Published in 2004 by Houghton Mifflin
In The Plot Against America, Philip Roth creates an alternate history centered around the presidential election of 1940. FDR doesn't run against Wendell Willkie. Instead, Charles Lindbergh enters the contest at the convention as an anti-war candidate and defeats Roosevelt.
In the real world, Lindbergh was friendly towards the Nazi regime in Germany and made several public anti-Semitic comments so Roth's little twist to history is not out of line. Also, Lindbergh spoke at several "America First" anti-war rallies in 1940 and 1941. The first part of this book is the strongest. The alternate history moves briskly, the introduction to the Roth family and its main character, Philip (I can only assume that this is intended to be an alternate history autobiography) proceeds well.
|Lindbergh speaking at an America First rally|
The end of the book is a mess. Roth tells the political ending long before he tells what happens to the Roth family and the little Jewish community of Newark. When he tells the ending so early, the drama is ruined, completely ruined. Also, the motivating factor given for Lindbergh's pro-German actions is so far-fetched, so ludicrous that I almost threw this book across the room.
So, I end up giving this book 3 stars. Great start, nicely realized (but oftentimes pointless) description of life in Newark, ridiculous ending.
This book can be found on Amazon.com here: The Plot Against America.
Reviewed on February 26, 2013.