeared to accept without difficulty. What then followed in America is the historical setting for this startling new novel by Pulitzer-prize winner Philip Roth, who recounts what it was like for his Newark family - and for a million such families all over the country - during the menacing years of the Lindbergh presidency, when American citizens who happened to be Jews had every reason to expect the worst.
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Normally, I pass on fiction but this was a welcome change for me. Even with my conservative views, I enjoyed this. Roosevelt for the time was what America needed with his strong leadership.Popularity swept Lindbergh into the white house and the populous was enthralled..very similar today.
This book will keep you up late...highly recommended.
Jul 16, 2009
What Might Have Been
Very interesting book from a youngster's POV about what might have happened in America if President Roosevelt had not been re-elected in the 1940 general election. Re-confirmed my progressive outlook toward politics and government.
Publishers Weekly, 2004-12-06 Veteran actor Silver turns in a pitch-perfect rendering of Roth's novel about an America in which the staunch isolationist and purported anti-Semite Charles Lindbergh defeats Franklin Roosevelt in the 1940 presidential election. Lindbergh's victory draws a dividing line in the country, as well as within the Newark, N.J., neighborhood-and household-of the book's young Jewish narrator, who is also named Philip Roth. Silver's experience on both stage and screen shines through in his excellent pacing and subtle yet resonant characterizations. He certainly possesses a knack for the East Coast Jewish accent that the book demands, but he much more importantly demonstrates an ability to capture a range of people and emotions, from the frustrated bewilderment of a child whose life is thrust into turmoil to the simmering venom his father can invest in the single word "Lindbergh." He also enhances the book's most moving scenes, especially a sad long-distance phone conversation between Philip and his pitiable former schoolmate Seldon, who has been moved to rural Kentucky in a government assimilation program. It is without question one of the finest moments in Silver's delicate, unadorned and wholly genuine performance. Simultaneous release with the Houghton Mifflin hardcover (Forecasts, July 12). (Oct.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly, 2004-07-12 During his long career, Roth has shown himself a master at creating fictional doppelgangers. In this stunning novel, he creates a mesmerizing alternate world as well, in which Charles A. Lindbergh defeats FDR in the 1940 presidential election, and Philip, his parents and his brother weather the storm in Newark, N.J. Incorporating Lindbergh's actual radio address in which he accused the British and the Jews of trying to force America into a foreign war, Roth builds an eerily logical narrative that shows how isolationists in and out of government, emboldened by Lindbergh's blatant anti-Semitism (he invites von Rippentrop to the White House, etc.), enact new laws and create an atmosphere of religious hatred that culminates in nationwide pogroms. Historical figures such as Walter Winchell, Fiorello La Guardia and Henry Ford inhabit this chillingly plausible fiction, which is as suspenseful as the best thrillers and illustrates how easily people can be persuaded by self-interest to abandon morality. The novel is, in addition, a moving family drama, in which Philip's fiercely ethical father, Herman, finds himself unable to protect his loved ones, and a family schism develops between those who understand the eventual outcome of Lindbergh's policies and those who are co-opted into abetting their own potential destruction. Many episodes are touching and hilarious: young Philip experiences the usual fears and misapprehensions of a pre-adolescent; locks himself into a neighbor's bathroom; gets into dangerous mischief with a friend; watches his cousin masturbating with no comprehension of the act. In the balance of personal, domestic and national events, the novel is one of Roth's most deft creations, and if the lollapalooza of an ending is bizarre with its revisionist theory about the motives behind Lindbergh's anti-Semitism, it's the subtext about what can happen when government limits religious liberties in the name of the national interest that gives the novel moral authority. Roth's writing has never been so direct and accessible while retaining its stylistic precision and acute insights into human foibles and follies. (Oct. 5) Forecast: With its intriguing premise and thriller-tense plot, it's likely that this novel will broaden Roth's readership while instigating provocative debate. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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