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Publisher's Summary

First published in 1935, when Americans were still largely oblivious to the rise of Hitler in Europe, this prescient novel tells a cautionary tale about the fragility of democracy and offers an alarming, eerily timeless look at how fascism could take hold in America.

Doremus Jessup, a newspaper editor, is dismayed to find that many of the people he knows support presidential candidate Berzelius Windrip. The suspiciously fascist Windrip is offering to save the nation from sex, crime, welfare cheats, and a liberal press. But after Windrip wins the election, dissent soon becomes dangerous for Jessup. Windrip forcibly gains control of Congress and the Supreme Court and, with the aid of his personal paramilitary storm troopers, turns the United States into a totalitarian state.

©1935 Sinclair Lewis. © renewed 1963 by Michael Lewis (P)2016 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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The Rise of American Authoritarianism

Written in 1935, Sinclair Lewis' novel follows newspaper man Doremus Jessup as he documents the rise of "Buzz" Windrip to the U.S. presidency. Windrip campaigns on an openly racist, misogynistic, and nationalistic platform promising to make Great Depression era America great again. Windrip's eventually beats FDR in the election and quickly turns the Presidency a violent dictatorship, creating a Nazi Germany clothed in red, white, and blue.

I won't get too political here, but it's not hard to see some similarities to modern times in this novel. Grover Gardner's voice is flawless for this sort of novel and fans of 1984, Fahrenheit 451, and Brave New World will certainly find this story no less fascinating. This is true lost classic and possibly one of the most important novels Americans will ever read. Very highly recommended.

48 of 51 people found this review helpful

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Prophetic Horror from 1935

Wonderful reading by Grover Gardner of a book that, terrifyingly, seems as though it were written only months ago.

23 of 28 people found this review helpful

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perfect for this election year

enthralling foreshadowing of today's politics. what goes around,... also a great lesson in freedom's fragility.

19 of 23 people found this review helpful

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Prescient

If you haven't read/listened to it, you should. Disturbing how it feels plucked from today's headlines. Chilling

20 of 25 people found this review helpful

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so scary

this hits so close with the rises going on now. this man was right on the money.

23 of 29 people found this review helpful

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Great beginning

The story started great but seemed to lose its flow about 1/2 way through. Rather than tell a story the author seemed to be reciting events in bullet-points.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Can it Happen here?

Overall disappointed with this Sinclair Lewis story. It doesn't hold up well. It's politics are outdated, and confusing. The United States (the world) grew up during WWII, and grew past it's naïveté of communist romanticism.
Rather than an imaginative story of the rise of fascism in the US, this is merely a rehash of what was happening in Europe at the time of the writing. I read "Main Street" a few years ago, and that was a truly insightful book on the feminist movement. Unfortunately "It Can't Happen Here" was not as well written nor insightful.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Scary and Relevant with Politics Today

A big fan of Grover Gardner's reading style I felt he made the story lighter than it might otherwise have been. A satisfying listen all the way through.

The story itself has numerous parallels to modern day politics which some readers might find a bit depressing. My one criticism would be that the ending didn't feel very well thought out it ended a bit abruptly with no definitive resolution.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Push thru 1st few chpts. to get to the real story

First part is book is slow w\family life and town characters but push through this to get to the real horrors of life in th e US when it's taken over by narcissistic, uninfornef, uneducated, minions of a President who shares all those adjectives and more. Our protagonist and his idyllic family and town are....well, I don't want to be a spoiler so I'll stop here. But when you're done reading this book you'll see how IT CAN HAPPEN HERE.

34 of 47 people found this review helpful

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Eerily timely for 2016's Presidential campaign.

Even haunting. Once again, life imitates art. Reminds me of a quote I once heard, "Read good non-fiction for facts; read good fiction for truth."

9 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Patrick
  • 07-20-16

A story for our times

What made the experience of listening to It Can't Happen Here the most enjoyable?

Though written in 1935 and inspired by the rise of Fascism in Europe this could read as a warning of what can happen when an unscrupulous demagogue takes on the Presidency of the USA.

What other book might you compare It Can't Happen Here to, and why?

It describes a similar kind of scenario as Philip Roths's The Plot against America.

What about Grover Gardner’s performance did you like?

Very good reader. Really captures the different characters and makes the story live.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Some sections dealing with the mistreatment of prisoners were hard to listen to but worth it in the end.

Any additional comments?

Though there are political and philosophic parts to this book it is never heavy or hard to listen to. Beautifully written.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • George
  • 12-18-17

True Horror

1935?
How did he know so much about what was coming?
It’s like he lived through the 2nd World War.

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  • Trevor
  • 11-17-17

A forgotten gem rediscovered

Sinclair Lewis has long been a "name" to me but I have never actually read him. Interest in this book seems to have been rekindled by recent events in America and it is indeed a salutary reminder of the fragility of democracy. I like to imagine that the checks and balances built into the American political system would preclude such events as Lewis describes, but in an age of "false news" and digital chicanery who knows?

The ironical tone of the book is well captured by Grover Gardner's excellent reading.

Highly recommended.

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  • TheZee
  • 10-14-17

Hauntingly Accurate

This is my first Sinclair Lewis book and I am taken by his future sense of how things can go in America if democracy is abandoned. He writes with a depth that causes deep thought. Strange as it is, Trump is Windrip! Scary and yet hopeful. The resistance of the the likes of Jessup will restore balance. This book is a must read for those who deny that this could happen.

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  • Paul L.
  • 10-02-17

frighteningly good

a erie and familiar look at what could happen to the States fell to fascism

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-28-17

Frightenly close to home depiction of an alternative future

A slow build up meant it took a while to get into this book. However this was important to consider the impact of political developments upon characters explored in the "pre Buzz" years. Considering when this was written (1935) the parallels with Nazi Germany and what is currently developing in America are incredible.

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  • Tony
  • 05-21-17

Fascinating and foresightful

Fascinating story, especially when you consider when it was written. Narrator is very good also

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  • Jamesup
  • 04-16-17

Timely

Worth a listen, doesn't hold together perfectly these days but still a few gems and warnings that should be heeded.

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  • Victor Gil López
  • 03-15-17

Not Trump but...

It's shocking to see all the similarities. The constant attack to the press, the demagogue discourse, using Mexico as a scape goat. Totally worth reading.

It's funny though how in a book that talks about censorship to the point of burning books the swear words are censored. But that's my only criticism to this production.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful