It Can't Happen Here

Narrated by: Grover Gardner
Length: 14 hrs and 28 mins
4 out of 5 stars (1,456 ratings)

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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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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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Good, But Not In Order...

I enjoyed the book. The narrator did fine. And the story is very well written. However...
In this recording, the following episodes were not in order and thus detracts from an otherwise good performance:
* Shad LeDue sulking about the régime's disrespect for him & his pining for Sissy;
*his "courtship" of Sissy;
*Sissy's turning Shad in for crooked dealings;
*and Shad's arrest/ imprisonment.

While an excellent story & performance, the editors or whoever put the recording together, should have done a better job.

28 people found this helpful

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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.

103 people found this helpful

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Cautionary Tale

This book seriously scared the crap out of me. Given the political climate in America today, and the rise of nationalism, demagoguery and the suppression and vilification of the free press, the vision of this story was chilling. I stopped several times throughout and had to re-check again what year this was written. While the language and slang is clearly dated and the lack of technology places it in a clearly different era, this is a strong cautionary tale for today. Grover Gardner's dispassionate delivery of sometimes gruesome events is unnerving at times, and I suppose it was meant to be. Should be required reading for every American voter. #pastmeetspresent #familiardystopia #americanpolitics #tagsgiving #sweepstakes

8 people found this helpful

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Profoundly relevant to 2018,

A prophetic look at one scenario that destroys democracy in the US and brings fascism. As relevant now as then. Folksy people who find themselves in a living nightmare. The book deserves its recent spike in readership!

4 people found this helpful

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Read this book now

The entire first half of this book mirrors exactly what is going on today in America. The surprising thing is that it was written in 1935.

3 people found this 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.

46 people found this helpful

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Parts of it HAVE happened here

I really like this book but did have some difficulties with the combination of ridiculous satire and horrifying consequences... kind of like the Trump era! A few caveats: First, in the 1930’s the Democrats were the states’ rights party. Republicans were Federalists and believers in a strong central government. FDR was an anomaly. Second, don’t worry about all those names thrown out by Lewis (including his own several times), most don’t really matter. This is really a story about how a charismatic radio personality, manipulation of the press, a slow economy, and impressionable citizens can combine to turn the US into a fascist state. There are several parallels to current times that keep it interesting. Windrip is the personality who promises the moon to the common man (read “real America”) and grabs the nomination from FDR. Jessup, the regular guy hero at the center, feels believable, as well as his close family and friends - which is good because most other characters are caricatures. I warn that it starts out seeming funny and rather silly but it gets dark and horrifying. The end is a bit positive but not neatly wrapped.

28 people found this 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.

40 people found this 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.

30 people found this 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.

5 people found this 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.

6 people found this helpful

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  • shefflad
  • 04-07-19

Scary echoes of today

Well written, well read. Sinclair Lewis's dialogue never disappoints. Scary story, is Buzz Windrip Trump?

1 person found this helpful

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  • Lord Peridot
  • 02-25-19

Sinclair Lewis - America's George Orwell

Brilliant reading by Grover Gardner of this classic book. I presume this really is the author at his best as its hard to imagine a better or more prescient work of cautionary fiction. Lewis takes the event of fascist Europe in the early 1930's and imagines how such events might unfold in the USA. His characters, the descriptive passages, and the unfolding of the narrative are masterful. And anyone who gives the name Doremus Jessop to the most important and heroic character in the book must have had a pretty sharp sense of humour. I don't know if Sinclair Lewis was known as America's answer to George Orwell but I can see why that would be so appropriate. I was indeed reminded of Orwell by the ease with which the author captures one's attention and leads you effortlessly through to the end.

1 person found this helpful

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  • D. J. Wilkinson
  • 09-06-18

Astonishing

Given when this was written (1930’s) this is an astonishing book and is really a reader for today’s ills in many countries, including the US and UK. Actually this would be an interesting book on any political course.

Recommend

1 person found this 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.

1 person found this helpful

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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.

1 person found this helpful

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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.

1 person found this helpful

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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.

1 person found this helpful

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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

1 person found this helpful

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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.

3 people found this helpful

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  • DUNCAN
  • 11-20-18

A must read for everybody in these changing times

A must read for everybody in these changing times and a reminder not to take for granted your vote.

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  • Mike Courtney
  • 08-25-18

Brilliant!

Not only for its current relevance but also in the reading, as well as the story in and of itself. Highly recommend.

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  • Aleksandar
  • 08-21-18

Worst book I’ve listened to on Audible

Don’t waste your time.
I read & listen to a lot.
Maybe it just wasn’t my style - but I wouldn’t waste your money or time :/