November 23, 2005

"The Plot Against America"

I finished reading The Plot Against America, Roth's fictional history of America if Lindbergh had run against FDR on an isolationist platform in 1940. Lindbergh's campaign is pure Rovian: he barnstorms all 48 states via his famous airplane, makes 50-word speeches ("My opponent will take you into war; I won't"), and carries all but two states. I don't find that an entirely unlikely scenario.

Roth tells this tale autobiographically; his 10-year-old self is the narrator. He conjures up precursors to relocation camps in the Midwest, Walter Winchell as a Presidential candidate whose assassination sets off pogroms against Jews in major cities, Jewish collaborators, and families torn apart by differing viewpoints about the direction Lindbergh takes America.

It's a scary scary book, and I suspect Roth (who might or might not deny it) was consciously trying to create an allegory for the current Administration, particularly the intolerance of dissent.

Posted by Linkmeister at November 23, 2005 10:49 AM | TrackBack