In an astonishing feat of empathy and narrative invention, our most ambitious novelist imagines an alternate version of American history.
In 1940 Charles A. Lindbergh, heroic aviator and rabid isolationist, is elected president. Shortly thereafter, he negotiates a cordial "understanding" with Adolf Hitler while the new government embarks on a program of folksy anti-Semitism. For one boy growing up in Newark, Lindbergh's election is the first in a series of ruptures that threaten to destroy his small, safe corner of America - and with it his mother, his father, and his older brother.
©2004 Philip Roth (P)2016 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
The story meanders
The book just stops instead of ending
The reactions of the characters are illogical, unpredictable, and (even as fantasy) unbelievable.
For a great audible book on the same subject try "It can't happen here by Sinclair Lewis.
A country with bitter internal divisions faces a world dissolving into savage war, and a man with no political experience but a high national profile marches into the White House. His radical policies begin to transform the country in frightening ways. It was written ten years ago but reads like a thinly-disguised version of America in the summer of 2016.
And the narration is pitch-perfect.
The book reads like "this is what the onset of fascism feels like" from the perspective of a family facing impending oppression. This aspect of the book is well done. On the other hand, the "what if" rewriting of history only serves confuse the narrative and ultimate detracts from the serious sense of social claustrophobia and confounding choices that one is faced with in a situation like this.
The book probably would have been more sincere without the "what if" aspect, but that hook certainly made it more fun to listen to. The expository sections of the book which take place outside the family do a lot to create some context, but the mix of history and fiction makes it difficult to stay immersed in the cocoon of paranoia and desperation.
Recommended by a radio personality last weekend. It is an eye opener though the story takes place in a different time. Well worth the time to listen and contemplate. Mark Twain said something like this: " ...history may not repeat itself - but it rhymes...".
Let's hope not.
Boring lousy and unrealistic don't waste your money if you're looking for a good alternate history check out v-day or or if you're looking for a good thriller check out the last thing I remember.
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